American Field Hockey Literature in the Early 1900s

A number of publications regarding field hockey were released in the United States in the first few years of the 20th century. Before Constance Applebee’s arrival in the United States, a volume entitled The Games of Lawn Hockey, Tether Ball, Squash Ball, Golf-Croquet was released in 1900 as part of the American Sports Publishing Company’s Spalding’s Athletic Library series. It included an essay on the sport by Thomas J. Browne, a description of its play by Springfield College graduate Martin Foss, and the “official” American rules by James McCurdy.

gamesoflawnhocke00newy_0003Applebee herself was responsible for more literature on the subject, including another Spalding’s Athletic Library series volume in 1902 called English Field Hockey for Men and Women, and a chapter on field hockey in a book called Athletics and Out-Door Sports for Women, published by the Macmillan Company in 1903. The opening sentence of that chapter confirms what my research has led me to believe about the sport’s American origins:

chapter xi“Though the fame of English field hockey had from time to time been wafted over the Atlantic, resulting in a few spasmodic efforts to play it, it was not until 1901 that the game was definitely started over here.”

There was also a four-page spread in the October, 1904 issue of The Delineator magazine entitled “Field Hockey: A New Athletic Pastime For Girls.”

booksNone of this literature has done a great deal to enhance my knowledge of the individuals involved in field hockey at the time, or the events surrounding the sport’s spread in the United States in the early 1900s. But by reading every piece I can that was written at the time, and by soaking in the overall tone and observing the illustrations, I do think I have a better feel for the context of the story I will eventually want to tell.

One magazine piece that I have learned of but have not yet found is an article in the July, 1905 issue of Harper’s Bazar (yes, they used to leave out the second a) entitled “Hockey in Women’s Colleges.” Judging by the title and the date, this piece would seem to be about as on the nose as it could possibly get in terms of pertaining to my research, but as of yet I haven’t been able to track down a copy. When I do, I will surely share it here.


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