Reading Gay Sports Magazine in Honor of Pride Month

by Greg Bond, Sports Archivist and Curator, Joyce Sports Research Collection

“Welcome to Gay Sports. As we all know—sports are an integral part of American society. This love of competition is as exciting to the Gay Community as it is to the Straight Community. In the months to come, this publication will bring you information about Gay men and women athletes competing in sporting events locally and nationally. Gay Sports is your publication. Keep us informed of what you are doing.”

Gay Sports Nov. 1982 (vol. 1, no. 1), page 4.

Publisher Mark Brown’s introductory note in the inaugural 1982 issue of the San Francisco-based Gay Sports announced the purpose of the new publication to readers. The monthly publication—one of the earliest serials devoted to sports in the gay community—would cover national sports news, but the focus of the magazine was on publicizing and building community among gay and lesbian athletes and their allies. In honor of LGBTQ Pride Month, Rare Books & Special Collections (RBSC) highlights the recent acquisition of two issues (vol 1, no. 1 – November 1982; and vol 2, no. 7 – September 1983) of this scarce publication.

The cover story in the first issue of Gay Sports—then called Bay Area Gay Sports—was a feature by Duke Joyce (Nov. 1982, p. 5) about former major league baseball player Glenn Burke, who had recently publicly acknowledged that he was gay. Burke played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland A’s from 1976 to 1979, but he had struggled with his identity as a gay man while playing professional baseball. As the article explains, he “endured subtle, yet cruel innuendos” and discrimination from management. In the end, he wanted to be “truthful to himself” and not lead a “double life,” so he retired from baseball.

Joyce wrote that “being a homosexual in any homophobic environment is agonizing enough, but in the revered Major League, it is damn near sacreligious,” and he observed that there would likely be no room for “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Queers” any time soon. He applauded Burke’s courage in going public and hoped that he had “managed to further erode the stereotypical image of gays.” In closing, Glenn Burke, himself, observed: “It’s your life, and nobody else is going to live it for you. You’ve got to have self respect.”

Pictures from the 1983 Gay World Series in Chicago.
(Gay Sports September 1983, pp. 12-13)

Glenn Burke’s coming out was a prominent national news story, but most of the articles in Gay Sports focused on local and community-based sports leagues or competitions for gay athletes. The annual Gay World Series softball tournament routinely received lots of attention, as did the quadrennial Gay Games. (For more information about the Gay Games, please see also the Gay Games Collection, MSSP 10070, in RBSC or the recent digital exhibit “Papers Alight: Contextualizing Mike Curato’s Flamer“).

Images from the 1983 Bay Area Women’s Softball League.
(Gay Sports September 1983, pp. 6-7)

Most articles focused on local leagues and organizations that helped build communities and networks of support for gay and lesbian athletes in the Bay Area or in other cities around the country. These two issues are replete with articles about local softball leagues, tennis tournaments, swimming competitions, hiking outings, bicycling groups, billiards leagues, bowling tournaments, flag football teams, and many other types of sports and athletics.

Members of the San Francisco Different Spokes Cycling Club pose on the cover of the September 1983 issue of Gay Sports.

These sporting activities served a variety of roles and were an important part of many people’s lives. The organizer of an overseas bicycling trip described, for example, “the ease and comfort of traveling with an all gay group” (Sept. 1983, p. 8). The leader of a San Francisco cycling club noted the value in “informally representing a portion of the gay community to the bicycling world” (Sept. 1983, p. 10). But, for the most part, the various sports leagues were about safe spaces for friendship and community. The author of an article about bowling leagues simply wrote that competitors “come together not only to enjoy the sport, but also more importantly, to enjoy each other . . . . for therein lies the magic!” (Sept. 1983, p. 18).

These issues of Gay Sports are available to researchers. RBSC welcomes new donations of Gay Sports magazine to expand our holdings of this important title.

Researching the Negro Leagues and African American Baseball in RBSC

by Greg Bond, Sports Archivist and Curator, Joyce Sports Research Collection

Major League Baseball (MLB) recently announced that it has updated its official record book to include Negro Leagues statistics from the years 1920–1948. MLB has belatedly recognized that the highest levels of African American baseball during the era of segregation constituted “major league” competition. 

