[PRE-REVOLUTIONARY ARCHIVE ON CROQUET]
1. [Croquet. Notebook]. [1870s]. 186 pp. 21x17 cm. Blue cloth with gilt lettering (‘Croquet’) on the front cover. Handwritten in black and colored pencils on the graph paper. Author’s occasional crossings. The notebook consists of paragraphs describing different aspects of croquet: general rules, manual how to set up hoops and play croquet, elements and phases of the game, terms (for example, ‘croquet stroke’ is called just ‘croquet’), points, end of the game, variations, etc. The most interesting part is description of the strikes from scientific point of view. Possible situations are considered as mathematical or geometrical exercises. For example, author derived formulas for oblique croquet strokes. Moreover, on p. 128 author stated that he experimented based on his calculations, and on p. 129 he drew a chart comparing theoretical figures with those he gathered experimentally. Almost every paragraph is provided with schemes depicting disposition of hoops, trajectories of balls movements and variations of their dispositions, etc. Several tables are very thoroughly put together, for example, on p. 126 presented a table of changing the magnitude and direction of the velocity depending on direction of strikes for balls of different resiliency. On p. 161 can be found a graph based on that table to make author’s calculations visual. Part of the text and drawings in the notebook are dedicated to billiard (Russian pyramid) which author called ‘table croquet’. On p. 70 author made a scheme of a tool for painting balls (and dated it June 12th 1878).
2. [Croquet Pyramid Game. Notebook]. 33 pp. 14x9 cm. Black leather covers. Handwritten in ink on the graph paper with colored drawings. This is the manual to, as written on the first page, croquet pyramid game - an imitation of billiard game. The main goal is to hit as many balls through hoops as possible. Notebook consists of rules, color drawings explaining how to place hoops and balls, how to build pyramids out of 15, 9, 8, 7, 10 et al. balls.
3. [Pencil drawing of the croquet court]. 21x28,5 cm. Paper, pencil.
4. [Manual to playing croquet]. . [108 pp., 8 ill.] 35x24 cm; 21x13,5 cm. Handwritten pages. Lined paper, ink. Colored drawings. The manual is translated from English «Croquet Tactics». It was originally written by Walter Jones-Whitmore (London, 1868). It was never officially translated and published in Russia. In 1860s croquet came to Russia and instantly it became very popular. This amateur translation is an evidence to that as there was no other source of information how to play it right.
5. [Folder of the rules to playing croquet]. [138 pp.] 35x24 cm. Handwritten pages. Graph paper, pencil, pen. Colored drawings. It starts with special instructions for players, for example, «You shouldn’t be apathetic when you hit even if it seems easy. Lack of the attention to easy hits can cause a loss of the game», or «Don’t loose your temper, otherwise you probably will loose». Instructions are followed by terminology (not finished) and schemes depicting various game situations. All text is followed with English words and their translations on the right side of pages. Among the usual vocabulary specialcroquet terms can be found. This is possibly all or the most part of amateur translation from English of «The Complete Croquet Player» by James Dunbar Heath (1873).
All items in a very good condition.
At first croquet in Russia was an entertainment only for aristocrates and became indispensable for posh lifestyle, especially because noble ladies were able to play it. They started to improve homesteads with croquet fields. Elite educational institutions included the sport in their programmes. Russian newspapers were proclaiming there was no place where swell society gathered without croquet courts. A lot of Russian celebrities played croquet: Anna Pavlova, Fyodor Chaliapin, Mendeleev, Mayakovsky, Lenin, Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy and many others. In Yasnaya Polyana everyone in Tolstoy’s family was enthusiastic about participating in the game: it usually started after lunch and continued even after dark with help of candles.