Women in Baseball: A Junior Fellow Meets the Bloomer Girls

Star Bloomer Girls Base Ball Club, Indianapolis, Indiana, ca. 1905

This post is by Kendall Deese, an undergraduate student at American University and a 2018 Library of Congress Junior Fellow.

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I am one of 40 Junior Fellows at the Library of Congress this summer, and I have been working on researching women in baseball and updating the Library’s primary source set for educators on baseball.

There are many primary source sets on the Library’s Web site for teachers that educators can look through and use in their own classrooms. The sets range from Thanksgiving, to World War I, to baseball, and to many other topics. No matter what subject educators are teaching, they will most likely be able to find something related to it in at least one of the Library’s primary source sets. This summer I searched through the Library’s online collections to find the best 18 primary sources to update the baseball primary source set.

When I decided that I wanted to do my project on women in baseball, I started researching a women’s baseball team from the early decades of the twentieth century known as the Bloomer Girls. The Bloomer Girls were teams of women, and sometimes two men, who would travel the United States and play men’s semi-professional baseball teams–and the women would often win.

Bloomer Girls teams seem to have mostly been in major cities, like New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and so on. I was able to find a number of pictures of  the many Bloomer Girls teams.

Article on the Feminine Baseball Club at Los Angeles, 1916

One of my favorite articles that I found was about Ida Schnall. She was the captain of the New York Female Giants, the Bloomer Girls team in New York, but decided that she wanted to pursue a career in acting, so she moved to Los Angeles. When she discovered that there was not a Bloomer Girls team in LA, she decided to create her own. With the help of a few other actresses, she created the Feminine Baseball Club at Los Angeles, where she was the captain and manager.

Throughout this whole process, I have been able to find some of the most incredible pictures and newspaper clippings. These are just two of my favorite, but there are many more that can be found on the Library’s Web site if you search for information about the Bloomer Girls.

It has been so incredible to work here over the past 10 weeks, and even though, after the summer ends, I will only be a few miles away at school, I will miss it very much.

Five Questions with Robin Butterhof, Digital Conversion Specialist, Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room

On a day-to-day basis, I’m reviewing digitized newspaper pages from across the United States for adherence to technical requirements. The newspaper pages, digitized as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a joint project of the Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and state cultural heritage institutions, are made available online through Chronicling America.

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One of the great things about my job is that the work changes on a daily basis. At the risk of over-simplifying: I oversee Manuscript Division collections that relate to domestic policy, which includes congressional papers, certain cabinet officials, non-government organizations, journalists, Supreme Court Justices and Federal Court Judges, and our LGBTQ collections.