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    Description

    1895-96 "Basket Ball Official Rules" Book from The Mabel Welton Collection. One of the earliest known specimen's of its kind, "Basket Ball Official Rules & Score Blanks, 1895-96" was published in 1894 by "The International Committee of Young Men's Christian Associations" in New York.

    The front cover shows some general handling wear and light discoloration. There is a small half-inch tear to the right border and the original owner's name "Mabel Welton" written at the top right. The back cover contains remnants from the page in the album where the book was once archived. Inside contains games scored by Miss Welton and other basketball related notation in her hand, including on two small piece of paper which have been neatly affixed to the last page of the book. Still, the book is intact and in remarkable condition considering its 124-year vintage.

    An all-women's college founded in 1861, Vassar was at the forefront of pioneering achievements in women's rights and women's athletics, including fielding a women's baseball team in 1866 and opening the first gymnasium at a women's college. Mabel Welton was the coach of the 1895-96 Vassar College inaugural women's basketball team, which was also one of the very first women's basket teams in the country. Miss Welton was mentored by Basketball Hall of Famer Luther Gulick, who inspired James Naismith to invent the game and was instrumental in its development.

    Considering Gulick's capacity as the chairman of the Basketball Rules Organization, his affiliation with the YMCA, and his close friendship with Miss Welton, it is highly likely that he provided her with the exemplar offered here prior to Vassar's inaugural basketball season. An extremely scare and important artifact from the earliest days of the game.


    More Information: The Mable Welton Collection


    Mabel Welton & Vassar College

    An all-women's college founded in 1861, Vassar was at the forefront of pioneering achievements in women's rights and athletics, including fielding a baseball team in 1866 and opening the first gymnasium at a women's college. Mabel Welton was the coach of the 1895-96 Vassar College inaugural women's basketball team, one of the very first women's basketball teams in the country. Miss Welton was mentored by Basketball Hall of Famer Luther Gulick, who inspired James Naismith to invent the game and was instrumental in its development.

    Luther Halsey Gulick

    Widely considered the father of physical education and recreation in the United States, Basketball Hall of Famer Luther Halsey Gulick's lifetime accomplishments and contributions to sport and society are staggering.

    First, the game of basketball would probably never had been created if not for Gulick. As the superintendent of physical education at the International YMCA Training School, Gulick challenged his faculty in the summer of 1891 to create a new indoor game for students to play "that would be interesting, easy to learn, and easy to play in the winter and by artificial light." Gulick's guidelines also specified that the game should be able to be played indoors and year-round, while promoting teamwork and the development of the mind, body, and spirit.

    After two of his instructors had already tried and failed to execute his directive, and with the winter of 1891-92 rapidly approaching, Gulick specifically challenged a second-year graduate student named James Naismith with the pressing task at hand. "Naismith," said Gulick, "I want you to take the class and see what you can do with it."

    All through the basketball's infancy, Gulick continued to oversee Naismith's creation, providing valuable insights and suggestions in regard to modifications and improvements. He was also at the forefront of the game's move to the national and international levels, serving as the chairman of the Basketball Rules Organization in 1895 and the chairman of the AAU Basketball Committee from 1895-905

    During his relatively short fifty-three-year lifetime, Gulick was a founder Boy Scouts of America, the Camp Fire Girls, American Physical Education Association, Playground and Recreation Society of America, the New York Academy of Physical Education, and the New York Public School Athletic Leagues. He was also the director of physical education in the public schools of New York City, the international secretary for the physical training department of the YMCA, secretary of the American Association for the Advancement of Physical Education, a member of the 1896 and 1908 Olympic Committees, and developed the YMCA's triangle logo. Furthermore, he was a medical doctor, prolific writer, hospital consultant, high school principal, the father of six children, and an early advocate for women's sports and the improvement of the lives of women in America.


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