History of U.S. Table Tennis - Volume I: 1928-1939 by Tim Boggan Chapter XI: 1935/36: Organizational Structure of USTTA. 1935: Enforcement of "Bat Rule." 1935/36 USTTA Punitive Measures Against "Chiselers" Prompting Borak/Zeisberg War of Words. Zeisberg’s Background.

From the Oct., 1935 issue of Topics it was clear that the USTTA was becoming more and more organized. Although in the normal course of attrition it would lose some of its 2300 members (1), it would, with a concerted effort, push states into a competition with one another to enroll a good many new members. Indeed, though USTTA President Zeisberg had given up his Topics Editorship to Sidney Biddell, he had retained his role as the publication's cartoonist and would soon be making a "horse race" out of the Membership Drive--though, as in many a Derby, there were only a few states that really had a chance to win. Still, with its monthly listing of state leaders rhetorically saddled as "jockeys," the contest was effective, and within a year, with Pennsylvania President Urban R. Lamay leading the way, the Association would have over 3,000 members (TTT, Oct., 1936, 9). A USTTA growth was on N.Y.C. Metro TTA President Charles Schneider’s mind when, at the mid-Dec., 1935 Mid Atlantic State Championships, he invited playing or non-playing fans of the game to join the Association. We had "about 3,000 members" last year, he said, but this year "we should have many times that number." (Surely a stretch on Schneider’s part.)

By July of ‘35, 15 State Associations were showing staying power--"District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, [and] Wisconsin," and California and Ohio (with its many chartered clubs) would soon be organized (or reorganized), as would be Connecticut and, provisionally, a few other states, most notably Kansas.

According to the USTTA Constitution (Articles of Agreement) adopted July 17, 1935, revised Oct. 18, 1936, there could be only one affiliated State Association and that had to have a minimum of 25 members. In order to become a USTTA member, a player who lived in an affiliated state had to join that State Association; and no player could be a member of a State Association unless he/she were a USTTA member. Since these members could not all be from just one city or town, it was no surprise that some states were also organized into District Associations. The New York State Association (NYSTTA), for example, had not only the Metropolitan TTA (formed from the old NYTTA) but also Nassau County,* Hudson Valley, Schenectady, Rochester, and Buffalo TTAs. In fact, as National Expansion Chairman Frank Trolle was eager to point out, only five members were needed to form a USTTA-affiliated Club.

A notable provison of this Constitution was that the Presidents of each of the State affiliations automatically became members of the Association's Board of Governors. This Board elected, by a plurality vote, all but one of the USTTA Executive Committee officers. They chose the President, three Vice Presidents, the Treasurer (whose fiscal year was June 1-May 31), and the Recording Secretary. Everyone except the Executive Secretary (he/she was appointed by the President, who also appointed his own Committee Chairs). This Board of Governors had considerable power, at least theoretically (I make the qualification because I can't imagine them during this initial implementation time of Zeisberg's tenure not following his strong-willed directives). "Only a Governor shall have the power to nominate USTTA officers, to submit resolutions for national mail vote, and to cast his state's vote for or against such resolutions." Further, with a 2/3 majority vote, these Governors could amend the Constitution, overrule an Executive Committee decision, or remove an E.C. officer.

The understanding was that, for each upcoming election (the term of office was just one year, but an official could be reelected), each Governor, if he wanted to, could put forward his own complete slate of six Executive Committee officers. (However, these officers would have to reside in at least five different states). Each individual member who paid his/her (no longer 10 cent, no longer 25 cent, but now with the start of the '35-36 season) 50 cent dues (half of which was designated specifically for Topics) could vote. In fact, he could even "require the E.C. to vote on his own pet idea." But neither "commercials" (those--never mind the past--who currently were involved in the making or selling of table tennis equipment) nor "professionals" (those--never mind the past--who currently played table tennis for money) could hold national or affiliate office. The only exception was an Executive Secretary. Moreover, each member's vote would in the end be subject to majority approval, for a Governor was obligated to cast all his state members' votes according to the majority opinion.**

Zeisberg had been working hard to organize every facet of the fledgling USTTA. In a highly detailed, single-spaced 7-page April 22, 1935 "Plan and Questionaire" to his E.C. and others (he was at this time already President-elect), he'd again and again summarize this or that Constitutional position and ask, "Any objections or suggestions?" And being very aware that the USTTA was "representative in its government, non-commercial and not conducted for profit," he'd also raise such questions as:

What should National, Sectional, and Local Association dues, tournament sanction fees, and tournament entry fees be?

