THE FAMOUS FIRST BOOK ON AMERICAN FOOTBALL, 1891
CAMP, Walter. American Football. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1891. Small octavo, original blue cloth gilt with cover design of American double-eagles clutching footballs. $1850.
First edition of this classic exposition of American football, by the man most responsible for its development, illustrated with 31 photographs of the game's stars from Harvard, Princeton and Yale.
"As [Yale's] team captain for three years and as representative to the national football rules-making body from 1877 until 1925, Camp led the movement that transformed rugby football into American football" (ANB). He created the "fourth down rule" and the field's "gridiron" pattern, and lifted the prohibition against tackling below the waist. "Team play was his great objective, and his strategic ability contributed much to the development of its technique. An even greater contribution came from his love of clean sportsmanship… He created a literature of the game in books, magazines and newspapers" (DAB). More than any other person, Camp drove football's metamorphosis "from a relatively insignificant fall pastime in colleges to a gigantic commercial attraction that was the most visible sign of college life" (ANB). Illustrated with 31 black-and-white plates, depicting collegiate football stars. Two leaves of publisher's advertisements at rear.
Inner paper hinges starting, light wear and toning to spine. A near-fine copy.