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Baseball Resources at the Library of Congress

Portals, Collections, and Databases

Take me out to the ball game
Take me out to the ball game
Albert Von Tilzer (composer) and Jack Norworth (lyrics).
The New York Music Co., 1908.
Performing Arts Encyclopedia.

A treasure trove of baseball materials are available through the Library of Congress Web site. While some of these materials are scattered throughout the site (see the Features page for help locating them), several major portals, collections, and databases serve as gateways to the vast majority of the Library's online baseball content. These portals, collections, and databases are described below. In addition, this page lists a number of American Memory collections not focused exclusively on baseball but which nevertheless include significant and historic primary sources about the game.

Baseball Portals

Historic Baseball Resources

This guide to baseball resources at the Library of Congress, created to coincide with the opening of the 2008 Major League Baseball season, compiles major baseball resources at the Library of Congress. Choose from the navigational links on the left side of the home page to locate major baseball collections, as well as selected baseball images and audio and video presentations.

Themed Resources: Baseball

This guide, available through the Library's Teachers pages, includes a wealth of primary sources, lesson plans, exhibit and presentation items, curricular activity ideas, and other educational resources that can be used in the classroom to study American culture and values through the lens of baseball. Because the guide links to many baseball materials available on the Library's Web site and also offers suggested search terms for locating additional items in the American Memory, it is useful not only to teachers and students, but to anyone interested in locating online baseball resources at the Library.

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American Memory (baseball-specific collections)

The American Memory historical collections provide access to primary source materials such as letters, diaries, photographs, maps, sound recordings, and video recordings that serve as a record of American history and culture. The following American Memory collections constitute the major online baseball collections available through the Library of Congress. To learn more about baseball materials available in other American Memory collections, go here.

Baseball Cards, 1887-1914

This collection presents a Library of Congress treasure -- 2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914. The cards show such legendary figures as Ty Cobb stealing third base for Detroit, Tris Speaker batting for Boston, and pitcher Cy Young posing formally in his Cleveland uniform. Other notable players include Connie Mack, Walter Johnson, King Kelly, and Christy Mathewson.

Cigarette card collector Benjamin K. Edwards preserved these baseball cards in albums with more than 12,000 other cards on many subjects. After his death, Edwards' daughter gave the albums to noted poet and Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg, who donated them to the Library's Prints and Photographs Division in 1954.

(Note: this collection is also available through the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog)

By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s

2007 marked the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's rookie season for the Brooklyn Dodgers. When he stepped onto Ebbets field on April 15th, 1947, Robinson became the first African American in the twentieth century to play baseball in the major leagues -- breaking the "color line," a segregation practice dating to the nineteenth century. Jackie Robinson was an extremely talented multi-sport athlete and a courageous man who played an active role in civil rights. This presentation was created to commemorate his achievements and describe some aspects of the color line's development and the Negro Leagues. Materials that tell his story, and the history of baseball in general, are located throughout the Library of Congress.

Spalding Base Ball Guides, 1889-1939

Spalding Base Ball Guides, 1889-1939 comprises a historic selection of Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guide and the Official Indoor Base Ball Guide. The collection reproduces 35 of the guides, which were published by the Spalding Athletic Company in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guide was perhaps the premier publication of its day for the game of baseball. It featured editorials from baseball writers on the state of the game, statistics, photographs, and analysis of the previous season for all the Major League teams and for many of the so-called minor leagues across the nation. The 15 Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guides included in this online collection were published between 1889 and 1939. The Official Indoor Baseball Guide concerns a game unfamiliar to most contemporary baseball fans because its demise occurred almost beyond living memory. These guides, too, offer rules and “how-to’s” of the game, information on the game’s founding fathers, photographic illustrations of teams and players from across the land, and game statistics. The 20 Official Indoor Base Ball Guides included in this collection were published between 1903 and 1926.

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American Memory (non-baseball collections)

The American Memory historical collections provide access to primary source materials such as letters, diaries, photographs, maps, sound recordings, and video recordings that serve as a record of American history and culture. This section identifies American Memory collections, excluding those mentioned above, that include significant baseball-related resources. For many collections, baseball-related subject headings or suggested keywords are provided. Click on any subject heading or keyword to access a list of items in the collection available through it.

