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    [Hindenburg]. James Naismith Autograph Letter Signed "Jim." Two pages, 8.5" x 10.75", on Hotel Weisses Haus letterhead, Berlin, August 5, 1936, to his wife during the 1936 Olympic Games in Germany. Naismith was in Germany to witness the first time that basketball, the game that he invented, was played as an official event at the Olympics (as opposed to the demonstration of the sport he observed at the 1904 St. Louis Games). "I am having a good time here. Yesterday I walked the streets, seeing the people. I wanted some tickets for the games and went out to the place where they are bargaining for them...I had to get some split up so that I could attend them, for there are about 15 different sports going on at the same time...Last evening I spent in my room resting for the next few days will be strenuous. On the 7th we begin basketball & it will come very afternoon until the 14th."

    Of the transmittal of the letter home, he mentions its prospective mode of transportation: the LZ 129 Hindenburg. "I am sending this one by the Hindenburg so that the boys will have some of the stamps and I will enclose a couple of sets for Don & Les. I may bring some more if I can get them." The stamps bear the likeness of Paul von Hindenburg, Prussian field marshal, second president of Germany, and namesake of the famous dirigible. The original envelope accompanies this fine letter, with postage stamps affixed, and "MIT HINDENBURG" scrawled across in red. Smoothed folds, else fine.

    James Naismith (1861-1939) was the University of Kansas' assistant basketball coach and, later, athletic director from 1898 until his death in 1939. With only the slightest hint of irony, the inventor of the game is the only losing basketball coach in Jayhawks' history with a record of 55-60.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
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