AMERICAN Local Rules for golf considered. - Frank H. LAWSON – MISQUAMICUT Golf Club, Rhode Island. - Robert Place FORGAN.
The Golfer's Handbook, including History of the Game; Special Uses of the Different Clubs; Hints to Beginners; History of Golf Balls; The Feats of Champion Golfers; Golfiana; New Rules for the Game. London, Edinburgh & St. Andrews: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, John Menzies & Co., R. Forgan & Son, J. & G. Innes, [c.1893]. Octavo (7 1/8 x 4 ¾ins; 181 x 121mm). Collation: [A]2; B-F8, “F2”4 + 2 leaves of ads. Pp.[i-]iv; [1-]64, 64A, 64B, 64C, 64D, 64E, 64F, 64G [1p. blank] + 2 leaves printed recto only with ads. Half-tone frontispiece and one plate, 11 illustrations or decorations (one full-page), occasional decorative initials, contemporary penciled annotations and amendments to the “Rules for the Game of Golf” and “New Rules for the Game’. (Some light marginal damage, light old waterstaining, some slight waviness). Original pictorial tan cloth, upper cover and spine stamped in black, with "Forgan's Special Edition" stamped at the head of the front cover (worn, stitching broken, spine defective, waterstaining and some soiling). Provenance: Frank H. Lawson (crossed through inscription “F.H. Lawson / Ocean House”, a founder member of); Misquamicut Golf Club (Watch Hill, R.I, inscription on front pastedown “Misquamicut/ Club/ Watch Hill”).
A noble relic, standing as mute testimony to the foundation of one the oldest and most beautiful Golf Clubs in the United States: from the library of one of the founders of the club, apparently donated by him to the Club and used as an aide memoire when the local Club Rules of the Game were being considered. The Club has suffered damage from various hurricanes over the years: it is interesting to speculate that the obvious signs of old water damage to this book may have been as a result of one of these events – like the club, this book is a proud tenacious survivor.
The original owner, Frank H. Lawson is one of the 15 “founding fathers” who agreed to band together to “form a corporation under the name of The Misquamicut Golf Club”. The Club was founded in July 1895, but, interestingly, the agreement does not seem to have been registered with the State until 5th February 1896.
Lawson was staying at the famous Ocean House resort hotel when he acquired this work, but later lived in a house on Watch Hill. The National Register of Historic Places nomination form (p.15) for Watch Hill Historic District records that ‘Cloverly’, 101 Misquamicut Rd., built in 1900, was ‘later occupied by Frank Lawson’.
“Forgan's Special Edition" seems to be an issue or issues published in-between the fifth and sixth editions. The fourth and fifth editions were enlarged to include a chapter on the history of golf ball making which is present here. Also of note, the last ‘Open’ result on page 42 is 1893. There is at least one other issue of “Forgan’s Special Edition” (where the last Open result is for 1892). See Donovan & Murdoch 1250; Murdoch 260.