Daughters of the Lost Century

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A Collection of Rare Articles & Illustrations Originally Published Over 100 Years Ago

This 800-page action-packed pictorial anthology of women’s sports features more than 100 rare articles and 1,000 lively illustrations originally published between 1849 and 1909, an overlooked era of American women’s sports history.

Daughters of the Lost Century provides valuable insight about the origins and development of American women’s sports during the Victorian era and the social ramifications of the athletic New Woman as reported by the media at the time.

Click to view the Introduction and Table of Contents and Index.

The subject is enlivened by the vibrant energy of the women athletes in the illustrations, the sheer vastness of the collection, and the surprising variety of sports engaged in during an epoch better known for hoop skirts than for shooting hoops.

Such overwhelming evidence of robust athleticism shatters our modern genteel stereotype of women of the 19th century. Primary sources include Harper’s Weekly, Leslie’s Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Outing, Munsey’s Magazine, Woman’s Physical Development, The Illustrated London News, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The San Francisco Call, and dozens of other periodicals. Many of the articles were written by women.

This entertaining and educational volume of historical treasures is a must for every library, an essential resource for women’s studies, and an ideal gift book for athletes, students, and art lovers. These contemporary published accounts reveal a passion for play and a desire for physical fitness common to women of today.

The brief initial bloom of women’s sports at the end of the 19th century, and the “unladylike” competitive zeal of the athletes as reported in sensationalized press accounts, prompted a social backlash that led to restricting female participation in sports for generations, until the passage of Title IX in 1972.

A common thread in many articles from the earliest fitness magazines is the role of diet, exercise and sports in relation to physical beauty and the concept of femininity, a twining still evident in today’s most popular women’s fitness publications.

The volume includes significant sections on the first flourishing of women’s college basketball, the barnstorming baseball bloomer girls, the bicycle revolution, physical training, swimming, gymnastics, and two foundational books: Catharine Beecher’s 1856 classic Calisthenic Exercises, for Schools, Families, and Health Establishments, and Lucille Hill’s groundbreaking 1903 work, Athletics and Out-door Sports for Women.

Among the many sports covered in this volume are bowling, volleyball, softball, track & field, ice skating, roller skating, skiing, ice hockey, football, fencing, archery, billiards, rowing, golf, tennis, dancing, and equestrian sports. This volume reveals and preserves the proud forgotten heritage of American women’s sports.

Click to view the Introduction and Table of Contents and Index.

Daughters of the Lost Century is available at Amazon.