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Base Ball Associated with Boston Gymnasium Proposal?

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Contemp. "Base Ball" usage
Location Boston
City/State/Country: Boston, MA, United States
Game Base Ball, Foot Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Youth


Messrs. William Sullivan and John G. Coffin have petitioned the Councils of Boston for the use of a piece of public ground, for two years, for the establishment of a Gymnastic School–a measure of doubtful propriety, we apprehend.  If a boy wants to play; let him play but do not spoil the fun by dictating the modus operandi–a game of base ball, or foot ball, is worth a dozen gymnassiums [sic], where the eye of surveillance is to check the flow of animal spirits.  


United States Gazette (Philadelphia) March 28, 1826



 Note that this find comes five years before town ball is seen in Philadelphia.

 From Bruce Allardice, email of 6/9/2021:

"In the year 1823, Dr. John G. Coffin, established a journal in Boston entitled, "The Boston Medical Intelligencer, devoted to the cause of physical education, and to the means of preventing and curing diseases." The motto in the title page was as follows :- "The best part of the medical art, is the avoiding of pain." This journal some five or six years afterward, became the "Boston Medical and Surgical Journal," "
Dr. John G. Coffin (1769-1828), married. Eliza Rice.
This is undoubtedly one of the petitioners for the gymnasium.


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Was the Gymnasium actually established in Boston?  Was ballplaying among its activities?  Was gymnastics seen in the Commons in the early years?


Isn't this ref a very early appearance of the term foot ball in the US?  Can we learn what rules may have applied? 

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Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Submission Note Email of September 21, 2020


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