Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from American National Biography. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 25 February 2021

Naismith, Jameslocked

(06 November 1861–28 November 1939)
  • William J. Baker


Naismith, James (06 November 1861–28 November 1939), inventor of basketball, was born in Almonte, Ontario, the son of John Naismith, a lumberman and carpenter, and Margaret Young. In 1870 both of Naismith’s parents died in a typhoid epidemic, leaving him to be raised by a religiously strict grandmother and then by a bachelor uncle. His schooling was interrupted by five years’ work in a logging camp, but in 1883 he entered McGill University, intending to study for the ministry. After receiving his A.B. in 1887, he studied theology for three years at a Presbyterian seminary affiliated with McGill; during his last year he directed undergraduate gymnastics classes. Having excelled athletically in school, he decided that rather than become a clergyman he could do good more effectively by combining sport and religion in the teaching and promotion of physical education. In 1890 he enrolled in a two-year course for Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) physical directors at a new training college in Springfield, Massachusetts....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription