The title of the 1939 Arthur Rothstein photograph below indicates that the men gathered on this Montrose, Colorado, sidewalk are watching the scoreboard, a blackboard mounted outside the entry of Daily Press Printing. But the two loudspeakers flanking the Daily Press storefront suggest the assembled may also be following a radio broadcast or perhaps very localized play-by-play call from someone inside as the game unfolds in one of the New York Yankees’ four straight wins over the Cincinnati Reds in the ’39 Fall Classic.
The following year, Russell Lee snapped the crowd of men pictured below listening to a 1940 World Series ballgame outside Dixie Radio Service in Saint George, Utah. This time the Reds prevailed in a seven-game thriller of a series over the Detroit Tigers. I wish I could peek inside that open door to see if the space inside is already jam-packed, as I suspect we are seeing the overflow baseball fans outside. In any case, I’d guess that not much in the way of radio sales or service occurred that afternoon during game time!
Both of these photographs, from the era preceding television’s ubiquity, are contained within the Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information (FSA/OWI) Collection of about 175,000 black-and-white negatives capturing American life between 1935 and 1944. And, of course, the pictorial documentation includes Americans love of baseball!
- See more than 150 World Series pictures in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.
- Browse through some 180 baseball related photographs in the FSA/OWI Collection of black-and-white negatives.
- View the Baseball Americana set of pictures from the Library of Congress on Flickr, which illustrates how baseball came to be known as the “national pastime” in the United States. Also, the Bain News Service photographs in Flickr offer hundreds of baseball images.
- Meet the baseball legends of yesteryear in a Library of Congress treasure trove — the collection of early Baseball Cards — consisting of 2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914.
- Revisit baseball glory from the past with Historic Baseball Resources at the Library of Congress.