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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Jane Austen. Northanger Abbey. London: John Murray, 1818. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (101.00.00)

Baseball and Jane Austen

Not known for sports coverage, the novelist Jane Austen nonetheless gave her heroine Catherine Morland a liking for “base ball.” Women of Austen’s era did play baseball, though the game is thought to have been more social than competitive. In 1755, Englishman William Bray noted in his diary a scene that could have come right out of a Jane Austen novel, when he wrote of joining several young ladies and gentlemen at Miss Jeale’s for tea and “to play at Base Ball.”