America Learns to Play: A History of Popular Recreation, 1607-1940

By Foster Rhea Dulles | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
THE NEW ORDER

WITH THE RISE OF SPORTS SUPPLEMENTING THE CONTINUED growth of commercial amusements, there was a steadily broadening interest in recreation in the 1880's and 1890's. The doldrums of half a century earlier had been left far behind. The gospel of work still held good, but it was tempered by a new realization of the need for play. The decline of puritan influence resulted in wider popular sanction for many diversions which had once been generally disapproved. And the new sports themselves, as a writer in Outing declared, had made a breach in the walls "which that awful personage Mrs. Grundy had raised up to separate the sexes in outdoor games."1 The era of Victorian repression was drawing to a close.

Newspapers and magazines all reflected this. During the summer of 1886 the New York Tribune devoted no less than five hundred columns to sports, also issuing its Book of Open-Air Sports, and a decade later William Randolph Hearst started a custom which the entire press quickly adopted. He began publishing daily in the New York Journal a page headed "In the World of Professional and Amateur Sports."2 Magazines devoted to these new activities were also started. Outing had shown the way. It was followed by a wide choice of weeklies and monthlies ranging from the American Canoeist to the Bicycling World, from the Ball Players' Chronicle to Archery and Tennis News.

It could still be said that many more people watched sports than took part in them. James F. Muirhead, a sympathetic but critical English observer of the new movement, reported that games were widely played in the East but in the Middle West

-201-

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America Learns to Play: A History of Popular Recreation, 1607-1940
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xiii
  • Illustrations xv
  • Chapter I - In Detestation of Idleness 3
  • Chapter II - Husking-Bees and Tavern Sports 22
  • Chapter III - The Colonial Aristocracy 44
  • Chapter IV - The Frontier 67
  • Chapter V - A Changing Society 84
  • Chapter VI - The Theatre Comes of Age 100
  • Chapter VII - Mr. Barnum Shows the Way 122
  • Chapter VIII - The Beginning of Spectator Sports 136
  • Chapter IX - Mid-Century 148
  • Chapter X - Cow-Towns and Mining-Camps 168
  • Chapter XI - The Rise of Sports 182
  • Chapter XII - The New Order 201
  • Chapter XIII - Metropolis 211
  • Chapter XIV - World of Fashion 230
  • Chapter XV - Main Street 248
  • Chapter XVI - Farm and Countryside 271
  • Chapter XVII - The Growth of the Movies 287
  • Chapter XVIII - A Nation on Wheels 308
  • Chapter XIX - On the Air 320
  • Chapter XX - The Great American Band-Wagon 332
  • Chapter XXI - Sports for All 347
  • Chapter XXII - The New Leisure 365
  • Bibliography 375
  • Notes 391
  • Index 425
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