4th Annual BHoF Induction Auction (#25)
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James Naismith is best known as the inventor of the sport of basketball, and his name adorns the world's only Basketball Hall of Fame. It all started with two peach baskets affixed to a 10-foot-high railing and a soccer ball in a Massachusetts YMCA. The first formal rules were devised in 1892. Initially, players dribbled a soccer ball up and down a court of unspecified dimensions, and points were earned by landing the ball in a peach basket. Iron hoops and a hammock-style basket were introduced in 1893. Another decade passed, however, before the innovation of open-ended nets put an end to the practice of manually retrieving the ball from the basket each time a goal was scored. From the Naismith family archives come these 37 letters handwritten by Naismith. Dating from 1900-1930s and signed "Jim," the letters are from Naismith to his family, including his wife Maude. Content predominantly concerns the family and their well being as well as Naismith's many trips and his service in the military. Notable letterheads include "American YMCA, On Active Service With The American Expeditionary Force," "A Bord de Espagne, Cie Cle Transatlantique" and "Union Pacific." Each and every one of these letters is a wonderfully historic document; some of these letters are exceptionally notable. A March 2, 1919 letter talks about someone stealing Naismith's war souvenirs that he had picked up from various battlefields, and references a basketball that was used in a game on the battlefield by the British in one of the first games they played. Another letter dated March 23, 1918 to his daughter references the German shelling of Paris. A letter dated November 13, 1918 begins with "The war is ended." The letters are in overall average EX condition, with the writing and signatures averaging a grade of 7 to 8. Accompanied by a LOA from JSA for the autographs.
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