The expanded inclusive record book now counts player statistics from the Negro Leagues on an equal basis with those from the National League and the American League. In these years, organized white baseball leagues notoriously excluded Black players from the playing field until Jackie Robinson’s debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 (read a recent RBSC blog post about Jackie Robinson). 

MLB’s rewritten record book now officially recognizes the statistical accomplishments of legendary African American baseball players like power-hitting catcher Josh Gibson, MLB’s new all-time leader in batting average and slugging percentage, and pitcher Satchel Paige, who now boasts MLB’s the third-lowest single-season earned run average.

In recognition of this announcement and in honor of the upcoming Juneteenth holiday, Rare Books & Special Collections highlights material from its collections that document the history of African American baseball. These resources will allow researchers to better contextualize and understand the statistics and the history of the Negro Leagues.

The Birmingham Black Barons Records (MSSP 0001) is a unique and important collection that documents the financial operation of the Black Barons, an influential Negro National League team. The collection includes a thick financial ledger book that lists the debits and credits—including salaries, fines, advances, expenses, etc.—for players from the 1926 through the 1930 seasons, a span which includes Leroy “Satchel” Paige’s rookie year. The Black Barons ledger book allows a rare opportunity for researchers to see the day-to-day finances of a major Negro League team. The complete ledge book has been fully digitized and is available to view through Marble.

The Birmingham Black Barons ledger book pages for Leroy “Satchel” Paige in 1928 show monthly salary credits of $80.00 and include debits on April 7th for shoes from Gray’s Sporting Goods ($7.50); unidentified debits on June 21st and June 30th to “Dr. Bradford” ($10.00 and $15.00); and fines on July 30th for “Not appearing in uniform in St. Louis” ($5.00) and “Staying out all night at Chicago” ($10.00).

The Negro Leagues Pennant Collection (MSSP 10079) contains nine vintage (c. 1930s-1940s) felt pennants advertising African American baseball teams. These rare original souvenirs document the fan experience and the iconography of the Negro Leagues.

MSSP 10079-02 and 10079-03: The Negro League Pennant Collection includes two variants of pennants for the Homestead Grays, Josh Gibson’s primary Negro Leagues team.

RBSC holds a scarce original copy of Sol White’s History of Colored Base Ball [Special Coll.Vault • GV 863 .A1 W45 1907], an incredibly important 1908 book by manager and former player Sol White. One of the first comprehensive histories of African Americans in baseball, White’s research documented the early experiences of Black baseball players before the establishment of the formal Negro Leagues. Since it original publication, this book has been an essential source for the historiography of African American baseball. The profusely illustrated 120-page volume has been digitized and is available to be viewed via Marble.

The champion 1902 Philadelphia Giants team picture is one more than 50 photographs printed and preserved in Sol White’s book.

A four-page 1926 advertising pamphlet for the Illinois Giants of Chicago [Rare Books Large • GV 875 .N35 I5 1926] documents the experiences of a lesser-known minor league African American baseball team.

The advertising pamphlet for the Illinois Giants of Chicago declared that “Our team attained almost unbeatable form at that period and bowled over the leading semi-pro teams of Michigan and Wisconsin in rapid succession.” As an indication of the complicated racial politics of the era, the flier emphasized that the Giants were “under WHITE MANAGEMENT” perhaps to make games against the team more palatable to white fans.

The Negro Baseball Yearbook [Rare Books Large • GV 875 .N34 N46], published annually in the mid-1940s, celebrated and recorded the yearly accomplishments of African American baseball players.

These and other sources are all open to the public and available to researchers who would like to learn more about and to better understand the Negro Leagues and the experiences of African American baseball players during the age of segregation.

