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Bloomer GirlsWomen Baseball Pioneers$
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Debra A. Shattuck

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040375

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040375.001.0001

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Creating a National Pastime

Creating a National Pastime

(p.9) 1. Creating a National Pastime
Bloomer Girls

Debra A. Shattuck

University of Illinois Press

This chapter notes that humans have played bat and ball games for thousands of years. Homer spoke of the princess Nausica playing “at ball” with her maids. Girls and women played baseball in Britain as early as the eighteenth century and American girls and women followed suit in the nineteenth. During the 1850s and 1860s, there was little pushback against female players even as adult men began altering the rules of baseball and crafting a narrative to distinguish their sport from “child’s play.” The muscular Christianity movement enabled male players to link baseball with ideals of manliness, morality, and robust health. Women, like Frances Dana Gage, argued that baseball could help girls and women be more physically fit too.

Keywords:   national pastime, Homer, Britain, muscular Christianity, Frances Dana Gage, manliness, morality, robust health, baseball

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