Hello fellow history lovers, and hello spring! The past few days have been very nice, and great for walking. I had several visitors drop in at the Museum who were out and about. Recently, my wife and I took a walk at the Governor Ames Estate across from the Museum, and we saw crocuses in bloom! Yesterday, we walked Fulton Pond in Mansfield, where young people were walking by with fishing rods in hand. It is so nice to see these signs of spring.
Today I hosted Girl Scout Troop 67010 from Easton. It was really great to have some of our young people visit, and we talked about Easton's history for over two hours! The scouts were excellent, and we delved into a number of topics including reading maps in our collection (I had them locate their homes on our blue maps, then we looked back in time to see who had the oldest street and other things from our maps, which date to 1756.) We also discussed, and sampled, chocolate chip cookies and learned about Ruth Wakefield, who grew up during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. persevered through the Great Depression, and built her very successful Toll House Restaurant and published her famous cookbook. Ruth is a great role model for these young girls who themselves are growing up in a pandemic and uncertain times. I also shared about the Apollos Clark Cemetery on Black Brook Road, and how a group of young people around their age took actions to save it from development.
For today, I couldn't resist sending out something about baseball. The popularity of baseball grew quickly following the Civil War, and by the 1870's rules were published to help standardize the game. As the game grew, it quickly found a use in advertising. Our image today features two early Victorian era advertising cards. Cards like these were usually given away by manufacturers to the stores that carried their products. Many of these cards were produced in a series, and people would continue to purchase the product to get the next "installment" as they came available. Dated 1878, our two cards today are part of a series that poked some fun at the grand game, compliments of C. F. Copeland, Brockton, Mass. who was a dealer in games, toys, fancy goods, and other gift items. One has to chuckle at the "Foul" card where the batter whacks the unsuspecting catcher with his bat. "A Fly" looks more like a line drive to me, but gives the idea to the casual follower of what it means to catch a batted ball. Besides the advertising, these two cards give us a nice look at how the game was initially played - no gloves, a real leather ball, period uniforms, and even a glimpse of a grandstand to watch the game. I hope you enjoy this look at early baseball as we await the current season's heroics.
Until next week, stay well,
Curator: Frank Meninno