Guide to the Research Collections

- Baseball


The holdings are of considerable importance for a study of this national sport up to approximately the 1930s. They center around three large gifts: the Spalding, Swales, and Goulston collections. Currently the library acquires such periodicals as The Sporting News (1887-), Amateur Baseball News (1960-), and publications of the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs. Baseball yearbooks are also present, such as Baseball Blue Book (1915-), Little Red Book (1926-), and National League Green Book (1935-).

The personal collection of A.G. Spalding came to the library in 1921 as a gift of his widow. Consisting of over 3,000 books and pamphlets, 102 periodicals, more than 560 photographs, and 30 original drawings (17 by Homer Davenport) the collection documents the history of baseball

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from 1845 to about 1914. It contains much material on other sports, such as cricket, most of it in pamphlet form. Spalding had acquired and incorporated the Harry Wright and Henry Chadwick libraries, in themselves notable; the three collections contain extensive manuscript materials.2

In 1929, Mrs. Bradshaw Hall Swales presented the baseball collection formed by her husband, the noted ornithologist.3 The collection is remarkable for its manuscript rosters of the various leagues dating from 1880 to 1926, and for score records and biographical data. With the collection is a twelve-drawer card file arranged alphabetically by name of player giving vital statistics, batting averages, etc. This file is in the general collections, the rosters and other biographical data are in the Manuscripts and Archives Division.

Leopold Morse Goulston presented his collection in memory of Leo J. Bondy, vice-president and treasurer of the New York Giants, in 1946. The collection is largely pictorial but contains a number of early books that make a contribution to a history of the sport, such as By-Laws and Rules of Order of the Takewambait Base Ball Club of Natick, Massachusetts (1858). Most of the 1,000 portraits of baseball players and pictures of old teams are advertisements inserted in cigarette packages of the late 1800s. There are also silver annual passes designed by Charles Dana Gibson and issued by the New York Giants in 1930 and 1931. Some 20 original drawings are by artists who contributed to the early Life and Puck; prints are included, among them some by Currier and Ives.4