Should players be allowed to receive royalties for use of their names on equipment?

How decide what particular ball or table to use in large tournaments? Just automatically take the highest bidder among makers of approved equipment?

Is the selling of USTTA seals of approval to manufacturers an attempt to control equipment? Ought we to abandon that practice?

Ought a representative of the manufacturers be on the USTTA E.C.?

Such organizational questions seemed never ending--and, autocratic though Zeisberg was, he wanted the democratic input of answers.

The official "playing season" started Sept. 15 and ran through the National's (TTT, Oct., 1935, 5), but early and late August tournaments drew some fine players. Sandor Glancz was still competitive enough not to want to give up tournament play. Having been granted USTTA permission to play in the annual Provincetown, MA Silver Cod Quiniela (later, though, he would not be permitted to try out for the New York Intercity team), he defeated New Bedford's Joe Filipek in 5 to get into the final bracket, then downed Jacobson, Feitelson, Hartigan, Silberman, and Jacobson again for the win. The Provincetown Brown Dolphin victory went to Santa Barbara's Susan Whittemore, "former Pan-Pacific and Southern California Champion," who beat Defending Champ Helen Ovenden. (TTT, Oct., 1935,1 and 9).

Jack Boksenbom won the 2nd Great Lakes Open, played indoors this time and without the New York and St. Louis stars, over fellow Clevelander Al Findlay. Jane Stahl, not the least discouraged by her (up 2-0) 5-game semi's loss in Provincetown to Ovenden, got the better of Mildred Wilkinson 19, 16, 27 and then Mrs. Paul Smith, 20, 9, 17, in the final (TTT, Oct., 1935, 1 and 10). Stahl would also go on to win the fall Southern New England Open over N.Y. #4 Mae Spannaus.

"Bat Rule" Enforced

The end of August Chautauqua, N.Y. tournament, Chaired by Coleman Clark (whose father used to be on the Chautauqua staff), and won by Jacobson over National Boys' Champion George Hendry, was historically memorable, for it marked the USTTA's initial nation-wide rigid enforcement of the so-called "bat rule": "After the ball has been put into play if a player strikes the ball with his racket on the fly, no matter where he, his racket or the ball may be, he loses the point. Even if the ball is clearly out and he stops the ball with his bat he loses the point." The rationale for this rule of course was that it would enable umpires "to determine more clearly points which under the old ruling could not be called when the ball, racket and table edge all met in the returning of a shot" (TTT, Oct., 1935, 12). It would be 58 years before another USTTA E.C. would rescind this long often controversial and unpopular rule.***

After losing the August New Rochelle final to 1932 APPA runner-up Abe Krakauer, Arthur Drapkin (pronounced "Drop-kin"), a very good non-attacking player, scored back-to-back New Jersey victories. First, in the Atlantic Coast Championship at Asbury Park (over Brooklyn's Melvin Rose), and then from a very strong field at Rutherford--"in a 2:30 A.M. final" reminiscent of the doggedly defensive Schlude-Berenbaum one at the April Nationals's (over Stan Feitelson, who'd earlier upset U.S. Champion Berenbaum). The women? Mae Spannaus won quite easily at Asbury Park, but Ruth Aarons in winning at Rutherford had -19, 23, 17, 16 trouble with "hard-driving" Anne Sigman (TTT, Oct., 1935, 1 and 12).

