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August 2020: Arboretum Dogs!

Clarence E. Godshalk and his dog, Punch, inside Joy Morton's castoff Model T car
Clarence Godshalk and his dog, Punch, inside a Model T

Way before the days of Tails on Trails, dogs used to reside at The Morton Arboretum along with members of the Morton family and other Arboretum staff. As the August 30th Tails on Trails event approaches, let’s take a look at some of the pups that used to call the Arboretum home!


One dog that particularly stands out in the archive of the Sterling Morton Library was named Punch. Punch was born in the spring of 1923 at The Morton Arboretum. His mom was an Airedale dog that belonged to a former Arboretum employee. Eventually she came under the care of Clarence Godshalk, the Arboretum’s first Director, and would have nine puppies, Punch being the one that the Godshalks decided to keep.

Joy Morton, the Arboretum’s founder, was quite fond of Punch. When Joy would take guests around the Arboretum, he would pick up Punch from the Godshalk’s house to take him along. Punch would ride along on the running board of the car being driven (when he was with Joy Morton the vehicle was a Pierce Arrow), hop off to chase squirrels, and then jump back on when he was done with his squirrel chasing adventure.

View the photographs below to see photographs of Punch. In the last slide, you can hear audio of Clarence Godshalk talking about Punch (skip to minute 10:40 to go right to the story).

From photographs and other letters in our archive, it is clear that members of the Morton family were dog lovers. Scroll through the slideshow below to view some of the dogs that either lived on the Arboretum grounds or belonged to the Morton family. Click on an image to be directed to its individual record on ACORN.

To get a better look at the photograph, click on it to be directed to its ACORN record. From there, you can hover over the image, click on the magnifying glass icon, and zoom in to get a closer look!