September 10, 2009 Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks, Other Luminaries on Tap for Symposium on Baseball

New, Richly Illustrated Book on Baseball to be Released

Press Contact: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302; Joanne Rasi (202) 707-1733
Public Contact: American Folklife Center (202) 707-5510
Contact: Request ADA accommodations five days in advance (202) 707-6362 or
Website: Baseball Symposium

Hall of Fame player Ernie Banks, all-star pitcher, broadcaster, and manager Larry Dierker, baseball language expert Paul Dickson, and Negro Leagues pitcher Mamie “Peanut” Johnson will be the featured speakers at a two-day symposium, “Baseball Americana,” on Oct. 2 and 3. Admission is free, but advance registration is required. To register, go to

The event is sponsored by the American Folklife Center and coordinated with the publication of the Library’s new book, “Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress.”

“Baseball Americana” will begin with an exhibition of the Library’s baseball treasures on Friday, Oct. 2, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in LJ 119, first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street , S.E, Washington, D.C. Library of Congress curators will be on hand to display and discuss items from the collections, including rare and historically significant baseball cards, photographs and sheet music. During the exhibition, baseball expert and professional appraiser Frank Ceresi will give a presentation on baseball memorabilia. Ceresi will also evaluate memorabilia brought in by audience members.

The symposium continues at 7 p.m. with a screening of memorable baseball clips from the Library’s film and television collections. The screening will be held in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C.

On Saturday, Oct. 3, at 9 a.m., a series of presentations will examine baseball from a number of perspectives, particularly the viewpoints of people who experience the game at home, in the stands and on the field. Speakers will include former players, others who make their living through the game (including a stadium organist and a head groundskeeper), and experts on baseball cuisine, the language of baseball and baseball memorabilia. The last session of the symposium will be an extended interview with Ernie Banks, one of the most popular figures in the baseball world. Banks, a two-time National League MVP and 11-time All Star, got his start in the Negro Leagues and was the first African American player hired by the Chicago Cubs. He spent his entire Major League career with the Cubs and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.

“Baseball Americana” will culminate with a book-signing at 5:30 p.m. featuring the authors of the new, illustrated book “Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress.” Drawn from the world's largest collection of historical baseball images, the book celebrates the national pastime with a spectacular pictorial array of invaluable items, some dating to the 18th century. The book features a lively narrative overview of the game's history and includes prints, drawings, cartoons, posters, advertisements, photographs, maps, produce and tobacco labels, early motion-picture film frames, sheet-music covers, and ephemera that depict baseball's growth and its constant presence in American life. More than 350 images—many seldom seen or never-before-published—chronicle the game's hardscrabble history well beyond the Major Leagues, reaching into backyards, farmers' fields, inner-city lots, wartime prison camps, rickety stadiums, and anywhere else Americans have marked out a diamond and batted a ball.

Saturday’s events will be held in the Coolidge Auditorium, ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building.

In addition, the Library’s American Folklife Center has recently acquired a collection of one-of-a-kind oral history interviews with former professional players and managers, organized and conducted by Fay Vincent, a former commissioner of Major League Baseball.

The Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may be accessed through the Library’s website,, and via interactive exhibitions on

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to “preserve and present American folklife” through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs, and training. The Center includes the American Folklife Center Archive of folk culture, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. Please visit the AFC website at


PR 09-168
ISSN 0731-3527