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Prefatory Note

Scout Books

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By Dan Beard

Although the present book is addressed to the same class of readers, it is neither a substitute for nor a supplement to  The American Boy's Handy Book, from which it will be found to differ in scope and character.   The .American Boy's Book of Sport  is not intended as an encyclopedia of games. The purpose of the book is to deal only with subjects whose novelty or practical character meets the especial need of the up-to-date American boy who demands explicit and intelligent explanations of what is of use to him. 

The many years spent as a member of the Board of Education in Flushing, Long Island, and as a teacher of art in New York, have impressed upon the author the importance of early training for children in the use of their. hands. It is with the purpose of stimulating this sort of schooling that the author appeals to parents and boys to encourage the home production of kites, boats, and sleds, etc. ; for the ingenuity and self-reliance thus developed are valuable qualities in a boy or man. 

Moreover, a lack of the proper sort of play unfits a boy for the battle of life, and there is scarcely room to doubt that the most successful men of today in business, statesmanship, art, and science are those willing to undergo and capable of enduring the most severe and continued application; and as this power is dependent upon a robust physique and a strong, well-balanced mind, there is no doubt that well-directed, boyish sport is the best school for the attainment of such results. 

While this work represents many curbstone interviews with boys, and years of observation and study of the subjects that have never lost for the writer the interest they held for him in his boyhood, it also includes the results of many carefully conducted personal interviews with experts in the various, sports described and investigations of obscure legends, written and unwritten, connected with games whose origin is older than history, itself. 

Golf and football are at the present time, engrossing so much of the attention of our American boys that their claims have been found too important to be disregarded, while in the necessary exclusion of material in making a volume of suitable and convenient size, base-ball, tennis, and cricket, possessing an extended literature of their own, have not been described. 

In many cases subjects heretofore thought worthy of little or no attention on the part of authors who write for boys, are here treated of at length. It would not be difficult, for instance, to fill a library with good books on fishing; yet in the numerous boys' books consulted there appeared to be nothing modern, American, and practical, or that answered the numerous inquiries the author has received from his juvenile friends on the subject of still fishing; and this led him to believe that a popular demand for enlightenment on this matter necessitated a chapter on bait. 

The novel and interesting developments in kite-making and kite-flying that have taken place in the last few years merit, and have obtained, extended description. 

The great popularity of  The American Boy's Handy Book," and the favor with which its successive editions have been received, encourage its author to hope that "The American Boy's Book of Sport" will be welcomed by all the readers of the first book and will make many new friends. 

October 15, 1896. 







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.