The Library of Congress > Wise Guide > September 2010 > The All-Absorbing Fad
The All-Absorbing Fad

“Everybody as is Anybody Plays Ping-Pong” reads the headline for the March 2, 1902 issue of The Houston Daily Post.

Boy playing ping-pong in one of the recreation rooms of the community center in the Red Hook housing development, Brooklyn, N.Y. 1942. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USW3-004860-D (b&w film neg.); Call No.: LC-USW3- 004860-D [P&P] Titanic to be launched. 1911. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-34781 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: LOT 6668 [item] [P&P]

“The only reason that ping-pong is not mentioned in Shakespeare is probably owing to the fact that the game was not invented in Shakespeare’s time. Poor Shakespeare,” the article goes on to say – adding those who are champions of the game are “it” with all of high society at their beck and call.

The game originated as a sport in Britain during the 1800s, where it was played among the upper-class as an after-dinner entertainment activity, commonly known then as "wiff-waff.” In 1901, the game spread from England to the United States, becoming a “craze” for the next two years.

Ping-Pong is just one of the featured Topics in Chronicling America. Presented are several newspaper articles on the game along with suggested search terms to use in the Chronicling America database. Other interesting subjects include Nikola Tesla, Building of the Titanic and the 1906 train wreck in Washington, D.C.

Chronicling America provides free access to more than 2.3 million historic American newspaper pages. To find out what's new, sign up for Chronicling America’s RSS Feed or email update, which highlights interesting content on the site and notifies when new newspapers and topics are added.