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Badminton: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1886, the badminton craze swept through the United States.This guide provides access to materials related to “Badminton” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

Sketch of a badminton court. March 9, 1890. New-York Tribune (New York, NY), Image 18. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

A little-known fact is that badminton is the world’s fastest racket sport, with shuttlecocks traveling up to 200 miles per hour. Invented by British military officers in India in the mid-1800s, badminton soon spread to the rest of the world. Though badminton clubs sprouted up in the United States in the late 19th century, the sport never really took off on the competitive level, as it was overshadowed by the more popular racket sport, tennis. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

April 4,1886 A piece appears in the newspaper about how the young people of New York play badminton.
October 13, 1886 Young members of New York’s society play badminton primarily as a means of conversation.
March 9, 1890 Badminton is described as a “lenten amusement" played primarily by people “well known in society."
June 19, 1891 An article explains the history and rules of badminton, extolling it as “a game for all seasons.
May 31, 1891 Badminton is in no danger of replacing tennis, and there is speculation that badminton might join the tennis association or form one of its own.
October 3, 1891 The badminton lawn tennis experts win trophies in the Inter-Club Tennis Association of Kings county in New York.
November 10 ,1907 An article explains the history and rules of badminton, calling it a “modification of lawn tennis.
May 22, 1909 The newly formed Badminton Tennis club of Santa Monica holds its first play.
March 27, 1920 The Badminton Club of New York holds an intercity tournament with Caines Badminton Club of Boston.