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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Baseball Cards, 1887-1914

[Detail] A. A. Mattern/John Kling. Hassan Triple Folders, 1912.

At the turn of the century, America was developing into an industrial nation with growing urban populations, arriving immigrants, and new labor forces. During this time, baseball was growing in popularity. Baseball Cards, 1887-1914, with its 2,100 items, provides a launching point for the study of this era of United States history.

Urbanization

Washington Nationals, 1913, Fatima Team Cards

[Washington Nationals] 1913, Fatima Team Cards

Many people moved to American cities at the turn of the century for economic, social, and political opportunities. Cities were the center of the industrial revolution, providing employment to recent immigrants, as well as those displaced from their rural homes. Professional baseball teams were located in these growing urban centers. Students can browse the list of cities represented by the baseball cards in the collection. Students can discuss why a certain city may or may not have had a baseball team. Are these factors the same ones that influence where baseball teams are located today? What might it have meant to a city and its people to have had a baseball team during this period of urbanization? What roles might baseball have played in these cities and city life? What does it mean today for a city to have its own team?

Students can search on baseball in Panoramic Photographs to find photographic images of people playing the game.

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