Women's Baseball at Peterboro, NY, 1868

In 1868 in Peterboro, New York, an upstate village some seventy-five miles from Seneca Falls, where the women’s suffrage movement was born, a contest between two female clubs was reported in a New York newspaper called Day’s Doings, a sensationalist sex-story journal self-avowedly devoted to “current events of romance, police reports, important trials, and sporting news.” By the mid-1870s exhibitions of women’s baseball had generally taken the form of Blondes vs. Brunettes, with varying geographic modifiers applied to each. These pulchritudinous nines typically used a smaller than regulation ball made only of yarn, played the game on a fifty-foot diamond, and barnstormed their way through a legion of appreciative “bald-headed men,” a codename in theatrical circles for voyeurists of a certain age who liked to sit in the first row.
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