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Lot # 808 (of 1594)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1857-1858 Porter's Spirit of the Times Newspapers

Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $1,527.50

Two bound volumes of the weekly sporting and entertainment newspaper Porter's Spirit of the Times . One volume covers issues from March 7, 1857, thru August 29, 1857. The second volume covers issues from September 5, 1857, thru February 27, 1858. Each bound volume includes twenty-six issues. Included is incredible period coverage of baseball games between the top teams of the era. Among the entries to be found in these volumes are articles relating to the election of officers of the most prominent New York clubs, including the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, the Excelsior Base Ball Club of Brooklyn, and the Atlantic Base Ball Club of Brooklyn; game announcements; game summaries; and an amazing series of letters (the first appears in the October 24, 1857 issue) from an anonymous reader in which he begins by discussing the origins of baseball. He writes in part: " . .. the game has, no doubt, been played in this country for at least one century...New England, we believe, has always been the play-ground for our favorite game; and the boys of the various villages still play by the same rules as their fathers did before them. We also find that many games are played differing but little from the well known game of base..." In following issues the same writer discusses the history of many of the area's top clubs including the Knickerbockers (noting that the club was first formed in 1842), the Gothams (formed in 1852), and the Empires (formed in 1854). He also provides guidance to prospective clubs with regard to choosing officers, finding suitable grounds, and choosing proper equipment. Interestingly, in his writings he also calls for a convention of the top clubs and the formation of a governing body for baseball (a sentiment echoed by a follow-up letter from a member of the Eagles), thus foreshadowing the formation of the National Association one year later. These newspapers are literally a treasure trove of information and period accounts relating to the earliest days of organized baseball. Both volumes display slight rippling to the pages as the result of having been exposed to moisture (not affecting the turning of the pages nor their readability) and the issues are otherwise in Excellent condition overall. Decades ago deaccessioned from Cornell University Library (library stamps on interior front cover, facing page, and spine of both volumes). Total 2 volumes (26 issues per volume). Reserve $200. Estimate $400/$800. SOLD FOR $1,527.50

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