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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Events & Resources

Please see the Library’s public events calendar for a schedule of ongoing tours, talks, and other activities related to Baseball.

Conversation with “Moneyball” Author Michael Lewis

Thursday, June 28, at 7 p.m.
Location: Coolidge Auditorium, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building

Rob Neyer, former ESPN analyst and author of the forthcoming book “Power Ball: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game,” will interview best-selling author Michael Lewis about his 2003 book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” and the use of sabermetrics in baseball. Ticketholders will have access to the exhibition “Baseball Americana” between 5 and 7 p.m., before the official public opening on June 29.

Tickets are available for this free event on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit this event ticketing site, External, for more information and to secure your ticket.

Summer Film Series: “Field of Dreams“

Thursday, July 12, at 8 p.m. – Film begins at sunset
Location: Thomas Jefferson Building North Lawn

The Library is presenting an outdoor film festival this summer to showcase several modern classics that have been added to the Library’s National Film Registry. The first in the series will be “Field of Dreams,” the 1989 film starring Kevin Costner as an Iowa farmer who hears a voice telling him to turn a corner of his land into a baseball diamond. “If you build it, he will come,” the voice says. “He” appears to be legendary baseball great Shoeless Joe Jackson and his 1919 Black Sox team.

Registration information for this free event will be announced at a later date.

Inside Baseball: LC Labs Hack-a-thon

Friday, July 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Location: Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building

The Library’s LC Labs is hosting a weeklong “flashbuild” hack-a-thon July 9-12 to create new digital tools and visualizations for research and exploration of baseball-related collections as data with partners from JSTOR Labs, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and Wikimedia. On Friday, July 13, each of the partner organizations will present on the prototype tools and visualizations they developed during the week. The event will close with a discussion about the role of baseball in American life. During the daylong public program, the Library’s National Digital Initiatives team also will present on other collections as data topics.

Tickets are available for this free event on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit this event ticketing site, External, for more information and to secure your ticket.

Baseball Americana Family Day

Saturday, July 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Thomas Jefferson Building, various locations

The Library presents a day filled with baseball-themed events for visitors of all ages. All events are free, and tickets are available where noted, but are not required. Tours of the “Baseball Americana” exhibition will be available at 10 a.m. and noon. Visit this event ticketing site, External, for more information and to secure your ticket.

10 a.m. - noon Vintage Baseball Clinic
Location: North Lawn, Thomas Jefferson Building

Vintage baseball is baseball played to the rules of play from the 19th century. Join vintage players from the Diamond State Base Ball Club for drop-in instruction on baseball rules from 1864 and opportunities to handle equipment from the period.

10:30 a.m. Baseball Story Time
Location: Whittall Pavilion, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building

The Young Readers Center presents a baseball-themed story time with books, songs and activities for children ages 3 and up.

11 a.m. -11:50 a.m. “Black Diamond:” A Play from Smithsonian’s Discovery Theater
Location: Coolidge Auditorium, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building

Follow the struggles and triumphs of pioneering African-American baseball players Moses “Fleet” Walker, who became the game’s first black pro in the 1880s; Andrew “Rube” Foster, hailed as the father of black baseball; power hitter Josh “Spitfire” Gibson; athlete-philosopher Satchel Paige; and a young Jackie Robinson, who first integrated the major leagues. Recommended for ages 5 to 12. Tickets are available for this free event, but not required.

Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit this event ticketing site, External, for more information and to secure your ticket.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bat-Making Demonstration
Location: Thomas Jefferson Building Terrace

Local batmaker Juan Baret will demonstrate the craft of bat making in an ongoing, drop-in presentation.

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. “The Origins of the Modern Game: The Laws of Base Ball”
Location: Whittall Pavilion, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building

John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball, will discuss original documents from the landmark 1857 meeting of New York baseball clubs that established the rules of the modern game. Recently rediscovered, the “Laws of Base Ball” manuscripts will be on view in “Baseball Americana” in their first major exhibition.

Tickets are available for this free event on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit this event ticketing site, External, for more information and to secure your ticket.

Webinar: Batter Up! Baseball at the Library of Congress

Tuesday, July 31, 2:30 p.m.
Online at

The Library’s rich and unique holdings include many items that document the history of baseball and Americans’ fascination with the game. Through photographs, baseball cards, official games guides, newspaper reportage, scouting reports, films and memorabilia—much of which is now available online—the Library’s collections offer a firsthand look at the development and growth of baseball from the 19th through the mid-20th centuries. Join librarians from the Researcher and Reference Services Division for a free online webinar that explores the history of America’s favorite pastime through the digital collections.

