Sports & Leisure
The nation's passion for sports is obvious every day—at NASCAR races, kiddie soccer matches, and countless other contests. From a handball used by Abraham Lincoln to Chris Evert's tennis racket to a baseball signed by Jackie Robinson, the roughly 6.000 objects in the Museum's sports collections bear witness to the vital place of sports in the nation's history. Paper sports objects in the collections, such as souvenir programs and baseball cards, number in the hundreds of thousands.
Leisure collections encompass a different range of objects, including camping vehicles and gear, video games, playing cards, sportswear, exercise equipment, and Currier and Ives prints of fishing, hunting, and horseracing. Some 4,000 toys dating from the colonial period to the present are a special strength of the collections.
"Sports & Leisure - Overview" showing 1 items.
- The Cate family of Lakeport, New Hampshire purchased this trailer in 1936 to serve as their vacation home. Cars and highways had created vast new recreational opportunities, and during the Depression many families who were financially stable still enjoyed driving to remote scenic areas. The Cates, like other trailer owners, thought of touring as an extension of home life, and they could afford the security, comfort, and intimacy of a manufactured cottage on wheels.
- Eben Cate was a rural mail carrier on a route through several villages near Lake Winnipesaukee. He earned two weeks of vacation time per year. In 1936 he saw this trailer in a showroom in Laconia, a few miles from his home, and purchased it for pleasure trips. Eben and Vernie and their children, Rudolph and Virginia, made one trip to Florida in their new trailer in 1937, staying one night in many different locations. Every summer during the 1940s, they spent a week at Decatur Motor Camp at York Beach on the southern coast of Maine. They kept house in the trailer, went for walks, and swam in the Atlantic Ocean. Vernie did the housekeeping — not much of a vacation for her, but a change of scenery nonetheless. The Cates also visited Vernie's relatives in East Corinth, Vermont and parked the trailer "out near the barn" with an electrical hookup. The wooden trailer came equipped with a bedroom, sofa beds, table, kitchen, closets, and cupboards.
- House trailers were so appealing that thousands of itinerant people lived in them full-time in the 1930s. But early residential trailer camps had poor sanitary conditions and no landscaping. Some observers believed that traditional communities were threatened by the existence of these ad hoc, transient communities. Trailers created contradictory feelings of pride and disapproval —a far cry from the euphoric autocamping outings of the 1920s.
- Date made
- Cate, Eben
- Cate, Vernie
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- accession number
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center