"Bloomer girls" take to the baseball diamond challenging amateur, semi-pro, and minor league men's teams in front of thousands of spectators. Known for wearing practical, loose Turkish-style trousers created by Amelia Bloomer, hundreds of teams 'barnstormed' the country during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, providing women an opportunity to travel and play this traditionally all-male sport. Read more about it!
The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.
Jump to: Sample Articles
Formation of two women’s baseball teams: the Laurel Base Ball Club and
the Abenakis at Vassar Female College, Poughkeepsie, NY.
- 1867: First African-American women’s team played in Philadelphia, PA.
- 1868: First non-collegiate women’s team was organized in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
First women’s baseball game for which fans were charged and women
players were paid - played between the “Blondes” and the “Brunettes” in
Springfield, Illinois on September 11.
Novelty act of women playing baseball attracts fans from across the
country. Bloomer Girl teams from cities such as Boston and New York,
travel around the nation playing local teams. Allowing for easier play,
the preferred “bloomer” style of dress (attributed to suffragette
Adelaide Jenks Bloomer), becomes synonymous with women’s baseball.
Maud Nelson (former Boston Bloomer Girls and Star Bloomer Girls
standout), forms and manages Western Bloomer Girls team along with
husband, Joe Olson.
Suggested Search Terms:
- [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.]
Bloomer Girls (Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Western);
Ladies Baseball Club;
Scratch nine (Occurred when girls were asked to play on a men’s baseball team);
Local nine (Group of baseball players to play against the travelling Bloomer Girls team);
Topper (Title attached to a male dressing as a female (donning a wig, etc.) to play on women’s baseball team)
Sample Articles from Chronicling America:
- "Will the Girls Win?," The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), October 21, 1897, Page 9, Image 9 col. 2.
- "Bloomer Girls on the Diamond," The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), October 25, 1897, Page 6, Image 6 col. 4.
- "Bloomer Girls from Boston Beaten by Bushnell's Boys," The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), July 15, 1901, Page 8, Image 8, col 3, 4.
- "Object to the Women Playing Ball on Sunday," The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), July 19, 1901, Page 8, Image 8 col. 5.
- "Bloomer Girls Meet a Frost," The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), July 20, 1901, Page 5, Image 5 col. 7.
- "They Play Like Men-Ball Park Chortled by Feminine Curves," Richmond Dispatch (Richmond, VA), August 21, 1902, Page 6, Image 6 col. 1.
- "Women Players Put Up Good Game," The Times (Richmond, VA), August 21, 1902, Page 2, Image 2 col. 1
- "Newt Atkisson Shot to Death, The Paducah Evening Sun (Paduccah, KY), November 20, 1906, Page 8, Image 8 col. 1.
- "Grand Stand Collapses," The Washington Herald (Washington, D.C.), June 15, 1907, Page 1, Image 1 col. 3.
- "Bloomer Girls will Play Independents Tomorrow and Sunday," The Paducah evening sun (Paducah, KY), July 19, 1907, Page 2, Image 2 col. 3.
- "Junction City Briefs," Deseret Evening News (Great Salt Lake City, UT), August 22, 1908, Last Edition, Page 8, Image 8 col. 4.
- "Girls Go Down to Defeat," The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, Utah), June, 14, 1909, Page 2, Image 2 col. 2-3.