London: Heathfield Park Lawn Tennis Club, 1888-1895.
Hardcover. Folio ledger book. Approximately 172 pages, with many additional printed insertions. Contemporary quarter burgundy roan over cloth, with printed or stamped label. The binding is worn and displays modest dampstaining but is sound and good, interior is near fine. A bound manuscript and print account of the formation and history of an early London tennis club. The ledger contains minutes, details of meetings, elections and rule making, reports in the ledger signed by various officers of the club, and brackets for tournaments (including ladies' singles, ladies' consolation, and mixed-doubles tournaments). There are over 30 excellent scrap elements neatly tipped into the ledger at the appropriate places: mostly printed ephemera including nicely printed compilations of rules, lists of officers, a large folded broadside of club by-laws, invitations to fancy dress balls, financial reports, autographed letters from correspondents, accounts, and dance cards.
The Heathfield Park Lawn Tennis Club was formed in 1888 by Emil Ernst, William Knight, Major R.P.B. Rodick, Dr. Edward E. Barret, and William Whitaker, and based at Willesden Green in North West London. These records date from the formation of the club until 1895. By 1892, several women were elected both into membership and as officers of the club. While tennis in its many iterations has existed since the Middle Ages or earlier, the modern version was established in 1872. The first lawn tennis club was organized at Leamington Spa in 1874, and the All England Lawn Tennis Club established the Wimbledon Championships in 1877 in order to raise funds. This journal and scrapbook represents a particularly nice overview of the organization of a fashionable tennis club and its administration in the earlier days of organized competitive tennis, little more than a decade after the modern game was established.