The Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes
The Badminton Library, short for The Badminton Library of Sports and Pastimes, was published between 1885 and 1920. It is a series of books covering all major sports and pastimes of the era. It was founded by Henry Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort (1824–1899) because, "there is no modern encyclopaedia to which the inexperienced man, who seeks guidance in the practice of various British sports and pastimes, can turn for information".
The Duke was the overseeing editor. He was assisted by Alfred E. T. Watson. The authors chosen for the books were authorities in their fields.
The Badminton Library was originally published in twenty-eight volumes between 1885 and 1896.
Later were added:
- Rowing & Punting (1898), superseding Boating (1888).
- New volumes for Athletics (1898) and Football (1899) supplementing the original Athletics and Football (1887).
- Motors and Motor-Driving was added in 1902 as a new subject
- Lastly, a new edition of Cricket was published in 1920.
The Badminton Library was published in three different formats:
- Standard trade edition: octavo, bound in brown illustrated cloth.
- Deluxe edition: octavo, bound in half blue morocco, gilt titles to the spines and bright orange boards with a gilt coat of arms to the upper board, top page edges gilt.
- The large paper deluxe edition: large octavo or quarto, a limited edition of only two hundred and fifty copies, also bound in half blue morocco and much the same in appearance as the deluxe edition.
The books were published in London by Longmans, Green & Co.
The name 'Badminton Library' was derived from the Duke of Beaufort's family house, Badminton House in Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom. In the second half of the 19th century, the sport now known as badminton was gaining popularity. It was also played at Badminton House and referred to as "The Game of Badminton," and the game's official name became Badminton.
There is no volume in the series on the sport of Badminton in the Badminton Library.