Collection: The African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920
Content: Several articles and images can be found by searching on the keywords baseball, base ball, and ball league, as well as under the subject Afro-American athletes.

Collection: African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
Content: Includes one piece of baseball sheet music, "Hi! Yi! Yer off now!"

Collection: America at Work, America at Leisure: Motion Pictures from 1894-1915
Content: Includes an 1898 Thomas Edison video, "The ball game."

Collection: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945
Content: More than 150 images are returned through a keyword search on baseball.

Collection: American Indians of the Pacific Northwest
Content: Eight images of baseball players, teams, and spectators are returned through a keyword search on baseball.

Collection: American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920
Content: Includes a photograph of children playing baseball.

Collection: American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
Content: Search on the keywords baseball and base ball to find a number of life histories discussing the game.

Collection: American Notes: Travels in America, 1750-1920
Content: A number of narratives that discuss or mention baseball can be found by conducting a full-text search on the terms baseball and base ball. Selecting the Text option for any item link will allow you to browse for the section(s) of each narrative that discuss the game.

Collection: An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera
Content: A bibliographic search on baseball returns one broadside, as does a bibliographic search on base ball.

Collection: The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920
Content: Includes several scripts under the subject heading athletics -- baseball.

Collection: Architecture and Interior Design for 20th Century America: Photographs by Samuel Gottscho and William Schleisner, 1935-1955
Content: Five images of baseball fields and school baseball games can be found through a keyword search on baseball.

Collection: Built in America: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey, 1933-Present
Content: A keyword search on baseball returns several records for baseball fields, stadiums, and facilities, including Shibe Park.

Collection: The Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920
Content: Advertisements that reference baseball can be found under the subject Sports, as well as the keywords baseball and hit.

Collection: Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training
Content: A full-text search on baseball returns several interviews with diplomats in which they recollect early baseball memories or instances involving baseball during their diplomatic service.

Collection: Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1820-1860 & 1870-1885
Content: Includes sheet music for "The Base Ball" (1874).

Collection: Newspaper Pictorials: World War I Rotogravures, 1914-1919
Content: Includes several baseball images from the New York Times.

Collection: The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals
Content: A descriptive information search on base ball and ball bats returns several items. Additional articles can be found through full-text searches on base ball and baseball.

Collection: Omaha Indian Music
Content: Includes several images of baseball games and a recording of an emcee introducing a famous Omaha baseball pitcher.

Collection: Photographs from the Chicago Daily News
Content: Browse the alphabetical subject list to find many baseball-related headings. Also try searching on individual and team names, as well as general terms such as baseball and World Series.

Collection: Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929
Content: Several photographs can be found by searching on the keyword baseball.

Collection: Small-Town America: Stereoscopic Views from the Robert Dennis Collection, 1850-1920
Content: Includes an image of a baseball game in Rochester, New York.

Collection: The South Texas Border, 1900-1920: Photographs from the Robert Runyon Collection
Content: Three photographs can be found by search on the keyword baseball.

Collection: The Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers' Newspaper of World War I, 1918-1919
Content: Many articles about baseball can be found by searching on the keyword baseball or on individual or team names.

Collection: "Suffering under a Great Injustice": Ansel Adams's Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar
Content: Includes two images of Japanese Americans observing an amateur baseball game.

Collection: Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs, 1851-1991
Content: Relevant subject headings include Baseball, Baseball players, Stadiums, Sports spectators, and World Series (Baseball). Also try searching on keywords such as baseball, individual and team names, National League, American League, and World Series.

Collection: Tending the Commons: Folklife and Landscape in Southern West Virginia
Content: Six photographs and audio recordings can be found under the subject heading Baseball.

Collection: Theodore Roosevelt: His Life and Times on Film
Content: Includes two videos of President Theodore Roosevelt at Oriole Park.

Collection: Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920
Content: Ten photographs can be found through a keyword search on baseball.

