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John Shippen at Shady Rest Golf and Country Club, 1925

John Shippen finished second at the United Golfers Association tournament in 1925 at Shady Rest. The University of South Carolina’s Libraries holds the only known silent film footage of America’s first golf professional.

In 1925, John Shippen participated in the all African American United Golfers Association tournament, at Shady Rest Golf and Country Club. He took second place. Two New York-based cameramen from the silent newsreel, Fox News, covered the event. The University of South Carolina’s Libraries Moving Image Research Collections holds that footage, which is part of its Fox Movie-the-tone News Collection. It is the only known example in the world of film capturing Shippen, first American-born professional golfer.

The 10-minute film is a compilation of outtakes shot at the tournament, which took place at Shady Rest Golf and Country Club in New Jersey, the first African-American country club in the U.S. In addition to players on the course, the compilation includes footage of the awards ceremony, which shows Shippen, second from the left, receiving a trophy for his second place finish.

Editor’s Note: Video and information courtesy of The University of South Carolina’s Libraries Moving Image Research Collections.

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