The Story of Tennis Ball
This lettuce was reportedly grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. According to William Woys Weaver in his book Heirloom Vegetable Gardening, Tennis Ball lettuce heads were often pickled in salt brine during the 17th and 18th centuries.
It may be that the ancient Egyptians were the first to cultivate lettuce from a weed, valuable for its oil producing seeds, to a food crop grown for its leaves. The Greeks and Romans adopted the vegetable and it spread to Europe. By the 18th century many varieties of lettuce had been developed that still exist today.