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Playing Tennis in 1885

D. W. Granbery & Co., New York, NY.  Lawn Tennis Catalogue and Directions for Playing, 1885, page 8, Shepard's Patent Tennis Case, open view.

Summer might be over. There might not be many more warm days left. But how about looking through this D. W. Granbery & Co. catalog, Lawn Tennis Catalogue and Directions for Playing? The images of tennis equipment might make you think of warmer days …

Shepard's Patent Tennis Case looks like it was a great way for tennis players in 1885 to transport their tennis equipment. Advertised as, "one of the most useful and necessary articles ever manufactured for Tennis players," it was made of leather and large enough to hold a tennis outfit, tennis balls, and as many as four tennis rackets, but it was also lightweight. The case included a stationary racket press.  Shepard's Patent Tennis Case was priced at $9.

D. W. Granbery & Co. also sold other tennis equipment—rackets, balls, nets, poles, presses, and shoes. The company sold both low and high top tennis shoes.  A pair of alligator trimmed low tennis shoes cost $5 while all alligator low tennis shoes cost $6. High top tennis shoes were priced at $5.50.

As suggested by its title, the catalog includes directions for how to play tennis. The instructions are for two player games and three or four player games. A score card along with diagrams and dimensions of the tennis courts are also included.

Lawn Tennis Catalogue and Directions for Playing, an 1885 trade catalog by D. W. Granbery & Co., is located in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library. Take a look at the Galaxy of Images to find more images from this catalog and others in the Trade Literature Collection.—Alexia MacClain


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