Pick up any book on foxhunting in North America and you will find a reference to J. B. Thomas, Jr. Thomas was arguably the preeminent amateur sportsman of the Gilded Age. At one point, his kennel is believed to have contained over 1,000 foxhounds, and he and his huntsman, Charlie Carver, were invited to provide sport for rich foxhunting enthusiasts everywhere from New York and Virginia to the Rockefellers’ personal sporting estate at Overhills, North Carolina.
In addition, Thomas was also an expert polo player and a competitive yachtsman. Aside from sport, Thomas’s fascination with architecture led him to develop Beekman Place in New York. Above all, Thomas was an immensely talented writer whose book Hounds and Hunting through the Ages, published in 1928, is still thought of as one of the greatest works on the history of foxhunting. An American Aristocrat is the first biography to tell the story of this fascinating renaissance man of the Gilded Age.
Christopher Oakford is a journalist, author, and historian. He is the coauthor of A History of the Iroquois Hunt: A Bluegrass Foxhunting Tradition. Glenye Cain has worked for The Blood Horse and is the author of The Home Run Horse. They live in Lexington, Kentucky.