TITLE: Baseball Americana Symposium 2009
SPEAKER: Paul Dickson, Russell Frank, Harry Katz, Claire Smith
EVENT DATE: 2009/10/03
RUNNING TIME: 131 minutes
Even those of us who love a day out at the ballgame probably spend more of our baseball time in and around our homes, with our families, friends and neighbors. This event explores the many ways we enjoy baseball at home, from watching it on TV, to following our favorite players and their all-important statistics, to playing baseball, softball and stickball in parks and city streets.
Speaker Biography: Paul Dickson is the author of more than forty-five nonfiction books and hundreds of magazine articles. Although he has written on a variety of subjects from ice cream to kite flying to electronic warfare, he now concentrates on writing about the American language, baseball and twentieth-century history. Since 1968, he has been a full-time freelance writer contributing articles to various magazines and newspapers, including Smithsonian, Esquire, The Nation, Town & Country, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post, and writing numerous books on a wide range of subjects. Dickson is a founding member and former president of Washington Independent Writers and a member of the National Press Club. He is a contributing editor at Washingtonian magazine and a consulting editor at Merriam-Webster. Dickson is best known for books on baseball that reveal aspects of the game unknown to even the staunchest fans. His groundbreaking work "The Dickson Baseball Dictionary," now in its third edition, was awarded the 1989 Macmillan-SABR Award for Baseball Research. His most recent baseball book, "The Unwritten Rules of Baseball," was published in March 2009. He has also published numerous other works of baseball reference, including "The Hidden Language of Baseball: How Signs and Sign Stealing Have Influenced the Course of our National Pastime," "The Joy of Keeping Score," "Baseball's Greatest Quotations," and "Baseball, the President's Game."
Speaker Biography: Russell Frank is a folklorist by training and a journalist by trade. He worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers in California and Pennsylvania for thirteen years before joining the journalism faculty at Pennsylvania State University, where he has been teaching news writing, feature writing, narrative journalism and journalism ethics since 1998. In addition to his scholarly writing on journalism ethics and narrative journalism, he maintains his connection to the journalism world by writing a weekly column for the website statecollege.com. His latest project marries his folklore and journalism interests: a book about topical folklore on the Internet, to be titled "Newslore." Frank's baseball career began in Elmont, New York, where he was a no-field, no-hit second baseman/right fielder for Milk Maid Ice Cream, a Peewee League team. It ended 25 years later in Sonora, California, with Live Theatre, a slow-pitch softball team. While he was playing third base, a line drive caught him below his left eye. Asked by a concerned teammate if he knew his own name, the prostrate Frank said, "Well, it isn't Brooks Robinson." These days he serves as Head Groundskeeper for the Wiffleball field in the backyard of his house in State College, Pennsylvania.
Speaker Biography: Harry L. Katz, general editor and co-author of "Baseball Americana" (Smithsonian Books/Harper, 2009), served as Curator of Popular & Applied Graphic Art and Head Curator in the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress from 1991 until 2004. An expert on American graphic art, Katz curated two dozen exhibitions at the Library of Congress and led the Library's unparalleled initiative to collect pictorial works representing the documentary and creative response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Katz is also the editor of "Herblock: The Life and Work of the Great Political Cartoonist" (Library of Congress, The Herb Block Foundation, and W.W. Norton, 2009); "Cartoon America: Comic Art at the Library of Congress" (LC and Harry N. Abrams, 2006); cocurator of "Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States" (LC and Alfred A. Knopf, 1997); and editor of "Life of the People: Realist Prints from the Ben and Beatrice Goldstein Collection" (LC, 1999), among other titles. Now independent, he divides his time between Washington, D.C., and Del Mar, California.
Speaker Biography: Claire Smith has worked in sports journalism for over three decades, during which her primary beat has been Major League Baseball. She spent thirty-three years in print journalism, primarily with the Philadelphia Bulletin, Hartford Courant, New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2007, she joined ESPN as a news editor for the network's baseball broadcasts. Claire co-wrote "Don Baylor: Nothing but the Truth, a Baseball Life," an autobiography of a great baseball man. She also continues to work with Fay Vincent, former commissioner of Major League Baseball, on a groundbreaking oral history project to benefit the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. In 1997, Smith was named Sports Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. Four years later, she was presented a Pioneer Award by the Association of Women in Sports Media. The many other honors she has received include three New York Times Publisher's Awards (one of them for coverage of the fiftieth anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking of baseball's color barrier), and two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize (one for a special section on blacks in baseball, by the Hartford Courant, in 1987, the other for general reporting by the New York Times in 1991).