March 9, 1915
Dear Mr. Steenrod:
Francis Francis was one of the great anglers of his time and he loved and practiced all sorts of fishing. Dry-fly fishing was practiced but the wet still had a strong hold in England. He was an expert at all kinds of fishing and his position as angling editor of the British Field gave him many opportunities. He fished all over the United Kingdom and studied and copied the salmon flies of every river. I remembered that I had an old fly dresser’s copy of his book on Angling. It is about every kind of fishing but there are about 90 good pages on fly fishing. I will send you the book presently to read. You will only care for the 90 pages, but I enjoy going over the formulas of the old time salmon flies he collected with so much pains. He was a great favorite with everyone, being an extremely genial, companionable man. Mr. Marston things that for England, Francis’ book is the best ever written. He belonged to the Halford, Hall, etc., company of anglers, and they often fished together.
I knew that Theodore [cousin-Ed] had a good, beautiful copy of this book in his library, so I did not hesitate to get it. I left a large number of angling and shooting books in a small library in the North Wing room for the benefit of the young anglers then growing up. It was a good selection. Among them was a first edition of “Floating Flies and How to Dress Them” by Halford. I saw that there was a demand from collectors for the book at a high price, so wrote to Theodore to sell it if he could realize a good price, also to try to get out the black smirch of a match. I did not care for the illustrations, and I had got all I wanted about tying dry flies out of a little book by J. Ogden.
Edited by John McDonald, by permission of Theodore Gordon Flyfishers.