This Too Was America

Philadelphia’s Era of Cricket


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About the Book

Cricket in America achieved its greatest acclaim, most extensive organization and highest level of competition in Philadelphia in the mid–19th century. The city took upon itself the burden of representing the entire U.S. during the sport’s emerging international popularity.
It was a story of amazing successes, abysmal failures and engaging personalities—like John B. King, revered to this day as one of the all-time greatest players—and eventual decline and demise. This meticulously researched history examines the origin and rise of a sport’s legacy that, even in its demise, would endure as a lost vision of America’s sporting destiny.

About the Author(s)

Freelance writer and researcher Tom Melville lives in Wisconsin.

Bibliographic Details

Tom Melville
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: 12 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9128-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4884-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Prologue 1
A Note on Technical Cricket Terms 6
One. New York/Philadelphia Cricket and the Ball-Playing Spring of the 1840s 7
Two. The Rise of Philadelphia Cricket and the Uncertainty of a Sporting Identity 17
Three. ­Post–Civil War Cricket and Baseball and the Divergence of a Sporting Culture 33
Four. Guardian of a Sporting Alternative 45
Five. Young America, the Hargreaves Family, and the Assertion of Nativism 58
Six. Intern to Internationalism 71
Seven. Clubs, Players, and the Flowering of Late 19th-Century Philadelphia Cricket 83
Eight. Ambivalence of Destiny 104
Nine. “A Civilization of Its Own”: The World of Late 19th-Century Philadelphia Cricket 118
Ten. Visions of Viability: The England Tour of 1903 140
Eleven. Twilight of Internationalism and the Drift from Nativism 148
Twelve. Decline, Denial, and Dreams: The Passing of Philadelphia Cricket 168
Epilogue 189
Appendix: Casual Olympian 193
Chapter Notes 199
Bibliographic Essay 231
Index 235

Book Reviews & Awards

“Melville is meticulous in his use of primary sources, especially the very rare periodical American Cricketer. …libraries collecting 19th-century sports and baseball history will find this book a valuable addition because it documents a distinctive path taken by a less well-known bat-and-ball game in a major American city. …recommended”—Choice