site search by freefind advanced

Historical Books
from the Alchemy of Cat Breeds Series

From time to time A-Cat-Emy Concepts will make available historical books, on a variety of breeds, that have been recently published. The first three books in this series are now available. Other books in the series are currently being written on the Siamese, the Silver Persian, the Exotic, and the Turkish Angora / Turkish Van. In addition, an historical biography of Harrison Weir is scheduled for publication next year. Keep an eye out for it!

The Blue Persian | The Abyssinian | The American Shorthair



Inquire re Book Purchase | Author Bio

A Persian Rhapsody in Blue Volume 1, written by John G. Smithson provides a rare look into the pre-history and establishment of the Blue Persian Cat, from the first recorded importations direct from the Khorasan province, into Europe in the 1620s; to a detailed development in 19th and 20th century Britain. Includes many new images of Blue Persian cats, not published in well over 100 years. In depth coverage, of Foundation bloodlines and famous strains. In A4 format, Pre-index, this book comprises of 546 pages of detailed information and rare images of key progenitors of the Persian cat, and their breeders.

PRICE: $70.00 USD plus mailing charge

A few words from the author:

What a long and amazing journey it has been, to collate, collect, curate and document the amazingly complex journey of the Blue Persian cat, from its genetic ancestral home in the mountainous regions of Khorasan province, to its establishment in Western Europe, and in particular, its strong foothold in the British Isles - a journey that took the best part of 260 years before it was finally recognised by a dedicated handful of English and Scottish breeders, as unique and full of beauty.

From relative obscurity in the mid 1880s a small but growing band of faithful adherents to its cause, did the faithful groundwork behind this colour variety, which would see it rise to prominence in the world of cats, the formation of the largest specialty club in the world for a time, and an absolutely phenomenal period of expansion of its influence that mirrored the expansion of influence of the then British Empire.

The Blue Persian became the recognised 'Prince' of the Persian breed, the pinnacle of what could be achieved by any colour, if the same level of love and dedication was poured into new programs as the founders of the colour-bred Blue had poured into what had become, the cornerstone colour of the modern breed.

This writing of this first volume of the history of the Blue Persian has likewise allowed me to develop those necessary skills to tackle similar feline histories with a dedication that is all pervading. It is a privilege and a joy to embrace the detective work and pedigree research involved. I recognise the unique opportunity it has afforded me to meet and work with some amazingly talented and special like-minded individuals around the world, who share a similar or same passion. For that I am especially grateful.

Praise for A Persian Rhapsody in Blue

As a breeder for many years of color-bred blues, I consider this history to be of critical importance for breeders of Persian cats. It clearly delineates the huge impact made by 'Blues' to every modern-day Persian breeding program. After almost 120 years, we finally have an early Persian breed history that evokes and possibly rivals in calibre, that epic work of Frances Simpson's in 'The Book of The Cat.' This is a detailed work of commanding scholarship, that I can heartily recommend to cat fanciers worldwide."
- Don Williams - Past President, The Cat Fanciers' Association, President, The Cat Fanciers' Association Foundation

A Persian Rhapsody in Blue is a comprehensive treatise presenting the legacy of the blue Persian cat. As Gershwin, John Smithson embodies the historical accounts of classical Persians of the late 1800's as well as the refined felines of more modern compositions of the early 1900's. Smithson's Rhapsody exemplifies his great passion and enthusiasm for the Blue Persian variety with fascinating accounts, documentation, and illustrations. Transporting the reader to the origins of the cat fancy when cat importations by aristocrats were occurring at the romantic height of ocean liner and railway transportation eras, Smithson's account of the Blue Persian beseeches a rhapsody for every aristo-cat!
- Leslie A. Lyons, PhD - Geneticist. Gilbreath-McLorn Endowed Professor of Comparative Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

Through careful and thorough curation of an extensive library of contemporaneous records, art, and ephemera, Smithson brings alive the early participants of the modern cat fancy, both feline and human. This documentation of the creation of an international hobby gives fascinating insight into both animal husbandry practices and social mores of the late 19th and early 20th century.
- Lorraine Shelton - Co-author, Robinson's Genetics for Cat Breeders and Veterinarians. Founder, Persian Line-chasers. All-breed Cat Judge and Genetics Instructor, The International Cat Association



Inquire re Book Purchase | Author Bio

The Descendants of Bastet, written by Karen Lawrence, gives a complete overview of the first century of the Abyssinian breed, from the first mention of the breed in the early 1870s through until circa 1970. Additionally, chapters on the later development of the colors red(cinnamon), blue, and fawn are included plus the longhair version of the breed is discussed in a chapter on the origins of the Somali. The book is 8 1/2 x 11. Pre-index, it is 365 pages chock full of historical information for Abyssinian lovers! It includes a great deal of registration information, pedigrees, progeny reports and photos of cats important to the breed history.

PRICE: $50.00 USD plus mailing charges

A few words from the author:

The origins of the Abyssinian breed are unknown, and are likely to stay that way. While anecdotal stories tell of cats being imported from Abyssinia (now Somalia), geneticists have expounded theories that the breed originated in countries bordering on the Indian Ocean. Records relate the early importation of cats, but from where is never specified.

