April 23, 2020
By Timothy Young
An image taken from George Catlin’s North American Indian portfolio (1844 or later) shows “ball play” - likely a form of our modern lacrosse.
Further reading on Catlin’s ‘Indian Ball’
The Elizabeth Willis DeHuff Collection of American Indian Art contains several images of games, such as this picture made by Peter García, of: [Man, likely playing a hoop game], dated 1943.
Further reading on the DeHuff Collection
In England in the early 19th century, the game was quoits, as delineated by Thomas Rowlandson.
Further reading on the print
Further reading on the game of quoits
A hearty outdoors game of kegel (bowling) in Switzerland would always draw a crowd, as depicted by Rodolphe Töpffer, ca. 1830s.
Further reading on the game of kegel
Then mischievous Ichabod Academicus had a go at football while a Yale undergraduate in the 1840s.
Further reading on the history of football
Althea Gibson was captured at the height of her winning-streak as one of the top tennis players in the world in 1958 in a series of color images by photographer Carl Van Vechten.
Further reading about Althea Gibson
Poet and publisher Jonathan Williams captured a series of baseball shots from television in the 1980s and 1990s, creating an abstracted view of the game.
Further reading about the work of Jonathan Williams
Such as this compendium of Hand shadows to be thrown upon the wall : a series of novel and amusing figures formed by the hand by Henry Bursill, from around the 1860s.
Further reading about hand shadows
A version of Das Goldene Spiel from 1472 contains images of gentlefolk playing games, such as chess.
But be warned! This book is about the sinful nature of game-playing.
Further reading on Das Goldene Spiel
Full version available online courtesy of the Library of Congress
And let’s not overlook video games, such as these arcade machines snapped by David Plowden at the Victor Café in Victor, Poweshiek County, Iowa.
Further reading on the history of video games