Timeline: Leisure and Entertainment 1865-1905


Woman Seated at the Piano.

Albert Sterner (American, 1863-1946). Woman Seated at the Piano, 1895, Watercolor on paper. The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York. Gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Morris Poucher, class of 1918, 1976.80

  • 1865
  • “The Black Crook,” first American musical, opens on Broadway
  • 1868
  • First amateur track and field meet in the United States held at New York Athletic Club
  • 1869
  • First professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, formed
Base Ball Match.

Base Ball Match. "The College Regatta and Ball Match at Worchester Massachusetts, July 19, 1867", Harper’s Weekly, Aug. 1867, p.488.

  • 1874
  • First public zoo in the United States opens in Philadelphia
  • Chautauqua movement founded in Chautauqua, New York
  • Macy’s department store in New York introduces Christmas display windows
  • 1875
  • P.T. Barnum introduces the three-ring circus
  • First Kentucky Derby horse race run at Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY
  • 1876
  • Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia
  • Baseball’s National League created; first pennant won by Chicago
  • Frederick Law Olmsted’s Central Park completed, New York City
Central Park

View from Belvedere, Looking South. "Central Park," Scribner's Monthly, Sept. 1873, p.533.

  • 1878
  • First bicycle club formed in Boston
  • Anna Katherine Green publishes The Leavenworth Case, considered the first American detective novel
  • 1881
  • First major vaudeville theater opens in New York City
  • First men’s national tennis championship played at Newport, RI
  • 1883
  • First Wild West Show presented by Buffalo Bill
  • 1884
  • World’s Cotton Centennial Exposition, New Orleans
  • 1886
  • First Tournament of Roses held in Pasadena, California
  • 1887
  • First women’s national tennis championship played in Philadelphia
  • 1889
  • Safety bicycles manufactured in the United States, beginning a bicycle craze
  • 1890
  • First Army-Navy football game
  • 1891
  • Basketball invented by YMCA athletics instructors
  • 1892
  • James Corbett knocks out John L. Sullivan and wins world heavyweight boxing title
World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago

World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago. Image courtesy the Victorian Scrapbook at The Trade Card Place.

  • 1893
  • Ice hockey introduced to United States
  • World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago
  • 1894
  • Purdue University leads in creation of Western Conference (now Big Ten) in college football
  • 1895
  • Cotton States Exposition, Atlanta
  • Volleyball invented by YMCA athletic instructors
  • First United States Golf Association amateur championship and first US Open in golf held back-to-back at Newport, R.I.; first USGA Women’s amateur held at Westbury, NY
Philadelphia Exposition.

Philadelphia Exposition. Image courtesy the Victorian Scrapbook at The Trade Card Place.

  • 1896
  • “Yellow Kid” color comic appears and popularizes Sunday newspaper comics
  • Fannie Farmer, The Boston Cooking School Cook Book
  • 1897
  • First Boston Marathon
  • 1898
  • Last year for decades that any African-American professional baseball player appears in National League games
  • 1899
  • Enrico Marconi demonstrates wireless technology by broadcasting news of the America’s Cup yacht race
  • 1901
  • Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo
  • 1903
  • First World Series in baseball pits Boston Pilgrims (American League) against Pittburgh Pirates (National League); Pilgrims win, 5 games to 3
  • 1904
  • Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis; includes first Olympic Games held in the Western Hemisphere
  • George M. Cohan, Little Johnny Jones, musical show which is the source of “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Give My Regards to Broadway”
  • 1905
  • First “nickelodeon” movie theater opens in Pittsburgh
  • Second World Series in baseball pits New York Giants (National League) over Philadelphia Athletics (American League); Giants win, 4 games to 1

© 2010 Rebecca Edwards, author of New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905 by Rebecca Edwards, Oxford University Press


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New Spirits
Timelines in US History 1895-1905
Perceptions and Realities: The Victorian Age Inventions of the era Tramps and Millionaires Yellowstone Park Journals of the era White City/1893 Worlds Fair The Civil War President McKinley