Leading the Davenports: Carl Raswan Correspondence to Charles Craver

From the collection of Charles Craver, all rights reserved.
From the KHAMSAT Vol 5 Num 1 Jan 1988

During the ten years prior to Carl Raswan’s death late in 1966, a correspondence was conducted between Carl Raswan and Charles Craver, who was at that time starting to re-establish the Davenport breeding group. Selected portions of the Raswan letters of this correspondence follow: No effort has been made to include everything concerning Arabian horses, or even Davenport Arabian horses, because of space considerations. Except for one reference, the *Wadduda material is omitted, as it generally parallels the coverage given the subject in the “Wadduda” entry #10829 of The Raswan Index.

It surely does not make any difference in them, but perhaps it adds a little to how these letters are viewed to know that they are not written to a “patron,” as they were not associated with any financial support to Carl Raswan beyond subscription to the Index as it was published and a minor advance in conjunction with publication of Volume VI of that book.

Raswan letters are an optical art form of their own. They contain directional arrows, squiggles, various kinds of other underlining, boxes around words, occasional pictures, extensive marginal notations, multiple colors: in general, many features which are not found on any typewriter keyboard. In these extracts, Raswan’s underlining and capitalization are followed as closely as seems practical but a completely literal transcription is not attempted.

[The web editor used for these pages cannot underline words; therefore the underlining which was used in print will be shown instead via one size larger in type of such underlined words]


(uncertain date but probably end of June, 1958)
To: Charles Craver

IbnHanadYour large envelope with the pedigrees and photos just arrived (was forwarded from Oakland. I must congratulate you. You have SAVED some of the finest of DAVENPORT’S Arabians — and incest breeding (if you have to do it) will not hurt the good qualities. You also might breed one of your mares to Miss Shuey’s “IBN HANAD” — but on the other hand you can continue with your own bloodlines. I just send these few lines to let you know how happy I am to have received your pictures & pedigrees & to see the remarkable (good) results you achieved with the Pure Davenport blood (it is “history”) what you are making). Thank you for SAVING this precious blood! — Let me know what I can do for you (at least work out the strains of your pedigrees & make them out in colors). Anything you want me to do? Could I publish the filly’s picture (Tripoli X Dhalanah) and one of “Dharebah” and the other of Dhalanah (They are true Arabians — just like in Desert-Arabia!)

March 10, 1959
To: Charles Craver

…–ABBEIAN 111 was was an “ABAYAN(sic)-no MU’NIQI — HALEB did have MU’NIQI-SBAILI.

There will not be any weakness (through ABBEIAN) in ASARA. You will gain strength and ARABIAN Type (characteristics) through ASARA. This extra KUHAYLAN in ASARA will be of great advantage to you upon the other Davenport-blood you have.

February 28, 1961
To: Charles Craver

…I checked your horses pedigrees and pictures of your horses, while I was getting ready the picture and chart section of Vol. IV of the “INDEX”. – and I picked the lovely filly (spring 1958 by “TRIPOLI” and out of “DHALANA”). I placed her with 5 other PURE-bred-Arabians (“NASR” – “MESAOUD” – “MAHROUSSA” etc.) in the picture section (under “Lest we forget … (the PURE ARABIANS)”…

I am somewhat upset what you say about OTT’s “WADDUDA” information – I’ll write to Mrs Ott today about that. Thank you for telling me about it…

P.S. Did you call the filly (whose picture I am publishing in Vol IV.) “Alaska”? She is 2 years in the photo which you just mailed. A true Desert mare. “PORTIA” is another PURE Arabian. And “SUTAN” will be something exquisite too. Arabian breeders will “reach” for DAVENPORT blood when they find out that the PURITY of your DAVENPORT Arabians will be the “element” they need to revive ARABIAN characteristics — put new VITALITY into their foals.

December 7, 1961
To: Charles Craver

We are able to take a breath of air again. Two years we struggled to get this Vol. IV out. We mailed 3 books to you in registered package.