Influencing Opinion by Mapping the Early American Civil War

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian and Curator

Rare Books and Special Collection recently acquired a Civil War broadside (a.k.a., poster) that was published very early in the conflict, probably in August or September 1861. Produced and printed in Boston, the map provided a Northern perspective on the war as it had unfolded to that point and offered reassurance about the conflict’s ultimate outcome. First, the broadside’s creators remind viewers that despite the Confederacy’s initial victories—at Fort Sumter in April and the Battle of Bull Run in July—the Union had prevailed in a battle for continued control of Fort Monroe, near Norfolk, Virginia, in May. The stronghold was strategically significant for Union designs on the Confederate’s capital at Richmond. Secondly, the broadside’s authors convey confidence that the North’s superior population and larger economy would ultimately prevail. 

Distance Maps. Map of the Atlantic States, Showing 50 Mile Distances from Washington. Map of the Battleground [at Manassas] Showing 5 Mile Distances from Washington. Map of the Fortress Monroe, Showing 1 Mile Distances from the Fortress. L. Prang & Co.: Boston, 1861.

The broadside’s most prominent feature is its three distance maps. The largest is a railroad map of the United States that shows distances from Washington, D.C. One of two smaller maps indicates distance from Washington to an unnamed battle ground, which people at the time would have understood as the Battle of Bull Run, just 30 miles from the capital. The Confederates had recently routed Union forces there, an outcome that worried many Northerners who had, until that point, expected a quick and decisive end to the war. 

The third distance map shows a detail of Norfolk Harbor and Fort Monroe, the site of a recent Union victory. The fortress remained in Union control throughout the war. 

Finally, this broadside provides population figures for the nation’s cities and towns, and states, as well as the number of enslaved people in states and territories. This data reinforced what even a glance at the railroad map implied: the North’s more developed industrial and economic infrastructure along with its superior numbers pointed to an eventual Union victory.

A happy Memorial Day to you and yours
from all of us in Notre Dame’s Special Collections!

2023 post: A Woman’s Reporting on the Bonus Army in Depression-Era Washington
2022 post: Representing Decoration Day in a 19th Century Political Magazine
2021 post: An Early Civil War Caricature of Jefferson Davis
2020 post: Narratives about the Corby Statues—at Gettysburg and on Campus
2019 post: Myths and Memorials
2018 post: “Decoration Day” poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
2017 post: “Memorial Day” poem by Joyce Kilmer
2016 post: Memorial Day: Stories of War by a Civil War Veteran

Rare Books and Special Collections is closed today (May 27th) for Memorial Day and will be closed on July 4th for Independence Day. Otherwise, RBSC will be open regular hours this summer — 9:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

Congratulations to the 2024 Graduates!

Best wishes to the 2024 graduates of the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College, from all of us in Rare Books and Special Collections.

We would particularly like to congratulate the following student who worked in Special Collections during their time on campus:

Anne Elise Crafton (ND ’24), Ph.D., Medieval Studies. Their dissertation is titled “You Sound Like a Wif: The Representation of Women’s Speech in Old English”.

Both images: MSE/EM 110-1B, Diploma, University of Padua, 1690

Women’s History Month 2024

We join the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history by celebrating Women’s History Month.

Second-Wave Feminist Articles from an Underground Newspaper

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian and Curator

So What Are We Complaining About? is a 48-page booklet of feminist articles collected and reprinted from the pages of an underground newspaper, the Old Mole, published in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The booklet’s publication was a joint venture of the Old Mole and Bread and Roses, a socialist women’s liberation collective, in 1970. The booklet was created by the women’s caucus, a group within Bread and Roses. The Old Mole, which appeared bi-weekly from 1968 to 1970, was the publication of the Harvard chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

It’s not surprising that Bread and Roses women wished to collect and recirculate this content. Among the collective’s founders were activists and a historians Meredith Tax and Linda Gordon. Both women contributed significantly to the feminist movement in the United States from the 1970s and wrote much of its history. Reprinting was one of the best and only ways to publicize content that had already appeared in print, often in small, locally-circulated and ephemeral papers like the Old Mole.

