Select Doubleday Miscellany

Here are some Doubleday stories and accounts over the years:

Doubledays in the 1881 Census


The largest concentration of the name (53) was to be found at Nottingham St. Mary in Nottinghamshire.

The Doubleday Group in Lincolnshire

The Doubleday Group was founded by John Doubleday in the early 1970's and is still very much family owned, with the business now being led by the family's third generation. John Doubleday took over the John Deere franchise in 1982 and the Group has become the leading John Deere dealer in Lincolnshire and Norfolk.  They have grown from strength to strength - with the acquisition of Bourne Tractors in 1988 and Evergreen Tractors in 1999.  From 2011 the trading area of the Doubleday Group has expanded again and now encompasses northern  Lincolnshire.

Henry Doubleday, Naturalist

Henry and his brother Edward spent their childhood collecting natural history specimens in Epping Forest.
Before 1848, when his father died and the entire management of his business at Epping devolved upon him, Henry made many collecting expeditions.  After that time, he took on civic responsibilities and both duty and inclination kept him at home.  Between 1846 and 1873, he was said to have slept only twice away from his own house.  A brief visit to Paris in 1843 was the only occasion on which he ever left England.

The credit of having introduced "sugaring" to the notice of entomologists should probably go to Henry Doubleday. 
He was the author of the first catalogue of British butterflies and moths.  His moth collections are now held at the Natural History Museum.

Abner Doubleday and Baseball

Debate on baseball's origins had raged for decades.  To try to end the argument, Alfred Spalding - an American sporting goods entrepreneur and sports publisher - organized the Mills Commission to investigate the issue in 1905.

The Mills Commission concluded two years later that Abner Doubleday had indeed invented baseball in Cooperstown, New York in 1839; that he had coined the word "baseball," designed the diamond, indicated fielders' positions, and written the rules.  The principal source for the story was one letter from elderly Abner Graves, a five-year-old resident of Cooperstown in 1839.  Graves never mentioned a diamond, positions or the writing of rules. Graves' reliability as a witness was challenged because he spent his final days in an asylum for the criminally insane.

No written records in the decade between 1839 and 1849 have ever been found to corroborate these claims, nor could Doubleday be interviewed (he died in 1893).  Doubleday had lived in Cooperstown as a young boy, but had already left for West Point in 1838.  Mills, a lifelong friend of Doubleday, never heard him ever mention baseball.

However, the Commission found it an appealing story.  Baseball was invented in a quaint rural town without foreigners or industry, by a young man who later graduated from West Point and served heroically in the Civil War.

Doubleday Book Publishers

Doubleday's century of publishing began in 1897 when Frank Nelson Doubleday, with remarkable confidence and a back loan of five thousand dollars, founded Doubleday & McClure Company in partnership with magazine publisher Samuel McClure.  Among their first bestsellers was A Day's Work by Rudyard Kipling.  While the alliance between Doubleday and McClure lasted only three years, a long and profitable friendship grew between Doubleday and Kipling, who, using Doubleday's initials, "F.N.D.," nicknamed him "effendi," the Turkish word for "chief."

The business became known as Doubleday & Company in 1946, by which time it was the largest publisher in the United States – with annual sales of more than 30 million books.  Anchor Books, created in 1953, was the first line of distinguished trade paperback books in the industry.

Frank’s grandson Nelson became President of the company in 1978.  Two years later he bought the local baseball team, the New York Mets.  Eight years later he sold Doubleday to the German conglomerate Bertelsmann for a price reported to be around $500 million.

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