Fox Hunting In America

Riding to hounds has been as much of a sport among well-to-do Americans as among the British gentry

Ask anyone where fox hunting originated and odds are he will respond promptly, “Why, the British Isles, of course.” Indeed, the cry of “Tallyho!” conjures up visions of Lord or Lady Poddlesmere galloping across the English countryside, leaping mammoth hedges for hours on end, and sipping strong waters around the fireside at the end of the day. As it turns out, though, we Americans can lay just as much claim to pioneering the sport as our cousins across the Atlantic, and probably no one will ever know for sure who is entitled to the honors. Read more »

The Late, Late Frontier

What started as fun and games at spring roundups is now a multi-million-dollar sport called rodeo

The crowd roars. The bell clangs. The chute gate swings wide and a beleaguered animal dashes into the arena to put on an exciting exhibition of pain and panic.

The rodeo is presented as a colorful epic of the cattle industry in the days of the Chisholm Trail, evoking the sturdy moral values of frontier life or, as the Pendleton (Oregon) Round-Up recently rephrased the idea, “Four Big Days of Fun in the Ol’ West.” But what is rodeo, really? Read more »

Once More On To The Beach

Pilgrims and Puritans, naturally, hated the water, but by the turn of the century certain pleasures had been rediscovered

For some two hundred years the Europeans who planted themselves on our Atlantic shoreline turned their backs on the sea or merely farmed it. Those who did not head west for new lands remained to mow the salt hay, harvest the beach plums, fish for the sacred cod, or rake up oysters from East Jersey’s abundant beds. Beaches were simply convenient places for digging clams, drying fish, or landing cargoes without the inhibiting presence of customs officers. But the seashore was scarcely thought of as a pleasure ground. Read more »

SphairistikÉ, Anyone?

Introduced not quite a century ago under a name born for oblivion, the game itself promises to last forever

Miss Mary Ewing Outerbridge was unquestionably one of New York’s most respectable young ladies. Her Staten Island family was socially impeccable and correspondingly well-to-do; she was seen in the best places at the right times. It was therefore a considerable shock when the attractive Miss Outerbridge, returning from a holiday in Bermuda in March, 1874, had trouble getting through customs in New York. Read more »

The “mostest Hoss”

Concerning the long life, fast times, and astonishing fecundity of Man o’ War

In 1920 William T. Waggoner of Fort Worth, Texas, possessed a string of racehorses, hundreds of thousands of acres of prime cattle land dotted with oil wells, and the firm conviction, apparently born of experience, that everything has a price. That year a lustrous chestnut colt was running away from the nation’s best three-year-olds with ridiculous ease, and it occurred to Waggoner that this colt was the greatest thoroughbred that he or any other American horseman had ever seen or was ever likely to see.Read more »

When The Forty-niners Went Sixty

They had no chair lifts, and they called their skis snowshoes, but they were the fastest men alive

What may come as a surprise is that this swell swoop has been going on for over a century. It was just about a hundred years ago that a relatively unsung hero named Tommy Todd, of Howland Flat, California, was clocked at fourteen seconds for 1,806 feet from a standing start—which averages out to well over eighty-seven miles an hour. Since this was at a time when even crack express trains hadn’t made eighty miles an hour yet, there is every reason to think that Tommy was the fastest man alive in 1870. Read more »

The Great American Game

Baseball’s rules and rituals are much as they were fifty years ago and anything to win still goes.

By the carefully repeated definition of men who stand to make money out of its acceptance, baseball is the Great American Game. The expression was invented long ago and it has been rammed home by talented press agents ever since, even in times when most Americans seemed to be interested very largely in something else.

A Century Of Cooperstown

For a village of only 2,700 souls, peaceful Cooperstown, on Lake Otsego, New York, has enjoyed a modest fame. Most people know it as the home of novelist James Fenimore Cooper, a beautiful resort, and as the place where baseball was supposedly invented by Abner Doubleday. Less well-known, but of increasing interest to regional historians and lovers of the American scene, is the record left by the two Cooperstown photographers shown above—Washington G. Smith and Arthur J. (Putt) Telfer.