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CALLING ALL
CROQUET
BOOK FREAKS
by David Drazin

CROQUET: A CHECKLIST OF SPECIALIST BOOKS AND PAHMPHLETS
Explanatory Notes and Author's Index
Part One (1853 - 1868)
Part Two (1868 - 1897)
Part Three (1897 - 1915)
Part Four (1915 - 1973)
Part Five (1973 - 1992)
Part Six (1992 - present



Like all dedicated collectors and bibliophiles, the author longs to show to the world the fruits of his work, especially in order to spot the gaps and fill them. CROQUET WORLD is glad to support David Drazin's pioneering effort to track down and identify them all. The "Checklist of Croquet Books and Pamphlets" presented here for the first time already runs to an astonishing twenty pages or so, beginning with the first appearance of croquet in England in the middle of the 19th Century and ending in the 1990's. Can you spot a gap?

This feature is targeted at book freaks of all sorts - readers, collectors, dealers, know-alls who can't resist an opportunity to expose gaps in an old hand's expertise, and anyone interested in trading unwanted materiel for ready money.

I have been smitten by the croquet book bug for some years. I collect them, I am compiling a bibliography for publication, and I trade in a small way. In pursuing these activities, I have come by lots of information I would like to share with like minds. If this looks like your scene, read on.

The croquet literature of the world

Volume One of my bibliography, which I want to have in print next year, will deal with croquet books and pamphlets - i.e., works about the game or which at least refer to it on the title page. All those I have identified to date are set out in the accompanying Checklist, culled from innumerable sources, notably including the online systems of institutional libraries throughout the world.

If you know of anything I have missed, I would dearly like to hear from you - by E-mail to: d.drazin@dial.pipex.com.

If you are skilled in netsurfing online systems and can spare a little time to expose bigger gaps in my repertoire, I would greatly value your efforts, whether or not productive. The keyword is simply 'croquet'. Though I have already searched many of the national, state, and university collections, I haven't really done much more than scratch the surface. In particular, for want of language skills, I haven't made much headway in continental Europe, Asia, or the Pacific Rim.

It is not clear why Leonard Williams chose this particular image for his stolid 1899 treatise entitled "CROQUET." Perhaps he wanted something light to enliven his own prosaic style; it is possible that, brainwashed by art nouveau, he saw it simply as a tasteful piece of art in modern idiom. Either way, it has stirred the croquet world ever since in numerous recyclings, notably by Stephen Potter in his 1947 classic, 'GAMESMANSHIP' (the art of winning games without actually cheating); and as the front cover of the Winter 1970 issue of the British CROQUET GAZETTE. Along the way, it picked up a cool nickname, 'The Rape of Roquetetta'. (Don't worry about tripping over all those 't's; the first is silent.)

Croquet books wanted and for sale

I have found collecting and the practice of bibliography to be great bedfellows. Having copies of the books I need to examine makes it easy to do so, and knowing what there is to collect helps in spotting buying opportunities. Over the years I have acquired quite a lot of surplus stock. I usually have dozens of old titles for sale, plus a few new ones which I distribute to active writers in various parts of the globe. And since there are still yawning gaps in my collection, I have a huge wants list. So I am always interested in hearing from those who have croquet books for sale or who want to add to their own collections. Either way, E-mail (to my address above) is the gateway.

What next?

I intend to update this online feature twice yearly, and to provide new angles on old croquet books of interest to CROQUET WORLD ONLINE MAGAZINE visitors. When Volume One of my bibliography (specialist books and pamphlets) is in print, I shall turn to the periodical literature and all sorts of other books - fiction as well as non-fiction - which refer to the game. Then will be the time to extend the Checklist in these directions. Meantime, any idea you may have as to how this feature might be developed as a vehicle to exchange information about croquet literature would be very welcome. Contact the editor of CROQUET WORLD ONLINE or me.

[David Drazin's CROQUET: A CHECKLIST OF SPECIALIST BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS is introduced here online in several parts, in date order of publication. Click here to access the Explanatory Notes and Author's Index.]


 
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