Breeders have told stories of cats resembling the Abyssinian being found in Abyssinia, but they are hearsay and cannot be positively confirmed. So while origins will remain guesswork, and are explored in-depth herein, the unknown bits are most likely to remain guesswork forever.

The Descendants of Bastet weaves together what we do know and what can be confirmed regarding the history of the breed growth, in intimate detail, using pedigrees, progeny reports and historical records, starting with that first mention of Zula, on to Queen Jumbo who was the first registered Abyssinian. While we don't know Queen Jumbo's birthdate, we do know that she died in 1893. Other Abys of her era included Sedgemere Peaty and Sedgemere Bottle, both produced from unknown heritage; both, however, important to the early development of the breed and pedigrees.

This book is the exciting culmination of years of research, studying of pedigrees, scanning of photos and scrupulous reading of many old magazines in search of tidbits to include and expand upon.

Praise for The Descendants of Bastet

The book is amazing! It is very comprehensive. Thank you for taking the thousands (millions?) of hours to compile and write this book. - Marsha Zapp Ammons

For over ten years, Karen Lawrence has been working on collecting, archiving and publishing the history of the Abyssinian breed. At long last, her book has been published, and my copy arrived yesterday. It's an incredible oeuvre, and an incredible resource. - Koshka Hellqvist

I started reading the book immediately and was amazed at the information you have gathered. - Lynn Martin

If you are interested in the history and origins of the aby this is a MUST HAVE book. The chapter on the history and origins of the somali is another MUST HAVE for all somali breeders. - Teresa Guldager

Feeling privileged to have the book! It's wonderful! - Hinka Chapman

The book is fabulous. Most information I've seen about the Aby (and Somali, too!) - Kerry Dolan

The Descendants of Bastet - I really love it! Thank you for the great job by making this unique book! - Lisbeth Falling



Inquire re Book Purchase | Author Bios

A book devoted to the History and Development of the American Shorthair, by Valerie Anne Edwards, Karen Lawrence, and Gayle A. Hand. An original, unpublished manuscript written by the late breed historian, Valerie Anne Edwards, has been updated and enhanced, not only with almost 200 historic photos, but with additional details and chapters about influential cats and breeders throughout the history of the American Shorthair breed.


PRICE: $60.00 USD
Purchaser will be expected to prepay Shipping & Handling fees. World-wide shipping. Please email for mailing costs.

CONTACT: Karen Lawrence ( or Gayle Hand (

A few words from the authors:

We have made sure that we were always consistent with Valerie's thesis regarding the breed origins. Exhaustive research has been conducted through early cat magazines and antique books for interesting details about early breeding programs. Several chapters contain rarely-seen details and photos about individual breeders and their cats. An entire chapter is devoted to the historical data related to each color pattern of the American Shorthair. Another takes a look at the proposed changes, passed or not, to the breed standard over the last 50 years.

We recognize those American Shorthairs who have achieved high honors in CFA's season ending National Wins in a chapter devoted to them. We also included a complete listing of those cats who have achieved the Distinguished Merit status in CFA, and lastly, the Pedigrees and Progeny chapter features fifty outstanding cats, recognized for their contributions to the American Shorthair gene pool. The Addendum includes reprints of CFA Yearbook and Cat Fanciers' Almanac breed articles.

We like to think that we have made Valerie's original manuscript an even more interesting and complete venture.

Praise for The American Shorthair

"American Shorthair breeders, afficionados, line chasers, and owners and lovers of all varieties of cats will find The American Shorthair: The History and Development of the American Shorthair Breed of Cat professionally written, informative, and fascinating. It is a loving tribute to a natural breed that evolved on its own, in relative geographic isolation, before the cat fancy came into being." - Pat Jacobberger

"Received my copy this weekend! Very well done. Highly recommend getting a copy for all the American Shorthair Lovers!" - Carly Kellogg (Kelloggs)

"What a gorgeous book! I look forward to many hours of fascinating reading. Kudos." - Mary McIntyre (Saren Del)

"Congratulations on a magnificent job on our beloved American Shorthair. This is a book for anyone who has an ASH, loves the ASH, and wants an ASH. The price is phenomenal, and it truly is a treasure." - Carol Rothfeld (Carocats)

A Note from the Editors

We encourage you to submit articles for consideration as suitable for inclusion in this library. They may include any topic you consider relevant to the keeping, housing, breeding, welfare, training, grooming, exhibiting, genetics, art or social history of cats, and their caretakers. If you have any questions with regard to submissions, please refer to the Contact page and send us your query/request.


Home | Cats | Gallery | Clubs | People | Artifacts | Articles | Updates | Contact Us

©The CFA Foundation, Inc and The Harrison Weir Collection
This project is a collaboration between The CFA Foundation, Inc. and The Harrison Weir Collection.
All material on this site is copyrighted and may not be printed or reproduced, in any form, without the express written consent of the collaborators.