Gallery Talks

These 30-minute talks are led by Library staff and highlight selected items on display in the “Baseball Americana” gallery. All talks take place inside the exhibition, South Gallery, Second Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building. No tickets or reservations are required.

Baseball Cards at the Library of Congress

Friday, July 6, at 11 a.m.

Peter Devereaux, author of the forthcoming book “Game Faces: Early Baseball Cards from the Library of Congress,” will discuss the Library’s collection of baseball cards from 1887 to 1914 and the insights they provide on the players and the game at the turn of the 20th century.

Baseball before the Civil War

Friday, July 20, at 11 a.m.

Americans transformed European bat-and-ball games into a complex, organized and increasingly competitive endeavor that in 1856 was declared the “National Pastime” by the New York Mercury. “Baseball Americana” exhibition curator Susan Reyburn will discuss baseball’s early days and the development of the modern game.

Book Talks

In honor of the start of the World Series, and the exhibition Baseball Americana, the Interpretive Programs Office, in collaboration with the Publishing Office and Researcher and Reference Services, will host a series of book talks by local authors on baseball-related topics.

  • Tuesday, October 23, 12 p.m.
    Tinker to Evers to Chance: The Chicago Cubs and the Dawn of Modern America by David Rapp, published by University of Chicago Press
  • Thursday, October 25, 12 p.m.
    Game Faces: Early Baseball Cards from the Library of Congress by Peter Devereaux, published by Smithsonian Press
  • Saturday, October 27, 2 p.m.
    The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created by Jane Leavy, bestselling author and former staff writer at the Washington Post

Public tours of the exhibition will be available Wednesdays through Fridays at 11 a.m. and Saturdays at 1 p.m. Reserved tours for groups of 10 or more can be arranged by emailing [email protected].

Teacher Resources

Themed Resources: Baseball
Study cultural norms and society’s values through the lens of baseball

Learn More

Read More About It

  • Block, David. Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005.
  • Dickson, Paul. The Dickson Baseball Dictionary. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2009.
  • Casway, Jerrold I. The Culture and Ethnicity of Nineteenth Century Baseball. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2017.
  • Flood, Curt. The Way It Is. New York: Trident Press, 1971.
  • Katz, Harry, et al. Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress. New York: Smithsonian Books/HarperCollins, 2009, 2018.
  • Lewis, Michael. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2003.
  • Lowenfish, Lee. Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009.
  • Luke, Bob. The Most Famous Woman in Baseball: Effa Manley and the Negro Leagues. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2011.
  • Mucciarone, Monica. Alexander Cartwright: The Life Behind the Baseball Legend. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009.
  • Murphy, Cait. Crazy ’08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History. New York: Smithsonian/HarperCollins, 2007.
  • Perelman, Josh, ed. Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American. Philadelpia: National Museum of American Jewish History, 2014.
  • Ring, Jennifer. Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don’t Play Baseball. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.
  • Robinson, Craig. Flip Flop Fly Ball: An Infographic Baseball Adventure. New York: Bloomsbury USA, 2011.
  • Schwarz, Alan. The Numbers Game: Baseball’s Lifelong Fascination with Statistics. New York: T. Dunne Books. 2004.
  • Thorn, John. Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011.
  • Tye, Larry. Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend. New York: Random House. 2009.
  • Wendel, Tim and José Luis Villegas. Far From Home: Latino Baseball Players in America. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2008.

For Young Readers

  • Jeter, Derek and Paul Marshall. The Contract. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2014.
  • Herman, Gail. Who Was Jackie Robinson? New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 2011.
  • Herzog, Brad. H is for Home Run. Chelsea, Michigan: Sleeping Bear Press. 2004.
  • Kelly, David A. The Capital Catch [Ballpark Mysteries Series]. New York: Random House, 2017.
  • Macy, Sue. A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. New York: H. Holt, 1993.
  • Mochizuki, Ken. Baseball Saved Us. New York: Lee & Low, 1993.
  • Simon, Coco. Katie, Batter Up [Cupcake Diaries Series]. New York: Simon Spotlight, 2011.
  • Sports Illustrated Kids. Full Count: Top 10 Lists of Everything in Baseball. New York: Time Home Entertainment, Inc., 2012.
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