Baseball Americana
For the enjoyment of sports fans and photo fans alike, this set of old (old) pictures illustrates how baseball came to be known as the “national pastime” in the United States.

You’ll see players in all shapes and sizes, from the 1860s to the 1940s. You can observe local teams that gathered in neighborhoods, schools, factories, and elsewhere. You can also gaze at national stars like King Kelly, Casey Stengel in sunglasses, and Babe Ruth knocked out.

This introduction to the vast and varied baseball resources at the Library of Congress comes to you from a new book called Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress.

The book features a lively narrative overview of the game's history told through prints, drawings, cartoons, posters, advertisements, photographs, maps, produce and tobacco labels, early motion-picture film frames, sheet-music covers, and ephemera. A two-day symposium on baseball at the Library on October 2-3, 2009, adds to the story with a new collection of oral histories.

Who Took the Photos for Baseball Cards?

Paul Thompson, for one. He captured vivid portraits of players in the dugouts at New York ballparks using a 5 x7 inch view camera in 1910. Result: Johnny Evers on a gold border baseball card in 1911.

Try your own hand at matching other Thompson portraits to baseball cards at the LOC!
(Hint: the Johnny Evers portrait also appeared on a Hassan Triple Folder with Frank Chance.)

More Baseball from LOC in Flickr

The Bain News Service photographs in Flickr offer hundreds of baseball images.

Learn More About LOC Baseball Collections

- Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress. By Harry Katz, Frank Ceresi, Phil Michel, Wilson McBee, and Susan Reyburn. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books/HarperCollins in association with the Library of Congress, 2009,

- Historic Baseball Resources,
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