Ellwood McCloskey, the Blind Pugilist and his pupil James McCarty, Starting an Exhibition of Boxing [wrapper title].

[Philadelphia? n. p., ca. late 1920s?]. A later contemporary edition. 16mo, original pictorial buff wrappers, 32 pages. Illus. with halftones from photos of McCloskey sparring with his pupil. Some light dust-soiling; a very good copy. Item #19177

"Every boy has a hobby, and my hobby was fighting." An entertaining promotional memoir, peddled to raise money for a blind retired boxer turned Philadelphia cigar store owner (and sometime dog trainer), Ellwood Stanislaus McCloskey (1872-1927), known as "the Old War Horse of the Prize Ring." McCloskey includes vivid anecdotes of his days in the ring, his training regimen (maintained despite his retirement after going blind in 1902), and his professional record: "I never 'jobbed' or quit; nor was I ever knocked out. I also defy anyone to refute this latter statement. I simply quit my profession because of losing my eyesight, as at present I am totally blind. In addition, let me say that I did not have to quit because I was a 'dead one' or a 'has been.'" In addition to his career in the ring, McCloskey played of a role in the history of American art; he appears as a subject in a painting done by Philadelphia fight fan Thomas Eakins, whose Between Rounds shows McCloskey working as a corner man for local featherweight Billy Smith at a fight in 1898; McCloskey also rounded up other boxers to pose for Eakins, who had a boxing ring installed in his studio. With a notice on the inside front wrapper, "This book written in 1915. No Revisions or Additions made since, with exception of back cover." (Comparison to an earlier edition reveals that the pamphlet was indeed reset.) With an advertisement from McCloskey on the inside rear wrapper thanking his wife and urging all who pity McCloskey to patronize the cigar store she operates for the family; he alludes to his mother having been dead some ten years, placing this sometime later than 1925 but presumably before his death in March, 1927. The rear outer wrapper notes, "These pictures were taken February 1st, 1916," and noting "The Blind Pugilist and his little pupil give 'Boxing Exhibitions' throughout the country." OCLC (5/19) notes two locations (Chicago History Museum & Stanford) under the wrapper title and dated 1916, two locations (Harvard Medical School & Notre Dame) under the caption title "Ellwood Stanislaus McCloskey" and dated 1917, and a [1925?] edition at Texas A&M. Without direct examination of these copies and the state of their wrappers and text, this cataloguer is unwilling to hazard a guess as to the priority and edition of this copy other than the certainty that it is not the first. Light embossed library stamp to the upper wrapper but not other evident signs of library accession.

Price: $250.00

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