Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Baseball Cards, 1887-1914

[Detail] A. A. Mattern/John Kling. Hassan Triple Folders, 1912.

Urbanization | Leisure Activities & Mass Entertainment | Segregation & The Struggle for Equality | Tobacco Industry

Leisure Activities & Mass Entertainment

At the turn of the century, Americans had increasing amounts of leisure time as the industrial work day became standardized. Weekends and vacation time allowed for popular forms of entertainment. Most popular were those that entertained many people at once. Baseball was a fun recreational activity whether you were playing with your team or watching with other spectators. See the section Game Day in the Majors of "Early Baseball Pictures, 1860s - 1920s" to learn more about baseball as entertainment.

Students can find the answers to these questions:

  • How many people could play baseball at once?
  • How many people could watch the game?
  • Did you need exceptional skills to play baseball?
  • Did it matter how wealthy you were or how old you were?
  • Did everyone need to be fluent in the same language? Or could players get by without much verbal communication?
  • What other forms of entertainment were popular at this time?

By answering these questions, students will determine that baseball was a leisure activity that many people could play at once or watch, well-suited to large urban populations. In addition, whatever one's skill level, age or ability to communicate, one could play baseball.