Tax and Gordon founded Bread and Roses in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1969 as a women’s liberation organization. They chose “Bread and Roses” because it both references an historic labor strike by women (Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912) and it captures what the collective wanted to attain for women—economic opportunity (“bread”) and quality of life (“roses”). Over the nearly two years the collective was active, it attracted hundreds of members, many of whom were clerical workers who faced poor wages and working conditions. A number of reprinted articles address these problems. The collective took action by forming a union, 9to5, for local clerical workers. Another legacy project became the women’s health resource, Our Bodies, Ourselves, which developed out of the collective’s 1970 initiative, “Women and Their Bodies: A Course.”

Other features included in this short volume are Bread and Roses’ declaration of women’s rights (March 1970); a satirical, “liberated,” comic strip; and a short history about the establishment of International Women’s Day.

So What Are We Complaining About? is a new acquisition in Rare Books and Special Collections and is part of a growing collection of second-wave, feminist periodicals and newspapers. 

Happy Holidays from Special Collections!

Rare Books and Special Collections is open Monday through Thursday this week (December 18-21, 2023) — appointments are recommended. After that, we will be closed from Friday, December 22, 2023, through Monday, January 1, 2024, in participation with the campus-wide holiday break for all faculty, staff, and students.

Special Collections will reopen on Tuesday, January 2, 2024.

This is the last blog post for 2023.
Happy Holidays to you and yours from
Notre Dame’s Rare Books and Special Collections!

The Christmas Number of the Lake Michigan Yachting News,
December 1925, published by the Chicago Yacht Club.
Special Collections, Rare Books In Process

by Greg Bond, Sports Archivist and Curator, Joyce Sports Research Collection

This post features images—including this colorful jack-in-the-box Christmas cover—from the Lake Michigan Yachting News, the official publication of the Chicago Yacht Club. The Yachting News covered all aspects of yachting and boating on Lake Michigan, reporting about sailing races, popular excursion routes, environmental conditions, sailing technology and equipment, and the social activities of the Midwestern yachting set.

The Yachting News also frequently relied on humor and satire in its columns as shown by the “Just a Few Merry Christmas Hints” column below. The journal’s tongue-in-cheek holiday gift suggestions included this advice:

If you have a friend who is a racing skipper you may give him a bunch of your old safety razor blades for splitting hairs on questions of rules. If you have a friend on the Race Committee, give him a drink—he will need it.

Hesburgh Libraries recently acquired a bound volume with 18 issues of the Lake Michigan Yachting News for the years 1925 and 1926. Worldcat lists only three other libraries with scattered holdings of this scarce publication.

Beat Generation Cookbook: Illustrated

by Rachel Bohlmann, American History Librarian and Curator

As a holiday centered around a meal, Thanksgiving includes some introspection, as we pause to reflect on the past year and give thanks before tucking in. 

This Beat Generation Cookbook, although not a particularly Thanksgiving-themed one, takes an irreverent and somewhat alternative approach to meals and cooking, and by implication, to national holidays like Thanksgiving. The Beats—a loosely comprised, countercultural community of writers, poets, musicians, artists, and free-thinkers—coalesced as a cultural phenomenon during the late 1940s.

Published in 1961, this booklet appeared at a time when some Beat counterculturalism had crossed over into mainstream American culture. The recipes—of intentionally dubious origins and quality—are named for (and in some culinary way) connect to Beats who had achieved widespread notice, if not mainstream celebrity. The first recipe, naturally, is named for Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road (1957) and a core Beat figure. He was also one of the best known Beats by the early 1960s; and he loved milk. The “Kerouac Kocktail” a vile-sounding concoction of milk, yeast, sugar, and water, was fermented then refrigerated. The recipe promises that “[i]t beats instant coffee, and it’s effervescent!” 

A dessert recipe, “Billy’s Graham Cracker Pie in the Sky,” spoofed Protestant Evangelist Billy Graham’s successful New York City crusade at Madison Square Garden during the summer of 1957. A chocolate pie, the dish’s “appeal has spread to the barbarians and cannibals, partly for its austere simplicity and partly for its religious flavor” the Beat cooks claim. The recipe called for “¼ cup melted margarine (Protestant)” as well as “2 tablespoons water (Holy)” and “2 disengaged eggs.” It further directed the cook to “chill for Seven Days. Go directly to Hell. Do not pass Purgatory. Do not collect Novenas.” This silliness is paired with an illustration of a Pilgrim eating a slice. 

