Keds Handbook of Sports 1930
Author: United States Rubber Company
Year Published: 1930
A small booklet published in 1930 by the United States Rubber Company. For a brief rundown of the history of Keds, you can check out Keds - Catalog for 1927.
From 1925 through 1930, Keds annually published a booklet called the Keds Handbook of Sports, in which they detailed the rules, regulations, requirements, strategies and various other aspects of popular sports and activities in the United States. In 1931 the title changed from Keds Handbook of Sports to Keds Handbook of Sports and Games. Prior to 1925, two separate booklets were published, called Keds Handbook for Boys and Keds Handbook for Girls.
The booklet outlines various sports and activities. The first few sports are prefaced by a biography/background of a well-known athlete that plays that sport. The sports covered are (along with athletes and/or variations provided): Baseball (Babe Ruth); Tennis (William Tilden and Helen Wills); Football (Amos Alonzo Stagg); Swimming (John Weismuller); Basketball; Tag Games (11 different varieties!); Handball; Volleyball; Squash Tennis; Horshoe Pitching/Barnyard Golf; Track; Cage Ball Games; Other Fun-Giving Games; Rainy Day Games (which included our personal favorite, the Indoor Track Meet, highlighted by such events as the paper plate throw, the high jump for a piece of candy, the bawl game for who can cry the best, and the cracker race, which awarded first place to the person who could whistle first after eating a cracker).
After the sports sections there are various segments/sections including:
- How to predict the weather, including the long-lost art of weather divination by chicken and/or cricket - "When chickens scratch in the dirt during a shower, a long rain can be anticipated...If the chirp of a cricket is slow, a storm is on the way."
- How to properly camp
- How to properly treat, feed and care for your dog, as well as what not to do and a list of several breeds
- Suggestions for how to put on a circus, a section that is accompanied by illustrations of circus 'maneuvers', the names of which have vastly different implications today than they did back in 1930 (some of which you can see below)
In the middle of the booklet there is an ad for multiple Keds shoes, including a model called the Attaboy. Finally, the booklet ends with four lists, Books Boys Like, Books Girls Like, (remarkably, there isn't a single book that appears on both lists, although both lists are actually quite excellent), Ten Commandments of a Good Sportsman and Ten Rules of Health.
Often the handbook included within it a contest for children to win a fairly significant prize (in 1932 the prize was a Wire Haired Terrier!); the contest in 1930 was outlined on the back outside cover and required the entrant to identify a misspelled word within, then, "Use the word somewhere in a Nursery Rhyme and write the rhyme on a postcard" and mail it in for review, with the best three rhymes (the contest noted that, "neatness will be taken into consideration") receiving a bicycle as a prize for Christmas.
Sneakerature's Take: Booklets like these are abound in nostalgia, rousing memories of simpler times - back when sneaker companies were more concerned with enlightening young folks about how to have fun and compete...it also raises a somewhat crazy, but nonetheless legitimate question: were kids really putting on circuses (circus's? circusi? circi?) back in the 1930's?