picture on front cover/dust jacket
Title Lawn Bowls
Editor Henry Chadwick
Publisher American Sports Publishing Co, New York, USA
First published 1895
ISBN Pre-ISBN system
Edition reviewed 1st (reprinted)
Hardback/softback Softback
List price $1.20
Cover size (cm)
(height x width)
21.0 x 14.6
Number of pages 30 (excluding eight pages of advertisements)
Number of pages with Coloured photos Black & white photos Line drawings
  None None One
Synopsis This title is one of an increasing number of 'Public Domain' books now being printed across a multitude of genres. Public Domain books are those that are out of copyright and hence allow printing to be done from the original publication - often with an attractive selling price. Like most bowls books of this age, an original copy - assuming one became available - would almost certainly be prohibitively expensive, and so the opportunity to purchase this one for a few pounds was irresistible.

The book is just one in a series of over 300 in 'Spalding's Athletic Library'. Mr A G Spalding was one of the first in America to publish a handbook devoted to athletic sports (base ball) and followed it up at intervals with other titles on sports prominent in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Although the title on the cover is Lawn Bowls, it is significantly expanded on the title page to read as follows: The Game of Lawn Bowls as played under the code of rules of the Scottish Bowling Association, Glasgow, Scotland, together with a brief history of the game, as introduced in America by President Schepflin, of the Lawn Bowls Club of Dunellen, N.J., added to which are the technical terms used in the game; as also special instructions for novices, with general hints to players, etc.'

The main body of the book is divided into the following chapters:

  • Introduction
  •   This is an account of how the game of bowls was developing in the USA from which we learn that while public greens in parks had been available for some years, the first club, Dunellen Bowling Green Club, New Jersey, wasn't formed until 1879.
  • Playing the Game
  •   Here, there are a number of intriguing statements, for example, '. . . when there are several on a side the usual plan is to bowl from opposite ends of the green, the jack being placed in the middle.'
  • The Field of Play
  •   Of interest in this section is this snippet of information: 'Previous to this meeting [The Scottish Bowling Association Meeting on April 24, 1893, at Glasgow] it was optional with clubs to use round or bias balls. But the former were ruled out of play at the meeting in question, and none others can be used by the Association clubs.'

Overall, a small book of greatest interest to the bowls historian, but well worth a read just for the fascination of comparing the game then and now.