The Billiard Archive is a Pennsylvania not-for-profit foundation, formed in 1983 by its Curator, Mike Shamos, for the purpose of preserving the history of pool, billiards and snooker.  Mike has been collecting billiard memorabilia since 1975.  More than 100,000 items are in his collection, which The Billiard Archive is now sharing with the community.  Over 23,000 items in 40 languages have been cataloged and are accessible through this site.  The collection includes about 2100 books, including more than 300 in searchable full text, making it one of the largest billiard libraries in the world.  With over 1700 prints and 57 paintings, the Billiard Archive holds a significant portfolio of billiard artwork.  Just click the magnifying glass icon at the top right of the Home page and start searching.  Search hints can be found here.

A Message From The Curator

Image of Curator, Mike Shamos
Mike Shamos
I am fascinated by every aspect of billiards – its players, its history, its equipment, its rules, its industry, its use in advertising, its competitions, and so forth.  For over 40 years, I have assembled a huge collection of physical and digital materials that document the game in its various forms.  This has been possible only with the help and contributions of many people, including Charles Brown, Bob and Cindy Byrne, Jesus Gallegos, Elizabeth Holmes, Bob Jewett, Mike Panozzo, Tom Rossman, Charlie Ursitti, and Heinrich Weingartner.  I have been sharing this bounty in small measure by writing articles for Billiards Digest magazine, of which I am Contributing Editor.  By now I have written more than 700 articles and books on the subject.  I’ve also been busy in other ways, particularly on BCA committees, giving instruction, serving as the faculty advisor to the pool team at Carnegie Mellon University and supporting and refereeing tournaments. My billiard biography is available at this link.

It has been impossible, however, to include, or even mention, all the items in the Archive, in my writings.  So, in 2019 I engaged a web design firm, Blue Archer, that had expertise in building websites for museums.  I worked with them until COVID struck in 2020.  In 2023, the effort resumed and the full site is finally live.  Over the years, I had visited many collectors’ websites in different fields – not just billiards.  I found it annoying that many collections (and museums) do not display their holdings on the Internet at full size or at full resolution.  Some even add legends in the middle of a picture to identify themselves as the source.  I understand why they do it, but I think it interferes with the enjoyment and use of the images.  Therefore, everything on The Billiard Archive site is presented cleanly and at full resolution.

I cannot imagine all the uses and studies to which The Billiard Archive materials may be put.  That is up to you.  Feel free to use anything on the site under the conditions provided in our Terms of Use.

I’ve had several professional careers outside of billiards.  Throughout the decades, I have regularly sneaked away to my office at The Billiard Archive to marvel at, catalog and ponder over billiard materials.  I also repair to my home billiard room, which has a full-size heated carom table.  I am grateful to my supportive wife, Julie, who used to watch me patiently play three-cushion at McGirr's in New York as far back as 1968.  To the extent I have remained sane, it is due in large part to the game of billiards, which has been a great gift to me.  I now make my return gift to the game by publicly displaying this collection.  Please enjoy it.

Mike Shamos
September 1, 2023