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1826.3 Base Ball Associated with Boston Gymnasium Proposal?
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:
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?
1850s.25 If It's May Day, Boston Needs All its Sam Malones at the Commons!
"On the first of May each year, large crowds filled the [Boston] Commons to picnic, play ball or other games, and take in entertainment."
John Corrigan, "The Anxiety of Boston at Mid-Century," in Business of the Heart: Religion and Emotion in the Nineteenth Century (University of California Press, 2002), page 44. Accessed 11/15/2008 via Google Books search ("business of the heart"). Corrigan's source, supplied 10/31/09 by Joshua Fleer, is William Gray Brooks, "Diary, May 1, 1858."