The website of Dorothy Jane Mills

The website of Dorothy Jane Mills

Blog: Feb. 4, 2014


The history of men is always available. But public records of women's activities are seldom made. So each generation of women has to find out for itself what happened to women before.

As a rule, women's history is invisible.

Joan Bradley Wages, President of the National Women's History Museum, puts it this way:

"...women stand on historical quicksand. With each step we take forward, the step behind us disappears. As one of our historians describes it, women have to re-create the wheel with every generation. By all evidence, at least half of our population has lived a life — only to become — in large part — invisible."

Women's baseball history is part of women's hidden history. But it's being discovered by historians of the Society for American Baseball Research, who have been finding evidence of its existence since the 1940s and gradually bringing its stories out of hiding.

The latest event in which baseball historians brought women's history into the open occurred in January at the San Francisco Public Library, where five scholars presented information about it as part of a panel on women in the American National Pastime. In association with the San Francisco Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research, the library presented the panel along with a unique exhibit called "Linedrives and Lipstick, The Untold Story of Women's Baseball."

Like most audiences, this one had no idea that women played baseball in Britain in the 18th century and in America in the 19th century. Nor did its members realize that photos existed of girls playing baseball in long dresses and short dresses, girls and women playing on men's teams, and women in today's standard baseball uniforms pitching hard against strong women batters.

If your local library or college hasn't yet shown this exhibit, or heard a baseball historian talk about women in the National Pastime, maybe it's time you asked.

Click here to see more photos from this event.

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