Connecting the Dots with Baseball and Library Online Resources

We thank and the staff of the Library’s Of the People blog for allowing us to republish this post.

What follows is a visual journey of how I was browsing the Library’s digital collections, discovered the By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s collection, found a photo of Cuban-born U.S. major league baseball player Armando Marsans, and began to explore the myriad of resources that emerged.

Image of Chronicling America page pointing out articles of interest

I knew about the Chronicling America website so Marsan’s image led me to research the collection. This is another resource that provides access to historic newspapers and allows you to select digitized newspaper pages. If you search ‘Armando Marsans,’ you will get 685 results containing his name and a wealth of information about this historical period. Marsans is believed to have left Cuba just before the Spanish-American War in 1898. We invite you to discover sources related to this period within these newspapers collection as well. And if you want to research more about Cuba this guide prepared by librarians of the Hispanic Reading Room is great start.

As I continued the research, I thought of searching the Prints and Photographs online catalog. I discovered more images about Armando Marsans, like the one below of his baseball card portrait, part of the Benjamin K. Edwards Collection.

Armando Marsans, Cincinnati Reds, baseball card portrait (1912)

Searching the main Library’s website resulted in finding the exhibition Baseball Americana (2018-2019). The physical exhibition has now ended but you can still explore the materials here. It includes a section of “Cubans in the Majors” with many useful resources.

I also found classroom materials about baseball. You will find primary sources sets and a teacher’s guide in the online presentation Baseball Across a Changing Nation.

Also, you can view, César Brioso discussing his book, “Havana Hardball: Spring Training, Jackie Robinson, and The Cuban League,” which captures the excitement of the Cuban League’s greatest pennant race and the anticipation of the looming challenge to Major League Baseball’s whites only policy. You can watch the recording of his 2016 presentation here.

Finally, LC Labs, a program that supports the digital transformation at the Library, developed two cool experiments about baseball. Mapping an American Pastime lets you explore baseball collections from the Library and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The other experiment, Library of Congress Colors, lets you discover the Library’s collections through color with this application by Laura Wrubel. Choose the collection “Baseball cards” and browse it by colors.

As you can see all these items narrate a deeper history about baseball in the United States. We leave you now to explore our digital collections with your hands full.

As a tip, refining your results is a good strategy when researching topics such as this one. Also, keep in mind the vocabulary used in the historical period you want to learn more about. All searches can be narrowed down by adding filters to your search. You can limit searches with different options, for example: Original Format, Date, Location, Online Format, and Language. In this video, former Library of Congress interns describe ways to access materials online, and this research guide explains several search strategies to explore our collections.

Until the next post! 👋🏽

Other resources to explore include:

Of the People: Widening the Path program website For more information on the Of the People program.

Connecting Communities Digital Initiative page To learn more about the different grant opportunities.

Library of Congress Digital Collections The largest online collection of Library materials with over 1 million items. You will find resources about American history, world cultures, folklife, art, architecture, science, performing arts, among many other topics.

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog These materials are also in the Digital Collections, but here you can narrow your search on items specifically to photographs and posters.

Library of Congress Research Guides Library’s guides organized by research topic and collections – these include both online materials, and materials only available on site.

Library of Congress StoryMaps Multimedia storytelling publications on Library’s materials that can include rare books, photographs, audio recordings, music, maps, and more. Some of these StoryMaps include materials in other languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, and Nahuatl.

Classroom Materials at the Library These are organized primary source collections of online materials that are often paired with teaching and student guides.

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