Next month we start printing Vol. V — and between now & printing time we will get the alphabetical arrangement of the subjects in shape & Esperanza will type the remaining pages — and I want to continue my work on the Auto-Biographical Novel. For 9 years I neglected to make any extra-money. We hardly lived through those years. We sacrificed everything — even our freedom to enjoy vacation & visit friends — but, God willing, by April we’ll have this whole INDEX-work behind us & we can live as “normal” Human beings again (and with this I mean that we can go back to California or Arizona again to live & be with relatives, friends & Arabians).

Do the Arabian Breeders realize what I gave up when I retreated to Mexico to have time & peace to work 14 to 16 hours every day (even Sundays) & prepare those five volumes — which almost took 10 years to do?

Well — we have all reason to thank God, who gave us health & strength to carry this work through — and without the help of peole like you (our subscribers & personal friends) we could not have done it.


I notice that in your letter of July 1st you asked about the Saqlawi & Kuhaylan strains mixed. They are both of the CLASSIC strains & therefore almost alike & both PURE. The only difference is that on the DAM’S side. (If the DAM’S side is KUHAYLAN the offspring are built on a wider (bone) frame (even the heads are wider (forehead) and shorter. If the DAM’S side is SAQLAWI one has a more refined (and perhaps taller) frame (and somewhat longer head with more dish and bulge).

Did you notice this to be true?

Certainly you DON’T have to worry, if you mix these two CLASSIC strains. ‘ABBAS PASHA & ALI PASHA SHARIF did it (and with best results). Some breeders (in Arabia) prefer it too, because they have a choice to refine or to fortify muscles & bone …

February 15 1963
To: Charles Craver

…Naturally I am most interested about what you say & feel & explain about the “LETAN” — “ANTEZ” — “HANAD” offspring.

It does not (NOT AT ALL!) sound foolish to me, because I knew these horses intimately and used to live with them (ride them, take care of them) and thus their exterieur as well as their mentality & intelligence were revealed to me.

You are right (for example) that “HANAD” “fussed” a little with his head and brought it closer to my chest (I used to ride with long stirrups — perhaps a habit when I was in the German Cavalry in World War I — and also riding with loose legs bareback (for years) with the Bedouin).

I would say that the width of head (the added width) is from “Letan” (yes, “Letan” had extra width between jowls & he was “packed” with thick muscles. – and you are right: there was a terrific alertness about “Letan” (he belonged to “the-listening-horses,” as the Bedouin say). All photos, which I ever took of him, show this always-present-alertness (and he could take off like a rocket or jet-plane — instantly, though for a moment he “drummed” the ground first with all four feet). I used to play Polo on him – and he was sure-footed in the proverbial way & able to turn & twist as no other horse at the time in California.

Yes, “ANTEZ” had a wider head than “HANAD” — and “ANTEZ” had more “details” (Arabian characteristics) than “LETAN” whose forehead was unusual wide, and a finer muzzle (more tapering with an upper lip that was always at play & taking hold of something or someone). [transcribers note: because of unclear punctuation, it is uncertain whether statements concerning muzzle and upper lip are meant to be descriptive of Letan or Antez, but familiarity with the bloodline would seem to indicate Letan.]

Forgetting pedigrees & strains, but just remembering the 3 un-forgettable stallions as they appeared “in-the-flesh” I can see that an Arabian livig to-day, who is a “combination of “HANAD” and “LETAN” (or has an almost equal proportion of their blood) must be a well-balanced animal (just as much “horse” as “Arabian” too) and “in-between” the “muscles” and “refinement” (Not too much muscles and not too much refinement).

The mares in Desert-Arabia are “humble” creatures ( as the Bedouin say). They “hide” their beauty. Stallions are natural showy in any country. Mares are therefore (always!) harder to judge. And mares are not sufficiently developed in their hindquarters before 4 or 5 years (even if they have already one foal at their age of 4 or 5).