Such time-consuming purely defensive matches as this latest Drapkin-Feitelson one naturally made a mockery out of the USTTA By-Law that hyped Table Tennis as the "fastest game on earth" and said that tournaments would end "in ample time for morning newspapers to publish complete results" (TTT, Nov., 1935, 5). Perhaps the By-law that sought to transfer such pushing matches, if necessary to another room out of the spectators' sight, would not really prove to be an effective solution? (Was that transfer tactic ever even tried?) At any event, just the thought of these "poopy" matches continuing provoked Zeisberg and other USTTA officials to take strong punitive action.

USTTA Swings Out Hard Against Pushers

USTTA First Vice President Dougall Kittermaster--as an officer in the Royal Canadian Army, he’d fought in and was wounded in World War I (TTT, Nov., 1940, 17)--began the attack in a November, 1935 front page Topics article, "No Purely Defensive Player May Represent U.S. in Europe":

"Table tennis, like any other sport, must have the support of the public. Large tournaments cannot be held unless there are gate receipts to finance them. We believe we have the most fascinating game in the world to watch, when it is properly played, but we know the public will not pay good money to see selfish, short-sighted simpletons ruin

it by their ‘pushing and pooping’ tactics."

Kittermaster goes on to say that the E.C. has passed a new By-Law that allows any tournament committee "to terminate any match at any time, the nature of which is construed by such officials to be detrimental to the game." And he emphasizes that no player will be considered for the U.S. Team to the '36 World's, "no matter how good his tournament record, whose style of play is purely defensive" (TTT, Nov., 1935, 1 and 7).

This new By-Law was dramatically enforced in a tournament in which virtually every leading player in the East participated, the Middle Atlantic States Open, held at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City, Dec. 12-13, 1935. Harry Cook, U.S. #7, was disqualified in the semi's after leading Stanley Feitelson, two games to none, when, after being warned repeatedly, he wouldn't play an aggressive shot and Feitelson, though losing, would. Then, in the final for the traveling Filing Trophy(donated by the Akron-based firm of that name), Feitelson (who'd taken out Abe Berenbaum) and Al Goldman (who'd eliminated Sol Schiff) were disqualified for continually pushing the ball...reportedly for 25 minutes...at 20-all in the 5th--the time being now 3:45 a.m.! (TTT, Jan., 1936, 5).

Naturally such a debacle produced another front page article in TTT, just two months before the '36 World's, this time by the USTTA Exhibition Chair Jack A. Ahern, who--death to all gladiators who lacked courage--decreed a "Thumbs Down Edict For Pushers":

"...Unlike [in] Europe, where the aggressive style of play makes the defensive tactics of a player who will not hit of little value, in this country we have a relatively few ranking players, who have, since the game is young here, deliberately built their styles on defensive safety tactics which have enabled them to gain some measure of success by their colorless never-take-a-chance methods. Stolid, unimaginative, and with no thought of the sport to which they contribute so little, and which gives them so much, contrary to all precepts of sportsmanship, they expect to be champions, without a single effort on their part to warrant such titles.

...Not only this, but so completely twisted is their viewpoint that they have been known to boast of their tactics which reduce the fine purpose of the sport to one of patience and endurance from speed and aggressiveness. It was recently calculated that were two of these players to continue to play their entire match as they had played one point that it would require over six days of solid playing time for the match to be completed..." (TTT, Jan., 1936, 1 and 6).

How much knowledge Ahern had of what was going on in Europe is certainly debatable--for obviously he had no awareness of the Romanians' determined-to-defend training methods for the '36 World's.

Subject to argument, too, is the USTTA's public denunciation and punishment of their foremost "chiselers." Cook, Feitelson, Goldman, and Drapkin were not permitted to enter the upcoming American Zone tournament, the results of which would go a long way towards picking the U.S. World Team. "The USTTA's strict enforcement of rules is great stuff," one reader wrote to Topics. But not everyone agreed, as witness this private exchange of letters.

