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Despite its infancy, the game of basketball, invented by James Naismith while working at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA in 1891, was starting to gain traction. By 1892, basketball had become so popular, especially in the Springfield area that a movement was made to call the game “Naismith Ball”, but James Naismith was not for that idea. By 1893, as a result of the ever-increasing popularity, the YMCA introduced basketball internationally.

Offered here is a letter written to James Naismith from the Brooklyn, New York YMCA. This letter is dated April 23rd, 1892. “BROOKLYN YOUNG MEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION” is printed on the top center with the name of “Fred’k B. Schenck President”, “John J. Vail Treasurer” and “Edwin F See, General Secretary” printed on the top left and “Robert A. McFadden, Secretary in Charge, Central Building, 502 Fulton Street” on the top right.

                The letter reads: Mr. Jas. Naismith, Editor Physical Education,

My dear Naismith, - Enclosed find article on topic I wrote you about. I trust you will find it of some help to those Associations that are contemplating Athletic Grounds. Its statements of what may be done apply to small places as well as large.

                I introduced Basket Ball here this week and the fellows were more enthusiastic over it than you can imagine. We expect to play the N.Y. Assoc. at the opening of their grounds early next month. We are going to arrange a series of matches with our own branches and with the N.Y. branches also if possible. Men who played Foot ball think it fine.

                Accept my thanks for “doing up” Cuthbertson,

                Yours sincerely,

                George W. Ehler

This is a tremendous letter detailing the beginnings of early basketball in the late 19th century. New York City would become a staple for producing legendary basketball talent, including the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, Bob Cousy, Bernard King, Connie Hawkins and several others. The letter is in overall good condition with edge wear and tear marks on the centers of each side. The paper displays toning due to age and some of the type is affected by the missing pieces on the sides.

Please note that this lot has a 25% Buyer’s Premium (28% if payment is made using a credit card and/or is not paid within 10 days of invoice). Goldin Auctions will be donating 5% of the winning bid price to The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Historic AND important 1892 Brooklyn YMCA Letter Sent to Basketball Founder James Naismith
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