A treasure trove of free baseball materials are available through the Library of Congress website. While some of these materials are scattered throughout the site, several major digital collections and databases serve as gateways to the vast majority of the Library's online baseball content. These resources are described below, along with notable digital collections, databases, and catalogs not focused exclusively on baseball but which nevertheless include significant and historical primary sources about the game.
For guidance on how to locate other baseball materials available on the Library's website, consult the Search Tips section of this page.
The Library's digital collections provide access to primary source materials such as letters, diaries, photographs, maps, sound recordings, and video recordings that serve as a record of American history and culture. The following digital collections constitute the major online baseball collections available through the Library of Congress.
The Library's Exhibitions pages feature digitized versions of present and past physical exhibits held at the Library since the early 1990s. Many exhibits feature baseball-related items. Below is a list of online exhibits that include baseball-related materials, including, when possible, the individual pages on which the materials appear. The Library's most significant baseball exhibit, discussed below, is Baseball Americana.
The Library of Congress features multiple blogs emphasizing the collections and services of its reading rooms and divisions. A selection of baseball-related posts from these blogs follows below. To locate other baseball-related blog posts you can search on the term baseball across all blogs.
The Library of Congress website features a number of webcasts and videos about baseball and its history. These include historical footage of baseball being played at amateur and professional levels, media coverage of baseball-related events, and recitation of baseball poetry, as well as more recent webcasts of baseball-related programs and book talks filmed at the Library of Congress and the National Book Festival. All of these videos are listed below.
Today in History highlights significant events or figures in American History associated with a particular day. Every Today in History feature includes a brief essay supported by primary resources, followed by a "Learn More" section that offers suggestions for finding related Library of Congress resources. Below are Today in History features, arranged chronologically, that highlight baseball-related figures and events.
Many sections of the Library's website not highlighted elsewhere on this page include essays, images, books, and other features that highlight the game of baseball. Descriptions of these sections, along with links to specific baseball content that can be found within then, appear below.
America's Library is designed for children and their families to explore people, places, and events in American history. America's Library includes a number of brief stories and features related to significant people and events in baseball history. Links to these items, arranged chronologically, are listed below.
The Library's Teacher Resources pages are designed to help teachers and other educators incorporate primary source materials, including those in the Library's digital collections, into the classroom. The Teachers Resources pages include lesson plans, primary source sets, and other resources teachers can use with their students.
Chronicling America is a free, national, searchable database of historic American newspaper pages published between 1777 and 1963. Through Chronicling America users can search millions of digitized newspaper pages to trace the early history of baseball as documented by the American press.
The Library's Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room has created three topic guides, drawing upon the content in Chronicling America, related to baseball:
Suggested Search Terms
Use Chronicling America's Advanced Search page to search newspapers by date, location, and newspaper title, and to conduct phrase searches. Sample search terms (also applicable to searching other sections of the Library's website) are:
The Veterans History Project (VHP) preserves and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans from World War I to the present so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Each VHP collection receives an online Biographical Information record, which includes the participant’s name, affiliation, and military service details. Some collections are digitized and made available online. You can locate records that include references to baseball through the VHP online database. A search on the keyword baseball retrieves approximately fifteen records. Among them, the digitized Vincent Simonelli Collection (see finding aid), includes letters (example one ; example two) from the Vietnam War veteran about following the National and American Baseball Leagues.
The Wise Guide, which ceased activity in 2011, was designed to introduce users to some of the most fascinating, educational, and useful resources available from the Library of Congress. Many of the Wise Guide's monthly articles highlight the Library's baseball resources. These entries are listed below:
Most of the Library's online collections, databases, and Web pages can searched through the Library's primary search engine, located on the Library's home page as well as at https://www.loc.gov/search/.
The Library's search engine takes advantage of "faceted searching," which allows users to refine the results of an initial keyword search, or to browse for content using various categories of information (facets) related to items in the Library's physical and online collections. To view available facets, go to https://www.loc.gov/search/ and examine the options in the "Refine your results" column at the left of the page:
Major facets available include Original Format; Online Format; Date; Location; Part of; Contributor; Subject; Language; and Access Condition. Under each major facet are numerous, more specific facets that you can select to narrow a results set. The default for search results is to display materials available online. Select "All Items" to change the list of results to include records for items in the Library's physical collections.
When using the main search page to locate baseball materials, you do no need to enter an initial keyword search in order to begin refining results by facet. You can immediately start browsing by facet and locating materials without ever needing to conduct a keyword search.
One of the most important facets for identifying baseball-related material on the Library's website is the Subject facet:
To find subjects related to baseball, select "More Subjects" at the bottom of this facet to open up a larger list of subjects:
This larger list of subjects is arranged by number of matches, from the subject with the most available items to the subject with the least. You can browse this list to find subjects related to baseball—select "Alphabetically" to search for subjects that begin with a specific word or phrase, such as Ruth, Babe. Searching alphabetically on "Baseball" will bring you to a page listing all subjects that begin with that term:
You can select a specific heading to be brought to a list of items assigned it.
Rather than beginning your search by using the "Refine your results" facets, you can begin with a keyword search and then refine the keyword results by facet. For example, you can search across the Library's website on the keyword baseball by entering the term into the search box at the top of the main search page (or other Library pages):
The default arrangement is by number of matching items, though the list can be sorted alphabetically as well. Once you find a subject, or another facet, in which you are interested, select it to be brought to a list of items on the Library's website assigned that facet that also include a match on the keyword baseball. For example, if you are interested in baseball sheet music, select Notated Music under the "Original Format" facet:
This will bring you to a results page listing items on the Library's website that include a match on the keyword baseball and whose original format is Notated Music:
You can browse this list of results or resort them using the "View" drop-down menu at the top of the results list. If you want to further refine your results, you can again use the facets available from the "Refine your results" column at the left. For instance, if you want to narrow your results to notated music published in 1908, go to the Date facet and select "1900-1999":
Once you select this date range, the facets listed under Date will automatically adjust to present a refined list of dates from which to choose, this time by decade:
When you choose a decade the list will again be refined, this time by individual year. After selecting "1900 to 1909" you can then select "1908" from the more refined list of Date facets to be brought to matching items in our online collections: items published in 1908, whose original format is Notated Music, and whose text or record includes the keyword baseball:
When searching or limiting results by facet, keep in mind that the same facet, such as Date or Subject, can often be refined multiple times. For example, if you begin your search by limiting content to the subject Baseball, you can return to the Subject facet to find a newly refined list of subject facets that includes more granular subjects from which to choose:
Clicking on the "More Subjects" link will open the complete list of refined subject facets from which you can choose. You can refine results by two, three, or more Subject facets, and combine that search with other facets (e.g., Original Format, Location, and Date) as you browse for content.
Leveraging the power of faceted searching from the Library's faceted search home page, as well from the main Subject page for baseball, you can quickly and efficiently mine much of the Library's online baseball-related content to find exactly the types of resources in which you are interested.
For more help on using the Library's main search box and faceted search options, review the Library's Search Help page, which gives tips on several search techniques, including how best to search the site by keyword.