Borak and Zeisberg’s War of Words

New Yorker Stanley H. Borak's long letter of Dec. 17, 1935 to Sidney M. Biddell, NYSTTA Secretary and Middle Atlantic States Tournament Chair, concerning the disqualification of Cook, Feitelson, and Goldman could not be ignored:

"After the more or less farcical events of the other night, and in my present more or less calm state, I would like to set down in black on white my objection of the Committee's actions. I do not pretend to speak for any group, although you know my voice is not alone in protest, but what I state is my individual opinion.

First of all, I do not question or doubt in the slightest the good faith, sincerity and earnest desire to benefit the game on the part of each and every official of Table Tennis.

Secondly, I wholeheartedly subscribe to the principle that chiseling is detrimental to the game from the standpoint of the audience which comes to see exciting matches, and that if all matches were of the Feitelson v. Goldman type, it would be difficult to find many wildly-cheering spectators thronging to tournaments. But while I am wholeheartedly with you in principle, I object most stren[u]ously to your methods. I do not believe that the ends justifies any means. I not only deny that such means are justified by the ends, but I do not even believe that your means will accomplish your ends. Yours and [Charles] Schneider's [the MTTA President's] actions were entirely without precedent or sanction and were tactless and in extremely poor taste. When I say entirely without precedent, I mean that no such action was ever before heard of either in this country or in Europe, to whom we should look for examples and precedents, especially in steps as radical as these. It was unsanctioned by the players, there was no movement among the players for such unparalleled, officious actions by self-inflated committeemen.

To speak bluntly, for you have acted bluntly, there have been committeemen before and there will be other committeemen to come, you and Schneider are not the last hope for the salvation of the game, and I think you had not the slightest right, morally or actually, for such arbitrary and reckless actions. The state of table tennis had not reached a crisis the other night, however much your inflated imaginnings {sic] may have led you so to believe. On the contrary, table tennis In [sic] America has been gaining steadily and is gaining, despite, you may recall, the terrific handicap a courageous group of players had in overcoming the selfish Ping Pong crowd, with their swanky sessions in the exclusive Hotel New Yorker, and who finally showed their anxiety for the future of the sport by coming into Table Tennis only after putting up a better [sic: for bitter] battle, and after they were deserted by less selfish and egotistic players, and then demanded to know what proposition table tennis had to make them. Real amateurs--true lovers of the game!

A new association was recently formed by these exclusive executives without any notice to the general rank and file of the members. You cannot set yourselves up, Biddell, as demi-gods, and act high-mindedly in such matters as you did without any notice of [a] meeting or referendum of the players. It is our game, we are the amateurs, lovers of the game--and you have no right to try to take it away from us. To become more specific, your own actions and Schneider's on Friday, were a disgrace to the game, and have caused a dissension in the ranks that bodes ill for your precious phrase ‘future of the game.’ Schneider's announcing during the Berenbaum v. Drapkin match that it was dull and that more interesting matches were being played on the other tables was an insult to the intelligence of the audience, who could, you know, have watched other matches of their own accord if they were bored without Charley's helpfulness, and it was a gross insult to the National Champion. After all, like it or not, Berenbaum is our national champion, and entitled to a modicum of courtesy, if not affection from our gracious committee. The announcement at the end of the match was even more insulting and did, I speak of positive knowledge, hurt Berenbaum and Dropkin [sic] deeply. What did it accomplish? They'll know better next time--so you think! You and Schneider are wonderful judges of human nature! You caused Berenbaum, by harrassing him personally and over the loud speaker to disgustedly throw his match to Feitelson, thereby eliminating your national champion. A national champion is always the object of interest, whether his style is dull or exciting. Berenbaum could have defeated Feitelson, not in a spectacular match, but in a fairly interesting one. Berenbaum chops hard, you may have heard, to win the point by his deadly chop or by forcing a set up, and not merely by colorless pushing as does Feitleson [sic]. If there ever was a colorless player, it was Feitelson playing Berenbaum. He made no effort ot [sic] hit. Then your dramatic act in defaulting Cook was a corker! What if Feitelson did drive two games? He lost them. Why should Harry Cook now throw two games at your bidding. As a matter of fact, Cook was setting them up to Feitelson after you stepped in to interrupt a not so uninteresting match at the wrong time, when Feitelson was driving, and Feitelson then chopped down hard, giving Cook no chance to drive; and why afterwards did you not immediately default Feirelson [sic] and Goldman for chiseling--instead of pulling watches? Why did you favor them over Cook? How does it look for table tennis when the best players are defaulted? Are you going to default Berenbaum, your national champion, for trying to win the best way he knows how, on the ground that he didn't in your opinion entertaion [sic] the spectator. Or will you make him an exception? What is chiseling, anyway, and who is to draw the line. You have bitten off more than you can chew by this gross abuse of authority.

