Our Time at Foxhollow Farm: A Hudson Valley Family RememberedBy David Byars (Excelsior Editions, 2016) Buy It Now
From its classical black-and-white cover photo to its nostalgic typefaces, this handsome book conjures a vanished elegance. Byars, a Hudson River Heritage board member and Vogue editor, curated this trove of early 20th-century photographs taken by Tracy Dows, a Harvard-educated gentleman farmer who was married to Rhinebeck heiress Alice Townsend Olin. The couple commissioned a country estate designed by Stanford White protégé Harrie T. Lindeberg and landscaped by Frederic Law Olmsted. At Foxhollow Farm, they hosted several members of the Astor and Roosevelt families, the novelist Thomas Wolfe, and more. Infatuated by the new art of photography, Dows took hundreds of photos of his family and Rhinebeck neighbors. The images drip with privilege, but also with family tenderness: A women and toddler in summer whites play tetherball tennis, a sunlit girl practices piano, a man and two boys form an ice-skating line, and a curly-horned ram glares from the barn, unimpressed.