|Pedestrianism and boxing, sporting pastimes of the 1800s. From Pierce Eagan, Sporting Anecdotes (London: Sherwood, Nealy & Jones, 1820).|
Readers, it has happened. Somebody finally wrote a book about pedestrianism, that strangest of 19th-century sports, popular in England and the United States. Check out Matthew Algeo's history of Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America's Favorite Sport. Or listen to an interview with Algeo on NPR. Sounds like a fun read -- and the perfect addition to a future course of leisure and sport in America. Most people are familiar with the nineteenth-century origins of baseball, which became a national sport after the Civil War. But how many of us would include pedestrianism in a catalog late-19th-century pastimes?
* Spirit of the Times, 23 September 1843 and 18 June 1853.