Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

October 1, 1998

Two New Collections on Library's Website:
Baseball Cards and Buckaroos Now Available On-Line

More than 2,100 baseball cards, depicting some of the most famous players in the sport, as well as a multimedia collection of materials celebrating ranching culture in northern Nevada are on view at the Library of Congress American Memory Web site at

The baseball cards show such legendary figures as Ty Cobb stealing third base for Detroit, Tris Speaker batting for Boston and pitcher Cy Young posing formally in his Cleveland uniform. Other notable players include Connie Mack, Walter Johnson, King Kelly, and Christy Mathewson.

The images can be seen in the "Baseball Cards, 1887-1914" collection. Baseball cards first became popular in the 1880s when tobacco companies used them to stiffen the small, soft cigarette packages and promote sales. Although the cards vary in design and format, most are 1-1/2 by 2-5/8 inches, much smaller than today's sports trading cards. Issued either as black-and- white photographs or color prints, they portray the ballplayers both in action scenes and formal poses.

Cigarette card collector Benjamin K. Edwards preserved these baseball cards in albums with more than 12,000 other cards on many subjects. After his death, Edwards's daughter gave the albums to noted poet and Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg, who donated them to the Library's Prints and Photographs Division in 1954. This collection is offered in celebration of Major League Baseball's 1998 World Series.

Cowboy work and life on the ranch are the subjects of the new on-line collection "Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945-1982." It presents 42 motion pictures, 28 sound recorded interviews and 2,400 still photographs that portray the people, sites and activities in the Nevada cattle-ranching community of Paradise Valley, with a focus on the family-run Ninety-Six Ranch.

The collection results from a field research project carried out by the American Folklife Center at the Library in 1978-82. Much of the content was created by the folklorists, anthropologists and photographers who worked on the project. Six of the motion pictures were produced by cattle rancher Leslie J. Stewart in the 1940s, and more than 200 of the photographs are historical, dating back to 1870.

The collection documents ranching and the work of buckaroos, as cowboys are commonly called in the region. The activities include a fall roundup and calf branding, in which the buckaroos employ tools and techniques that can be traced to the Spanish California vaqueros who preceded them. Motion picture footage from the 1940s portrays a crew of a dozen men stacking hay with an elaborate device called a "hay derrick." Contrasting scenes depict a crew of three cutting, baling and stacking hay with the sophisticated machinery of the 1980s.

Paradise Valley was originally settled in the 1860s by miners and agriculturists from many places and cultures. The research team paid special attention to local architecture, and many photographs document stone buildings produced by masons from Alpine Italy.

The Web site also offers a "History of the Ninety-Six Ranch," including the "Sagebrush Rebellion" of the 1970s. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, by the 1950s, had reduced the number of animals permitted on the range by a third, even before the "environment" had become a political watchword, and in the 1960s grazing allotments were fenced for the first time. The following decade brought the "Sagebrush Rebellion," a period that saw especially tense relations between cattlemen and federal land managers.

American Memory is a project of the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress, which, in collaboration with other institutions, is bringing its important American historical materials to citizens everywhere. More than 40 collections are now available, including the recent addition of many never- before-seen photographs in "America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photos from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, 1935-1945."

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PR 98-152
ISSN 0731-3527

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