American Sportsman's Library

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Trade Edition Volume Cover

The American Sportsman's Library is an early and important series of 16 uniformly-bound volumes on sporting subjects, from an American perspective, published by the Macmillan Company (see Macmillan Publishers) in the period 1902-1905. Caspar Whitney, the owner/editor of Outing (magazine) and a well-known outdoorsman and sporting journalist, edited the series. Authors, including Theodore Roosevelt (writing while President of the United States), were noted experts in their fields.

M.L. Biscotti, in American Sporting Book Series (1994), states that "[t]he authors of these titles were a Who's Who of American sportsmen of the era....Macmillan designed a premium series....The sixteen titles produced in this series represent that era's best sporting literature."

The trade edition of each volume was 7⅞" by 5½" with green cloth covers with gilt titles and decorations. The books cost $2 or $3 each, relatively high prices for the time (about $51 and $77 inflation-adjusted to 2009). They included extensive black-and-white illustrations from paintings or photographs. Macmillan also issued a "large paper" edition limited to one hundred numbered copies of each work. These were 9" x 6¼" and bound in three-quarter olive green (typically now faded to brown) leather. They cost $7.50 in 1902 (about $193 inflation-adjusted to 2009). A 1924 reprinting of the trade edition introduced dust jackets and a slightly reduced size (7½" x 5").[1]

Macmillan advertised advance notice of, but ultimately did not publish, four additional volumes. These include Skating, Hockey, and Kite Sailing; Baseball and Football; The Bear Family; and Cougar, Wildcat, Wolf, and Fox.[2]

A useful series for comparison purposes is the slightly earlier British Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes. The Derrydale Press published a series of high-quality American sporting books in the late 1920s and 1930s that, to some extent, supplanted the American Sportsman's Library.

Whitney testified in a lawsuit against him that he earned a salary of $1,500 (about $39,000 inflation-adjusted to 2009) for editing the American Sportsman's Library.[3]

Volumes of the American Sportsman's Library[edit]

  • Anderson, E.L. and P. Collier, Riding and Driving (1905)
  • Brownell, L.W., Photography for the Sportsman Naturalist (1904)
  • Busby, Hamilton, The Trotting and Pacing Horse in America (1904)
  • Graham, Joseph A., The Sporting Dog (1904)
  • Money, A.W. et al., Guns, Ammunition and Tackle (1904)
  • Paret, J.P., Lawn Tennis, Lacrosse: Its Past, Present and Future (1904)
  • Sage, Dean et al., Salmon and Trout (1902)
  • Sandys, Edwyn and T.S. Van Dyke, Upland Game Birds (1902)
  • Stephens, William P., American Yachting (1904)
  • Trevathan, Charles E., The American Thoroughbred (1905)

References[edit]

  1. ^ M.L. Biscotti, American Sporting Book Series (1994), pp. 77-78.
  2. ^ Publisher's advertisement following index to Guns, Ammunition, and Tackle.
  3. ^ N.Y. Times, May 2, 1907.