Hesburgh Library’s copy is missing its outer cover, which was bright yellow with the title in large, red lettering. Our copy also looks well-used–with food (and perhaps paint) stains on the cover as well as more food stains inside, particularly on the pages with recipes for Streetcar Pie and Dharma Buns (a play on Kerouac’s novel, The Dharma Bums). 

The Beat Generation Cookbook: Illustrated also includes recipes for a number of artists and writers the Beats considered important influences. Pablo Piccaso is included as is Kenneth Rexroth, a San Francisco-based poet who supported and helped launch the literary careers of a number of young Beats, including Allen Ginsberg. The Beat Generation Cookbook recognized Rexroth with Rex Broth: a very large, one-pot meal of meat (“beef, mutton, goat, or goose”), beans, barley, root vegetables, spices, and “1 cup Mr. Clean,” with which “to scrub the whole pot (& everything that’s in it).” 

Rare Books and Special Collections holds the Kenneth Rexroth Collection: a grouping of works by and about the artist, of which this tongue-in-cheek, cultural, and culinary masterpiece is a light-hearted example. The Rexroth Collection is part of a substantial RBSC collection of post-World War II small press and avant-garde literature published in the United States. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Special Collections will be closed during Notre Dame’s Thanksgiving Break (November 23-24, 2023). We wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving 2022: Turkey for the People
Thanksgiving 2021: The Thanksgiving that Gave Us a Song, a Movie … and a Cookbook!
Thanksgiving 2020: Happy Thanksgiving to All Our Readers
Thanksgiving 2019: “Thanksgiving Greetings” from the Strunsky-Walling Collection
Thanksgiving 2018: Thanksgiving from the Margins
Thanksgiving 2017: Playing Indian, Playing White
Thanksgiving 2016: Thanksgiving Humor by Mark Twain
Thanksgiving 2015: Thanksgiving and football

Demon Horses and How to Tame Them

by Sara Weber, Special Collections Digital Project Specialist

This year’s Halloween post brings you tales of the Pooka:

“an avil sper’t that does be always in mischief, but sure it niver does sarious harrum axceptin’ to thim that deserves it, or thim that shpakes av it disrespictful.”

Broadly speaking, the Pooka (also referred to as a púca or puca) is a mischievous creature found in Celtic, English, and Channel Islands folklore—its name is the root of Shakespeare’s Puck in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Although a shapeshifter capable of a variety of appearances, in our story the Pooka takes one of its more common forms, that of a black horse with fiery eyes and blue, flaming breath.

The volume this story comes from is Irish Wonders: the Ghosts, Giants, Pookas, Demons, Leprechauns, Banshees, Fairies, Witches, Widows, Old Maids, and other marvels of the Emerald Isle by D. R. McAnally, Jr. We hold both American and British editions of this text from 1888, both illustrated by H. R. Heaton. The title page describes the book as “Popular Tales as told by the People.” The stories and storytellers are integrated in the narrative, with storytellers represented as local characters. The Hiberno-English, or English as spoken in Ireland, is represented in the spelling and dialogue shown above.

“Taming the Pooka” tells two brief stories of interactions with the spirit before settling in to the longer tale of how King Brian Boru tamed the beast. Click below for a PDF of the entire tale. Enjoy!

Happy Halloween to you and yours
from all of us in Notre Dame’s Special Collections!

Halloween 2022: A Halloween Tale: “John Reardon and the Sister Ghosts”
Halloween 2021: A Welsh Witch in the Woods
Halloween 2020: Headless Horsemen in American and Irish
Halloween 2019: A Halloween trip to Mexico
Halloween 2018: A story for Halloween: “Johnson and Emily; or, The Faithful Ghost”
Halloween 2017: A spooky story for Halloween: The Goblin Spider
Halloween 2016: Ghosts in the Stacks

National Hispanic Heritage Month 2023

We join the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.

