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Polo Highlighted in Lecture: Newport's Gilded Age Sporting Scene

Date:    Friday, November 15, 2013

In addition to its famous oceanscapes, summer "cottages," & historic houses, Newport’s sporting traditions also influenced the way America once played – and continues to play today. Tennis, sailing, polo, & golf all became popular throughout the country in large part because they came of age in Gilded Age Newport.
Who knew? The nexus of yachting, tennis, golf and polo was Newport in the Gilded Age, and its participants were organically intertwined, as explained by Dan Keating and fellow speakers, from left: Barclay Douglas, (President, Newport Country Club); Moderator Edward Achorn (Vice President & Editorial Pages Editor of the Providence Journal); Dyer Jones (CEO, Herreshoff Marine Museum / America’s Cup Hall of Fame); and Douglas Stark, (Museum Director, International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum). Photo on screen: James Gordon Bennett; courtesy of the Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame.

The unique public lecture took place on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at the Casino Theatre at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport.  Newport played an important role in the development of an American sporting tradition during the last quarter of the twentieth century.  The lecture’s focus was on how the city was instrumental in the rise of tennis, golf, sailing and polo in America.  Most visitors to Newport may not know that tennis, sailing, polo, and golf all emerged in America during the Gilded Age of Newport. These four sports continue to play important roles on the national stage and are still intimately intertwined with Newport’s identity and community life on an annual basis.

The lecture was organized by the ITHF to coincide with the New England Museum Association (NEMA) annual conference in Newport with
more than 900 people attending.