Collection: Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century
Content: Eight items can be found under the subject heading Baseball.

Collection: Voices from the Dust Bowl: the Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941
Content: Includes one image of a baseball game at the Tulare Migrant Camp, Visalia, California (1940).

Collection: Washington as It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959
Content: Includes photographs under the subject headings Baseball, Baseball players, Stadiums, and Crowds.

Collection: Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years
Content: Includes Branch Rickey's scouting report on Don Drysdale (June 15, 1954).

Collection: Working in Paterson: Occupational Heritage in an Urban Setting
Content: Four photographs can be found under the subject heading Baseball players.

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Chronicling America

Chronicling America is a free, national, searchable database of historic American newspaper pages published between 1880 and 1922. Through Chronicling America users can search more than one million newspaper pages to trace the early history of baseball as documented by the American press.

The Library's Newspapers and Current Periodical Reading Room has created a topic guide to Baseball's Modern World Series that highlights newspaper articles about the World Series in Chronicling America and provides suggested search terms for locating other relevant articles.

Suggested Search Terms

General terms: baseball, base ball, World Series

Individuals: Connie Mack, Fielder Jones, Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, Mordecai Brown, Frank Chance, etc.

Teams: Pittsburg Pirates (note that the spelling "Pittsburgh" did not occur until 1920), Boston Americans, New York Giants, Philadelphia Athletics, Chicago White Sox, Chicago White Stockings, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, etc.

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Performing Arts Encyclopedia

The Performing Arts Encyclopedia (PAE) is a guide to performing arts resources at the Library of Congress. The PAE provides information about, and in many cases digitized versions of, the Library's collections of scores, sheet music, audio recordings, films, photographs, and other materials. The PAE includes 146 digitized pieces of baseball sheet music in its collections.

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Prints and Photographs Online Catalog

The Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) provides access through group or item records to about 75% of the Prints and Photographs Division's holdings, as well as to some images found in other units of the Library of Congress. More than 1.2 million digital are available. PPOC provides an opportunity for users to unearth a visual history of baseball in America through photographs of teams, players, managers, coaches, stadiums, and fans.

PPOC includes one major baseball collection, Baseball Cards from the Benjamin K. Edwards Collection (note: the collection is also available through American Memory). This collection features 2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914. The cards show such legendary figures as Ty Cobb stealing third base for Detroit, Tris Speaker batting for Boston, and pitcher Cy Young posing formally in his Cleveland uniform. Other notable players include Connie Mack, Walter Johnson, King Kelly, and Christy Mathewson.

Other baseball images available through the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog can be found by searching across all of the catalog's collections by keyword or phrase, or by browsing images by subject.

Suggested Search Terms

General terms: baseball, base ball, World Series

Individuals: Connie Mack, Cy Young, Ty Cobb, etc.

Teams: Boston Americans, New York Giants, Philadelphia Athletics, Chicago White Sox, Chicago White Stockings, Detroit Tigers, etc.

Browsing by Subject

Use the catalog's online thesaurus to locate appropriate subject headings related to baseball. Each subject heading is hyperlinked; selecting the heading will result in the display of all images under that heading in the catalog. Examples of headings include baseball, baseball players, and baseball managers.

Users should also check the bibliographic records of relevant images to see whether they have been assigned subject headings. These subject headings will also be hyperlinked and will lead to other images assigned the same heading. For example, this image of Babe Ruth includes two relevant subject headings, Ruth, Babe,--1895-1948, and Baseball players--1920, that will lead to other images or Ruth and baseball players from the 1920s, respectively.

Finally, several selections of baseball images from the Prints and Photographs Division can be found through Pictorial Americana, an online version of a 1955 Library publication, and the Historic Baseball Resources portal.

 

Sports Byline USA Radio Series

A collection of recorded sports interviews originally broadcast on the radio network program Sports Byline USA, hosted by Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Ron Barr, between 1988 and 2003. Several interviews are currently available for listening on a streaming basis, and many more programs will be added. Baseball players whose interviews are currently available online include Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Jose Canseco.

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  October 22, 2014
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