The National Sporting Library & Fine Art Museum

Sheesh! I just learned about this place. Check it out if you love sporting art. Or art in general for that matter.

vine hillHISTORY

George L. Ohrstrom Sr., president of the Orange County Hunt in The Plains, Va., and Alexander Mackay-Smith MFH, editor of The Chronicle of the Horse in Middleburg, founded the National Sporting Library in 1954, encouraged by Ohrstrom’s foxhunting friends Lester Karow of Georgia and Orange County MFH Fletcher Harper. These colleagues wanted book collections such as theirs to remain intact after their deaths; they contacted other friends, who liked the idea, and the collection rapidly grew. From its inception, the NSL was a non-circulating research library, and its founders encouraged anyone interested in horse and field sports to come in and enjoy the books, magazines, and unpublished papers.

When Ohrstrom Sr. died in 1955, his son George Ohrstrom Jr. became the guiding force behind the Library until his death in 2005; he was Chairman of the Board for 48 of the Library’s 50-year history. Mackay-Smith was its first director, from 1954 until 1991 when Peter Winants succeeded him. In 1998 Ken Tomlinson took Winants’ place. Nancy Parsons was President & CEO 2005 through mid-August 2009. The Library’s collection was first housed in an 18th century brick house on Washington St. (Rt. 50) in Middleburg before moving to the 1804 red brick building on the seven-acre Vine Hill property (pictured above). Vine Hill is adjacent to the facility that opened in 1999; both are at the corner of Route 50 and The Plains Rd just west of town.Until the late 1990s, both the NSL and The Chronicle of the Horse occupied this handsome pre-Civil War edifice, which the Library plans convert to an art museum in the near future. In 1999, after Jack and Martha Daniels donated a spectacular 5,000-volume collection of sporting books, the Library moved to a new 15,000-square-foot, climate-controlled facility. The new building, which resembles a 19th century carriage house, today houses more than 15,000 books. Its other important collections include the extraordinary Hünersdorf Collection, donated by the Ohrstrom Foundation; 102 sporting books from the estate of Harry T. Peters MFH; and the famed Huth-Lonsdale Library, donated by Russell Arundel and his family. The Library also houses the outstanding collection of Vladimir Littauer, the famous proponent of forward riding. These rare books are housed in the F. Ambrose Rare Book Room.

The opening of the Library’s new home in 1999 ushered in a new and exciting era. Today, the Library offers

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