The Summer Games May 2001
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This lot is closed. Bidding ended on 5/10/2001.
This incredible scrapbook was apparently compiled by Dr. James A. Naismith, the inventor of basketball, who evidently realized the power the game would have and sought to chart its growth in press clippings and letters that began cropping up in 1892 – the year he started a national craze by nailing two peach baskets to a gym wall at the Young Men's Christian Training College in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he was teaching phys ed. Naismith called his game basket-ball. He would add to the scrapbook until 1936, two years before his death, though there are loose clippings and letters from Naismith's wife in 1939 and 1940 to college coaches (one being Kansas' Forrest Allen) asking for the creation of a Naismith Award, which suggest that she may have added to the book thereafter. Ownership of the scrapbook eventually went to a bank in Kansas City, Kansas, where it was kept until being obtained recently in a bank auction. Given its history, very few people have seen the scrapbooks's contents, which paints the story of a sport that was an orphan at the time. For example, one of the first entries is an April 27, 1892 New York Times article calling the invention "A New Game of Ball" and "a substitute for football without its rough features." There is also a remarkable letter from the Brooklyn YMCA dated April 23, 1892 in which the writer says he "introduced" Naismith's game in New York, which if true would be the earliest trace of "The City Game" getting off the ground. Another letter expresses the wish to "introduce it in Texas." There is a wealth of clippings detailing its acceptance at various venues (one such is the Arctic Brotherhood Team of Nome, Alaska), even a skeptical note in an article that asks, "Is Basketball A Dangerous Sport?" which quotes a doctor as saying, "It's injurious to nervous people." There's also a great 1922 letter from the NCAA informing the Dr. that he was to be made a lifetime member, and various newspaper photos with a favorite Naismith pastime, recreating with his wife the peach basket origins of the game. Throughout the pages, handwritten notes pop up in the margins that, according to a family member, were in fact written by Naismith himself. The scrapbook itself is sturdy and in good condition. On the gray cover is a maroon "K", Naismith's tip of the hat to Kansas University, where he taught for many years. The pages have of course yellowed a bit, yet the care with which the book was kept is evident throughout. Become immersed in seeing the rise of basketball through its creator's eyes and you will feel like you own a piece of history.
 Dr. James Naismith Scrapbook
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Minimum Bid: $5,000
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Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Thursday, May 10, 2001.
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