The gaskins and forearms were definitely wider in ‘LETAN’ and as to ’round’ bone: this is one thing that puzzled me all my life and Bogdan Zietarski (the Polish gentleman, see my INDEX under ZIETARSHI), who was a first class artist too (& could draw what he saw too!) often said to me in Desert-Arabia: “Look at his round bone — you never see it in our Arabians in Poland.” — and I used to say: “Well, your Arabians are far removed – by a dozen or more generations from the Desert & they have wider bone, flatter, maybe.” We two fellows never agreed on it.

But looking back & “checking” in my mind many Arabians (many) & “Letan” too, I would say:

“Yes, Letan had a round bone” (in German we say “Rohrbein” (actually “PIPE-bone”).

March 13, 1963
To: Charles Craver

Esperanza and I wish to thank you for…this flying “pilrimage” – and I have a special reason to thank you, because I had the privilege that I saw the movie-pictures of your Arabians…it certainly was an educational “lift” and an encouraging “boost” for me, because I saw proof that you are not only saving the DAVENPORT Arabians, but breed them back to the original type of the best individuals which Davenport himself gathered up among the Bedouin in the Desert of Arabia.

There is NO doubt that some of these exquisite Davenport horses were equal in conformation & type (& other good qualities) to the original Abbas Pasha & ‘Ali Pasha Sharif Arabian Horses — and why should they not have been?!

Well — for one reason, I’ll say: they came from the same Bedouin tribes & often from the same family of Bedouin where 60, 70, & 80 years previously ‘Abbas Pasha’s emissaries had acquired their own Arabian Horses — and for this very reason some of the Davenport Arabians were even closer to the original source (the Desert of Arabia) than the Egyptians of our day —

One has only to check the original Davenport horses to realize how many there were who came from PURIST-breeders (that is how many [-in proportion to the total number that were imported by Homer Davenport] actually were PURE-IN-THE-STRAIN — and consequently represented a certain DISTINCTIVE type …

The Maxim (that piece of wisdom!) of the “old-timers” I met among the European Horse-Breeders, always was:

“When you reach the ultimate in your efforts to create a distinctive & faultless type you have to INBREED! — INCEST– BREED! — but INBREED & take every chance you get to INBREED. It’s the only way to SATURATE for many generations to come your foals with these DISTINCTIVE characteristics & those FAULTLESS PROPORTIONS and perfect CONFORMATION which manifest in these ultimate specimens of your choice and your own creation…”

The latent powers are yours to magnetize ( = to attract to each other from both closely related animals (Father & Daughter, Mother & Son, Brother & Sister) the good qualities & channel them into the new foal, which will turn into a magnetized piece of steel (able to attract for generations to come & influence with its magnetic forces ordinary iron & turn it also into a magnetized piece of steel (exercising “attraction” which ordinary flesh & blood can not do).

Over many generations this “MAGNETIC” quality may cease & dissolve completely — and, when such a “state” arrives, one needs another pair of PURE (ASIL) Arabians & start inbreeding again to save the DISTINCTIVE type. If we have no AUTHENTIC (ASIL) Arabians left by that time it will be too late to recover the original (DISTINCTIVE) ASIL type — and for this reason alone I have talked & have used my pen & ink for the last forty years to warn & to urge.

You are one of the few who have listened to me & put into practice (& proved!) that it can be done: You have helped to SAVE the authentic Arabian & you will start INBREEDING & even INCEST-breeding very soon. I am sure of that.

March 3, 1965
To: Charles Craver

…After all, we are here on this earth for a definite reason & only once have this chance to make ourselves useful & we can only do it with the help of a good conscience (a wonderful guide, specially in times of stress & distress & when we seem blindfolded). But there is always the “pattern” upon which we must stay & work out what had been designed long before we appeared on this planet. You see this pattern too — and you work upon it & you & I add our tiny little “mosaic” stones in our lifetime & others will follow us and add theirs — and someday the whole “design” will be revealed. All we have to do is to be faithful & to be patient to the “calling” and to ‘the “appointment.”

…I do not “run” down any Polish horses or “Arabians” with Barb & other foreign blood — only when someone has seen faults & become “shaky” and comes to me and tries to find an explanation, I am willing to point out what is wrong.