New on our shelf today:
At the turn of the 20th century, track and field in the U.S. was the domain of the wealthy. While baseball and prize-fighting attracted athletes from the lower orders of society, athletic clubs generally recruited the top sporting graduates from private colleges—except one.
New York’s Irish-American Athletic Club was founded by and for immigrants. Membership was not exclusively Irish—Jews, African Americans, Scandinavians, Italians, and even a handful of Englishmen joined the club, which dominated local and national athletics for more than a decade. The I-AAC laid claim to the title of best athletic club in the world following the 1908 Olympic Games, bent the rules on amateurism and challenged the ban on Sunday entertainments before succumbing to aftereffects of World War I and Prohibition.