Table tennis will go on with or without you and Schneider, with or without the Hotel New Yorker, with or without me or any other individual, because of its inherent qualities and potentialities. I play the game because I love the game, and I don't want and don't intend ot [sic] have you and Schneider or any one else tell me how to play.

Cook and Berenbaum are boys who have fiven [sic] more than you have to the game--they eat, sleep and drink table tennis. In doing what you did without the backing of the players, in so humiliating two of the best players in the country, yours and Schneider's actions were despicably crude, follish [sic] and hasty. You are supposed to be older and wiser heads. Who of us could have acted more impetuously, without consulting the wishes of the players? You would have done well to consult, among others, the Scheins--boys who don't think they are owed anything because they devotedly serve the sport they love, and who do not make cramatic [sic] gestures of resigning when the wisdom of their actions is questioned. We must have officials who have sympathy with the players, who like chiseling matches no more than you, but are so stupidly American as to believe in putting two players at the table with the usual rules and say ‘Let the best man win.’

Now let us look at the results: grave dissension among the players, humiliation of the best of them; look at the papers, Biddell, the next day, who give the general public its impressions of table tennis. N.Y. Sun--Nothing. N.Y. Herald Tribune--Nothing. N.Y. Post --nothing. N.Y. Times--a short item evidently sent in before your act went on. N.Y. World Telegram--an article ridiculing the game, the players and the dignified committee. Your trophy must be sent back for Filing. What do you think you've accomplished? I think you've brought on a wretched situation.

I am an attacking player. No attacking player concedes that it is impossible to beat Berenbaum, Cook, Feitelson, or Goldman by driving. Didn't McClure do it? Didn't Schiff? Didn't Barna? Didn't Pagliaro? We know that table tennis play has slowly but steadily improved. Now every player will drive if he gets his ball. Chiseling matches are becoming rarer--even if longer--and the chiseling is of a higher grade of skill--it is only a matter of time before chiseling matches in the natural course of progress will be a thing of the past. The drivers are getting better. We drivers know that if we develop better tournament temperaments, if we practice as faithfully as the defensive players, if we learn to drive more crisply and accurately and master the drop shot, which can be dome [sic] and will (the Europeans do it), we can beat the defensive players. If we can't do it, we deserve to and are willing to lose, and admit that we lost to a better man. No committee can teel [sic] a player what style of play to adopt. In what amateur sport is that done?

When you are picking the Middle Atlantic States champ or any other, let the best man win! If chiselers really are the best, and I don't for a minute believe it, then table tennis is a sissies' game, and let us spare our ‘dear public’ the anguish of it all.

The real table tennis players and I am shameless enough to call myself one, is [sic] more interested in good equipment, and a well-run tournament, than whether it is run in the Waldorf-Astoria or the New Yorker--not that he doesn't want the New Yorker and the crowds and publicity and adulation if he can get it without departing from the fundamental idea that the game is the player's game, and that you must not take it way [sic] from them. You must not bully Cook into driving. He is learning to drive and is gradually acquiring confidence in it, because he knows that he must have a drive to gain the goal he seeks--NO. l. Doesn't this represent advancement over Marcus Schussheim, champ of a few years ago, who never drove a ball, and had every player as much under his spell as Joe Louis has his opponents?

