Turf & Rec

New book chronicles history, literature of turfgrass

December 12, 2014  By  Mike Jiggens

You’ve seen the various turfgrass books we either have on hand for immediate sale or have access to through our in-house bookstore. We frequently run a double-page spread to promote these informative volumes within the pages of our publication (although it does not appear in this issue).

Over the course of the past month, I received by mail a book sent to me by Michigan State University Press in hopes I will offer up some free publicity and promotion.

It was a book I couldn’t possibly ignore, for a couple of reasons. For starters, its principal author is James B Beard, who is one of the world’s foremost turfgrass authorities. That in itself suggests the book is important and is one likely to be of interest to the industry.

Secondly, the sheer size of the book makes it difficult to ignore. If you’re not careful, you could develop a hernia just trying to pick it up. The hardcover volume, entitled Turfgrass History and Literature, is a massive 650 pages whose dimensions would classify it as a coffee table type book.


It’s obvious that Beard and co-authors Harriet J. Beard and James C Beard spent countless months (probably years) exhaustively researching the history of turfgrass, which dates back to ancient times. The historical journey delves into the origins, migrations and diversifications of turfgrass, addresses early European and American lawns, moves into the history of sports field and golf course turf development, and looks into such other areas as early turfgrass innovations and the histories of turfgrass research, turfgrass science education, turfgrass seed production and sod production.

The historical journey, which is chockful of vintage and rare photographs, represents the first third of the total volume. The remainder of the book is a vast record of turfgrass literature, providing readers with a bibliography of books, specialty turfgrass books, scientific periodicals, turfgrass research publications, turfgrass conference proceedings, turfgrass technical and trade periodicals (among which Turf & Recreation is mentioned), supporting technical and practitioner periodicals, and post-1950 general lawn and landscape books. It would seem that no book about turfgrass written to date has been left out.


This is a reference book like no other and would seemingly be a must-have for anyone passionate about the turfgrass industry. Readers will have the opportunity to not only learn how lawns, sports field surfaces and golf course turf came into being, but will have at their fingertips the resources for which they can find other publications that can provide additional information. Plus, you’ll be able to build up your biceps while doing so.

The book can be referenced at http://www.msupress.org/books or at http://www.amazon.ca .

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