The granddaughter of two local legends has organized an exhibit that showcases her family’s rich history.
Tara Gail Bostwick has gathered memorabilia that reflects the life and successes of her grandparents, prominent equestrians Pete and Dolly Van Stade Bostwick. Those items are currently on display at the Aiken County Historical Museum.
Bostwick, 22, is a senior at the USC Aiken and a Magellan Scholar. The Magellan Scholar program is implemented through USC and awards up to $3,000 for faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects.
Bostwick decided to delve into her family history.
“The goal for me is not only to pursue research but to preserve this legacy,” Bostwick said.
As part of the Magellan Scholarship research, Bostwick looked at the Irish influence on equestrian sports in Aiken and also archived the library of her father, Charlie Bostwick.
Pete Bostwick, who passed away in 1982, was a horse trainer, steeplechase jockey and polo player. He was also a member of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. His granddaughter said that she also learned in her research that he was the first steeplechase trainer to gross $1 million in horse earnings.
“He’s like everything that I want to be in life and I never got to meet him,” said Bostwick who is also an equestrian. “This is my way to connect with him and bring him back to life.”
Bostwick also learned more about her grandmother and didn’t realize she was so prominent in the equestrian world. She found a cartoon of Dolly Van Stade that claimed she was the one of the best horse women in the country.
Bostwick said that before her grandparents married, Dolly Van Stade’s horses would sometimes compete against Pete Bostwick’s horses.
Photographs, newspaper clippings, trophies, tiny equestrian figurines and other items are part of the exhibit. Bostwick said she’s very excited to see it all come together.
Museum Executive Director Elliott Levy said it’s exciting to have such an exhibit, especially since much of what is on displayed has never been viewed by the public. Levy said the Bostwick family is “very close to the vest” in Aiken’s history.