Billy Haggard (1927-2005) was a champion equestrian, all‑round sportsman, and long-time resident in Aiken, SC. Aiken boasts one of only ten courts in the United States designed for traditional tennis ("court tennis" or "real tennis"), a sport at which Mr. Haggard became an outstanding competitor. He was also a renowned collector of rare books, especially books related to the sports that he enjoyed. In 1998, he loaned some of his court tennis books for an exhibition in the Thomas Cooper Library, “Real Tennis or Le Jeu de Paume,” curated by Roger Mortimer, and he visited the library several times. In the fall of 2004, Mr. Haggard’s tennis collection came to the University, through the support of some of Mr. Haggard’s friends and with a matching grant from the Lucy Hampton Bostick Trust.
The William D. Haggard Tennis Collection includes over 75 volumes, chiefly about the history of tennis and court tennis or real tennis, in particular, and illustrates how sports reflect and adapt to, wider social and cultural developments. The Haggard Collection includes the first book about tennis, Antonio Scaino's Trattato del givoco della palla, published in 1555, eighteenth‑century engravings of courts and equipment from Enlightenment French tennis books, and inscribed or limited editions of later titles, books about lawn tennis, tennis engravings, and tennis memorabilia, donated by Janet Haggard Harkins.