And what of the ‘dear public.’ There were enough exciting matches between contrasting styles of play the other night to give them their money's worth. You and I won't quit table tennis because Goldman and Feitelson chiseled. We know that it is a real game and that we enjoy playing it. That's the type of fans we want--playing fans. It takes only one good match to make a man a convert--ask [New York State TTA President] Bob Maleeny and we had many. If all [the matches] weren't [good] and thrilling, I regret it as much as you.

Most of the spectators are players and friends of the players. How do you think the friends feel when they see the player they hoped to win in glory, disqualified and humiliated?

I would suggest that you first ask all the players and members for suggestions if you feel that the situation is critical, and I do not. Have a referendum, discussion over a period of time. Act with dignity, consideration and cautiousness.

I hope that you will take this letter in the spirit I have written it--it is merely strong disapproval of your actions and Schneider's the other evening--nothing more--I have no personal antagonism toward you, Biddell. I really don't know you. Let no schism develop from the events of the other night. Let us heal the breach as best we can and as speedily."

I've no record of a reply on Biddell's part, but Zeisberg, who apparently attended this Middle Atlantic States tournament and whose views regarding punitive action would then surely have been heard, had this (Dec. 19) response--with copies to Biddell, Schneider, and George Schein, Secretary of the MTTA:

"Constructive criticism offered in a friendly way is always welcomed by me, but the manner of your four-page letter of December 17 to Mr. Biddell, copy of which you sent me, is so obnoxious and the letter itself so full of tripe that I won't discuss it.

I do, however, want to get over two thoughts to you: I think you owe Mr. Biddell and Mr. Schneider an apology. I think that those who condone and defend these senseless and unsportsmanlike chiseling matches should withdraw from the USTTA, form a separate Pushers' Association and go to it till 4 A.M., thus enabling the fortunate USTTA to progress unhindered."

Zeisberg’s reply drew another (Dec. 21) letter from Borak to Biddell--with copies to NYSTTA President Maleeny, Schein, and Zeisberg:

"It did not take Mr. Zeisberg's ‘disinterested’ reply, but only the passage of a few days to make me realize that in my zeal, I had perhaps been too free in my choice of adjectives. Let me again assure you, therefore, that if you were insulted by the tone of my language, I apologize, and I sincerely mean it...."

Of more interest is the addendum Borak added to Zeisberg's copy:

"As for you Mr. Zeisberg, your characterization of my letter as ‘tripe’ is no less insulting than anything I said to Mr. Biddell. Answering you in kind, I may say that it is just the intelligent reaction to be expected from you.

In loyalty to table tennis, and in a desire to see it advance, I stand second to noone[sic]. Whatever time and ability I have to spare after my day's work and school at night, have always been and are at the disposal of table tennis and its officers, and I have so publicly stated on many occasions.

For that reason among others, I think my sincere albeit mistaken and hotheaded letter, the opinions in which I know to be shared by others than myself, is deserving of more consideration than the epithet ‘tripe.’

One of the main objections against P.P., as I recall, was the dominance of the P.P. officials. Are we to have a repetition of such a state of affairs, with our own officers domineering the players without the players' consent?"

Perhaps Biddell didn't answer this letter of Borak's either, but Schneider, on reading both of them, wrote to Leo Schein (who'd been a Vice President of the NYTTA when it joined the USTTA in Nov. of '33):

"..Very nice letters from an individual who urges someone else to act with dignity, consideration and cautiousness. After reading them I have lost all respect for Borak. At one time I thought he might to [sic for be] a good man to have serving on the Executive Committee but now I feel that the Association would profit considerably if he were to lose all interest in the game. I don't mind criticism given in a decent manner but these letters are too much to swallow."

Of course--after the holidays, on Jan. 6, 1936--Zeisberg replied to this second letter of Borak's:

"I am glad you apologized to Mr. Biddell.

By tripe I mean loose, contradictory thoughts.

Your last letter also contained contradictory statements, which would warrant me in paying no attention to the latter.