An Hispanic Superhero in Southwest Texas

by Erika Hosselkus, Curator, Latin American Collections

This year we share two issues of the comic book, El Gato Negro (The Black Cat), created by American artist Richard Dominguez. The popular series debuted in 1993 and narrates the adventures the Hispanic superhero, El Gato Negro, a vigilante crime fighter in Southwest Texas. Special Collections holds single copies of issues 3 and 4. 

Packed with action and defined by dynamic imagery, this graphic title fits solidly within the comic book genre. It also takes on current events, issues in Mexican, Mexican American, and American history, and popular culture in a whole variety of ways. 

Francisco Guerrero, the man behind the El Gato Negro mask, is a social worker in Southwest Texas whose friend, Mario, a border patrol officer, was murdered by drug traffickers. Guerrero takes on the El Gato Negro identity at night to fight against drug-related violence, even while being targeted by local law enforcement. His name combines the first name of Francisco Madero, a hero of the Mexican Revolution, with “guerrero,” or “warrior.” Across its 4 issues, the comic book series references Hispanic soldiers who fought in the Korean War, the Zapatista movement in Mexico, and lucha libre (Mexican professional wrestling). As such, this title speaks to parts of the Mexican American experience in late twentieth-century America in fun and fascinating ways.

Enjoy this selection of images from the comic book and keep an eye out for a possible television adaptation of El Gato Negro in coming months!     

Detail from Issue No. 3

Previous Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Posts:

Welcome to the Land of Freedom

by Greg Bond, Sports Archivist and Curator, Joyce Sports Research Collection

On July 2, 1887, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper marked the upcoming Fourth of July holiday with a cover illustration that graphically depicted the expansion of the United States. The serial was a popular weekly American publication of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and Rare Books and Special Collections is pleased to highlight here a significant recent acquisition of the first 73 bound volumes from 1855 through 1891. 

The image, titled “Independence Day—A Case of Vigorous Growth,” features a giant Uncle Sam wearing a top hat labeled “1887” standing astride the continental United States from New York to San Francisco. He extends his hand to greet a much smaller man standing on the Atlantic seaboard wearing a tri-corner hat labeled “1776.” “1887” Uncle Sam asks, “How are you, old man?”; and “1776” responds, “Bless my soul, boy, how you have grown!”

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, For the week ending July 2, 1887.
(vol. 64, no. 1659, p. 317)

During the last half of the nineteenth century, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper catered to the reading interests of middle class Americans, and its content routinely reflected and depicted the conventional mainstream sensibilities of middle America. In 1888, Leslie’s claimed a robust weekly circulation of 45,000 and declared that its issues “reach[ed] the better class—those that have taste and the means to gratify it.”

The 1887 Fourth of July issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper followed up its striking cover image with a centerfold, titled “New York—Welcome to the Land of Freedom,” emphasizing the common contemporary belief that the growth of the United States had been fueled by the constant arrival of new Americans. The two-page spread shows immigrants huddled together on the deck of an ocean liner enthusiastically watching and pointing at the Statue of Liberty as the ship sails past.

The image references a short accompanying article, also titled “Welcome to the Land of Freedom” (p. 327). The text explains that the scene shows the arrival of the ocean steamer Germanic carrying immigrants from several European countries motivated, according to the the article, “by the belief that here they will escape the burdens and limitations which in the Old World abridge individual freedom and the exercise of rights which are felt to be inherent.” 

“The first glimpse of this Land of Promise,” Frank Leslie’s elaborates, “must indeed be inspiriting and joyful … as they sail up our beautiful bay and for the first time see the majestic statue of Liberty, standing, so to speak, at the very gateway of the Republic.” The article concludes stirringly: “May all who sail past it to these hospitable shores find every just expectation realized, and prove in all things worthy of the citizenship which the land of freedom confers upon them.”

This week Special Collections is open Monday (July 3),
CLOSED on Tuesday (July 4),
and open Wednesday through Friday (July 5-7).