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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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A Shot in the Dark: 1909

A Shot in the Dark: 1909

January 1909. Billiard champion Calvin Demarest in New York, seven years before his prematurely reported death. From his 1916 obituary, headlined "Calvin Demarest Dead -- Noted Billard Player Expires in Illinois Insane Asylum": CHICAGO, Feb. 22. Calvin S. Demarest, former amateur champion billiard player and later a professional, died at the Elgin Asylum for the Insane last night. Demarest suffered a nervous breakdown last June and attacked his wife with a knife. She was saved from serious injury by Demarest's mother. The billiardist was taken for treatment to a rest cure, but failed to improve and was removed to the asylum. As it turned out, Calvin was very much alive. In 1925, though, he died before his time. View full size. George Grantham Bain Collection.

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Wealthy Kentuckian James Findley, to "Fast Eddie" Felson in The Hustler:

"I don't play pool, Mr. Felson. I play billiards."

Calvin D.

He got da crazy eyes!

Lovely picture- the light streaming in, the man in the top hat, the graphic angular shape of the lamps make it for me.

Pool Table

I have to confess to suddenly knowing less about pool than I thought . . . what kind of pool table is that? Is it wider, are there pockets we cannot see?

[No pockets in carom billiards. - Dave]


He probably fooled them into thinking he was dead the first time by using his patented eyefreak trick, as demonstrated above.

Calvin Lives!

Another news item from the day of Cal's 1916 obituary:


ELGIN, Illinois, Feb. 23, 1916. -- Dr. M.C. Hawley, assistant superintendent of the Elgin State Hospital, stated today that he was unable to explain reports that Calvin Demarest, onetime holder of the world's amateur billiard championship, had died. "Demarest is in practically the same condition as when he was committed here several months ago," said Dr. Hawley. "He is in bad mental condition and his case is of the type which deteriorates gradually, but we do not look for death for a long time, unless ho should have a sick spell or an accident."

[Calvin actually died in June 1925 although the news item on his funeral doesn't say what the circumstances were. - Dave]

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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