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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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The 1880s: Molding Manly Men and Disappearing Women

The 1880s: Molding Manly Men and Disappearing Women

(p.93) 4. The 1880s: Molding Manly Men and Disappearing Women
Bloomer Girls

Debra A. Shattuck

University of Illinois Press

During the 1880s the narrative of female players became distorted as professional players and boosters like John Montgomery Ward and Sporting Life editor, Francis C. Richter, sought to discredit and “disappear” them. Baseball’s popularity was reflected in myriad cultural forms (books, poems, games, songs, etc.) and many believed that the sport was protecting American “civilization” from fracturing as waves of new immigrants poured into the country. Newspapers joked about inept female players while illustrations and baseball cards sexualized them or lampooned their physical appearance. Nonetheless, girls and women kept playing on amateur/professional and scholastic/collegiate teams. Unscrupulous male entrepreneurs like Sylvester F. Wilson harmed the reputation of female professional players by fielding incompetent teams.

Keywords:   John Montgomery Ward, Francis C. Richter, Sylvester F. Wilson, American civilization, female players, immigrants, baseball cards

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