1729.1

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At Harvard, Batt and Ball "Stirs Our Bloud Greatly"

Salience Noteworthy
Tags College, Harvard College
City/State/Country: Cambridge, MA, United States
Game Bat-and-Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Youth
Text

From Harvard College,

In a letter written from Harvard College dated March 30, 1729 to Nicholas Gilman, John Seccomb wrote:  “The Batchelors Play Batt & Ball mightily now adays which Stirs our bloud greatly”

Sources

Nicholas Gilman papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, as cited in Clifford K. Shipton, New England Life in the Eighteenth Century (Harvard University Press, 1995), p. 287.  

Comment

Brian Turner notes that this find "predates by 33 years the 1762 ban on bat-and-ball (along with foot-ball, cricket, and throwing snow-balls and stones in the streets of Salem -- see entry 1762.2).  It also predates by two decades a reference in a 1750s French & Indian war diary kept by Benjamin Glazier of Ipswich."  (See entry 1758.1)

Gilman was from a leading family of New Hampshire, mainly centered in Exeter, a bit inland from Portsmouth, where Elwyn gave a description of 1810's "bat & ball," in which he certainly seems to name a specific game.  (See entry 1810s.9).  Seccomb, also spelled Seccombe, was born and lived in Medford, Mass., and later in life wound up in Nova Scotia -- not because he was a Loyalist, but for other reasons.

Brian notes that "By “Batchelors,” Gilman probably means students pursuing a bachelor’s degree, hence the categorization of this entry under "Youth."  For over two centuries, 14 was the age at which boys entered Harvard." (Email of 9/1/2014.)

 

 

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Submitted by Brian Turner
Submission Note Emails of 8/30/2014 and 8/31/2014



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