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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Star Bloomer Girls Base Ball Club, 1905. Photomechanical print. Chicago: Cross Printing Co. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (116.00.00)

Bloomer Girls

From the late nineteenth century until the 1930s, women could play ball professionally on “bloomer girls” teams, a reference to suffragist Adelaide Jenks Bloomer. These clubs barnstormed the country, and the Star Bloomers, shown here, at one point traveled in a private Pullman car and carried portable stands that sat two thousand spectators. Most teams included at least one male player (who might don a curly-haired wig) and competed against men’s amateur, semi-pro or minor league squads, rather than other women’s teams.