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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Charles H. Williamson. Champions of America, 1865. Photograph mounted on card. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (014.00.00)

The Earliest Known Baseball Card

Having won several city championships, the Brooklyn Atlantics dominated New York baseball in the early 1860s. The team’s carte de visite (a visiting card), produced in 1865, is considered the earliest extant dated “baseball card,” a souvenir handed out to fans and even to opposing teams. That year, the Atlantics expanded their range and accepted a challenge from the Tri-Mountain Club held on Boston Common. Some three thousand spectators watched the visitors sprint away with a 107–16 victory.