Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Merion Cricket Club was established in 1865 outside of Philadelphia, PA as a social and athletic club. Its first location was in Wynnewood, a western suburb of Philadelphia. The club played its first cricket match in 1866 and in later years, members of the Merion XI (cricket team) would travel across the Atlantic Ocean to play against some of the cricket clubs in England. Cricket would be popular at Merion until the 1920s, after which it faded, but experience a resurgence in the 1970s.
Although the club's name was Merion Cricket Club, various other athletic activities were offered to members. By 1870, the club had outgrown its Wynnewood location and moved to a larger site in Ardmore, PA in 1873. This site was expanded later on to add lawn tennis courts. In 1892 the club moved to is current location in Haverford, PA. The first Pennsylvania State Lawn Tennis Championship was held at Merion Cricket Club in 1894 and it continued to host the tournament for the next eight decades.
Golf at Merion Cricket Club started in 1896 on a nine-hole course, but it soon became so popular that a full-size (18-hole) course was built. The East Course opened in 1912 and two years later a second course was opened (West Course). Merion hosted the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship in 1930, the year Bobby Jones completed the Grand Slam. Jones is the only person to have completed the (pre-Masters) Grand Slam in the same calendar year. In 1941, Merion Cricket Club made the decision to formally separate from Merion Golf Club and the two organizations have been separate entities since.
Initially membership at the Merion Cricket Club was limited to men, but family memberships soon followed as the club increased its number of social activities. Women were also welcomed as members and took part in tennis matches beginning in 1879. Women would also go on to play field hockey and golf at Merion.
Merion is still in operation as of 2017 and maintains tennis and squash courts, a bowling alley, dining facilities, and a ballroom. There are also a number of social activities and cricket events each year. The Merion C. C. Football Club has been in operation since 1896 and is part of the oldest amateur men's soccer league in the United States.
The Merion Cricket Club (Haverford, Pa.) papers date from 1865 to 1923 and consist of ten scrapbooks containing letters, announcements, photographs, menus, ephemera, clippings, and other items documenting the activities of the Merion Cricket Club. There is also one box of additional (loose) printed matter relating to Merion. The scrapbooks were compiled by Edward Stalker Sayres (1850-1923) and his wife. Sayres was a founding member of the Merion Cricket Club and served as its secretary for over thirty years.
The scrapbooks are in chronological order and contain a large amount of information about the Merion Cricket Club and its activities. Most items in the scrapbooks are printed matter and ephemera, but there are some manuscript materials, including letters. One letter documents when the club invited women to take part in the lawn tennis activities the club would soon begin offering in 1879. In addition to women's tennis, women's golf and field hockey at the club are documented in later scrapbooks. The scrapbooks also contain informative newspaper clippings such as one from July 15, 1905 stating that the Merion Cricket Club's Board of Governors rejected the use of the club's name for a baseball team consisting of club members. According to the article, the board feared that baseball would become too popular among members and did not want the sport encourage at Merion. Because of the rich documentation in the scrapbook, this collection could a convenient resource of interest to researchers studying the history of Merion Cricket Club, women's activities at Merion Cricket Club, or the evolution of upper-class social and athletic clubs.
The printed matter in box 1 consists of invitations and announcements to social and athletic events at the club, membership forms and cards, programs, brochures, contribution forms, and other printed materials from the Merion Cricket Club.
Gift of the estate of Edward S. Sayres.; 1929 acquired
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu.
- Finding Aid Date
- ; 2017.
- This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.