New York: Marshall Stillman Association, n.d., but ca. 1920s.
Softcover. Good. Single sheet, 9 x 20 inches + additional flap for folding and mailing, printed on both sides with text and halftone illustrations of boxing and self-defense techniques. Hand-addressed, soiling and creasing at one edge, slit into which the flap would have been inserted prior to mailing (as issued); very good. A "10-day free trial" prospectus for a mail order course in the Marshall Stillman method of boxing, jiu-jitsu, and other forms of self-defense. Don't believe boxing can be taught by mail? Read the endorsements here and give it a try: "Practice the lessons faithfully for ten days, and then if you do not feel that you can learn boxing and self-defense by this original method, return the course to us. Should you decide to keep the course, send us $5 in complete payment. That's fair enough, isn't it? You can't lose." Stillman's history is noteworthy in several respects: Millionaires Alpheu Geer and Hiram Mallinson developed the Marshall Stillman method (named for two of Geer's grandparents) in the early 1900s as a prison reform effort; they saw physical activity and sport as a positive influence in combatting recidivism. In 1919, they brought in the obstreperous Lou Ingber to manage the gymnasium; shortly thereafter another nearby gym lost a large portion of its Jewish membership due to anti-semitic policies, and those boxers found a welcoming home at the Marshall Stillman Athletic Club. "Stillman's Gym" rapidly became one of the best-known boxing gyms in the country, with Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, and Rocky Graziano among its alumni, and Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Buddy Hackett, and Tony Bennett frequently in attendance as spectators. It remained a household name until 1959, when Ingber (an inveterate innovator and self-promoter who had long-since purchased the gym outright and legally changed his surname to "Stillman") sold up and retired--a decision he regretted, later telling a reporter that it was "the worst thing he had ever done, as it left him with nobody to talk to, and nobody to abuse."