However, I want to tell you that if you are a USTTA member you can send in any resolution you wish for a vote by the USTTA Executive Committee; or, if you want the Executive Committee's decisions overridden, you should apply to a member of the Board of Governors and ask him to submit the question for a national mail vote, which he will do if he considers it worth the time and expense necessary for a vote.

The USTTA is governed by majority vote of the Executive Committee, subject to the Constitution which empowers the Board of Governors to override the Executive Committee from office. The members of the Board of Governors are elected by majorities in the several State associations. Thus our entire Government is conducted by means of majorities, and there is not the ‘dominance’ which your last letter hints at.

The majority of members and spectators are heartily sick of the ‘pushers’ and their friends, the problem has been discussed since last fall a year ago, and if they do not get in step they will be barred from all play. If you will try to teach the ‘pushers’ the meaning of sportsmanship and co-operation instead of attacking tournament officials you will be on the right track. As I believe most of them are morons, incapable of responding to an appeal to reason, I would prefer that they get out of the USTTA entirely."

On a copy of this letter to George Schein, Zeisberg wrote: "Personally I think the best thing to do with pushers is to expel them. I wanted to expel a couple last summer. If it had been done then it would have saved a lot of work and prevented a lot of damage."

Zeisberg’s Background

Perhaps Zeisberg’s military service and his already 20-year newspaper background, especially as rewrite man and editorial writer, made him prone to no-nonsense definitive statements. According to his June 8, 1950 obituary in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, which I draw on repeatedly here, he was born on Sept. 25 (my own birthdate), 1891 in Lexington, Missouri. After attending high school in Abingdon, Virginia, and graduating from the University of Virginia, he got a job with the Baltimore Sun. The next year, 1914, he joined the Philadelphia Evening Ledger. By 1916 he was a war correspondent at the Mexican border. "During World War I he served in France as a sergeant with Company F, 316th Infantry, and in the G-2 (intelligence) section of the 79th Division. He was in the Meuse-Argonne offensive." After coming back home in June, 1919, he joined the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and continued working there for more than 30 years--until on June 7, 1950, while in his office, he suffered a fatal heart attack.

At the time of his death Zeisberg would be editing the Bulletin’s Opinion Page. Which, from what we’ve seen and will continue to see of Carl in the table tennis world of the 1930’s seems appropriate--for opinions he himself certainly had. In paying final homage to him, the Bulletin, in an Editorial, would emphasize that he was a "genial, lovable companion," with "imperturbable good humor," who "had the knack to an extraordinary degree of making and keeping friends."

The Zeisberg we see has a "dry wit" alright, but, in his not always so good-humored zeal to make t.t., not "p-p," meaningful, and the USTTA strong, he’s far from imperturbable, and his voice is unquestionably an autocratic one, not to be combatted lightly...as I'm sure all E.C. members, all Governors, well knew.


*By the fall of 1933 (see TTT, Dec., 1933, 1), there was a 70-member Long Island "Table Tennis League" made up of Merrick (where I’ve lived since 1964), Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Valley Stream, and Lynbrook clubs with Gambol J. Dunn as Temporary Chairman. At least three of these clubs were represented by players from city Fire Departments. In the fall of 1935 (see TTT, Dec., 1935, 6), the Nassau County PPA became the Nassau County TTA--with veteran player/organizer E. M. Lundell, Jr. as President and Dunn as Vice-President. The Men’s winner of the 1936 Nassau County Championship (see TTT, Apr., 1936, 5) was Don Engles, who upset the holder Frank Dunn. Eva Gerhold won the Women’s over Agnes Staiger.

**For this organizational structure of the USTTA see particularly TTT, Oct., 1935, 5-7, Oct., 1936, 6-7, and Dec., 1936, 6-7.

***In Mar., 1992 the USTTA proposed to the ITTF that the paddle point rule ("bat rule") be dropped (TTT, May-June, 1992, 4). In May, 1993 the ITTF rescinded this rule, and in Sept., 1993 the USTTA rescinded it too (Table Tennis Today, July-Aug., 1993, 3 and Nov.-Dec., 1993, 8).