Archive and Collection
The Archive and Collection at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum preserves relics of the game, the great stories they tell, and a trove of historic information. The items within the Archive and Collection come in a variety of shapes and sizes – ranging from large three-dimensional artifacts to photographic slides and everything in between.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has tens of thousands of three-dimensional artifacts, all of which represent a particular moment in baseball history. Whether it is a uniform shirt that Cy Young or Honus Wagner wore, or it is a bat used by Ted Williams, Willie Mays, or Derek Jeter, the National Baseball Hall of Fame maintains these items in a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled environment to ensure its preservation for future generations of baseball fans.
In addition to the three-dimensional artifacts, the Library contains over three million documents, everything from books and magazines to scrapbooks and manuscript collections, as well as over 250,000 photographic images and over 16,000 hours of recorded media. Like the artifacts, these items, too, are kept in controlled storage facilities to ensure that they last for years to come.
These materials are a boon to baseball fans and baseball researchers alike, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is committed to preserving these items so that future Museum visitors will be able to recollect baseball memories and share experiences.
The Photo Archive contains photographs of every aspect of the game of baseball. It depicts the broad diversity of people on the field, the places they played, and the action of the game. The 250,000 photographs housed in the Photo Archive document more than 150 years of baseball history, visually recording the game’s place in American culture.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame Library archive collections contain a variety of material, including the papers of individuals, records of organizations, scrapbooks, consciously assembled collections of unique material, along with Hall of Fame created ephemera collections. These collections range in size from a few documents to hundreds of boxes. Many of these are fully described by records in ABNER, our online library catalog. These records include a summary description, and often include links to a more detailed Archival Finding Aid.
Here is a partial list of original collections held in the archive:
August Herrmann Papers
August “Garry” Herrmann was president of the Cincinnati Reds and chairman of the National Commission during the years 1902-1927. Herrmann’s papers include correspondence, newspaper articles, contracts, ledgers, maps, blueprints, drawings, and ephemera that offer insight into the operations of an early twentieth-century baseball club and the first ruling government of baseball.
Gene Mack Cartoons
Gene Mack was a noted cartoonist for the Boston Globe from 1927 to 1950. This archive contains many of his original drawings.
Roger Kahn Papers
Roger Kahn ranks among baseball’s most prolific and popular authors. This archive includes personal and professional correspondence, contracts, litigation documents, fan mail, newspaper articles and photos covering the period 1936 to 2004.
Federal League Litigation
This is a collection of correspondence, agreements, court transcripts, affidavits and newspaper clippings relating to the Federal League antitrust litigation between 1914 and 1925.
Scorebooks and Scorecards
Ranging from the Oshkosh Base Ball Club in 1886, to the present day, this archive contains a variety of scorebooks kept by Edward Murphy, Sid Mercer, and Tom Meany. The scorecards are divided into eight series (major league, minor league, Negro leagues, military and wartime, New York Yankees, All-Star and World Series, amateur, and oversized) and include hundreds of individual games.
Hundreds of individual scrapbooks have been fully processed and are available to researchers. Many of these artifacts include newspaper clippings, but they may also contain photographs and other ephemera. Examples of this collection include the Mickey Mantle series, Effa Manley’s personal scrapbook, the Japan Goodwill tour series, and the Vivian Kellogg AAGPBL collection.
Ephemera is material produced for a one-time, limited purpose use and can be understood generally as transient documents of everyday life. The category of ephemera covers a wide variety of material, and can include: lineup cards, lithographs, posters, press passes, decals, newspapers, schedules, etc.
Inquiries regarding the organization and description of the Archive Collections may be addressed to:
|Mail:||National Baseball Hall of Fame|
|25 Main Street|
|Cooperstown, NY 13326|
The Recorded Media Collection contains approximately 14,000 hours of moving images and sound recordings in a wide variety of formats that date from a 1908 Edison Cylinder recording of Take Me Out To The Ball Game. The archive includes 78rpm radio discs, phonograph records, 8mm home movies, reel-to-reel tapes, films, videotapes, along with compact and digital video discs. Recorded on these diverse media are interviews and oral histories; radio and television broadcasts; play-by-play and other commentary; feature, documentary and animated films; popular songs and other music; and Hall of Fame events.
Portions of the Recorded Media Collection are available for use in film, television and radio productions. Fees will vary greatly, depending on source and usage. Please contact the staff for rates and restrictions. The National Baseball Hall of Fame will make every effort to protect all intellectual property rights, and copying of material from this archive may be highly restricted.
The collections of the Recorded Media Archive include:
Interviews and Oral Histories
An outstanding collection of interviews of players and officials by sports writers, broadcasters and historians. Many of these recordings are stand-alone interviews, while several organized collections also exist. One example is the Fay Vincent Collection, featuring video recordings of notable players, managers and executives.
A wide variety of World Series and All-Star Game radio and television broadcasts from the 1930s.
Films and videos that highlight teams, cities, players and leagues. Collectively they place baseball into a wider historical context.
Hundreds of baseball songs are housed in the archive, including .45rpm and LP records, reel-to-reel tapes, and over 800 pieces of sheet music dating from the 1860s.
Hall of Fame Induction
Sound recordings, films, and broadcast videos featuring induction speeches and footage of the festivities that surround this annual event.
Donation of collections and individual items to the library are encouraged, and a Library Acquisitions Committee meets frequently to assess proposals. Inquires regarding the donation of library related material may be directed to the Giamatti Research Center.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame Library contains thousands of volumes dedicated to chronicling the history of America’s Pastime. Each year, hundreds of new books and publications dedicated to baseball are added to the collection. One may use ABNER, our online library catalog, to perform subject, title, author, and keyword searches in order to discover which materials would best one’s needs.
Here is a list of some of the items available in our collection:
These form the bulk of our collection of printed materials. They include novels; biographies; team histories; histories of baseball played in particular cities, states, and countries; children’s books; cookbooks; and various other fictional and non-fictional works.
The Hall of Fame Library has bound editions of many popular baseball periodicals, as well as many that focus on sports in general. Sports Illustrated, Sport, Baseball America, Baseball Weekly, Baseball Digest, The New York Clipper, and The Sporting News are just a sample of the titles contained in the Library’s collection. In addition to print editions, some of these – Sporting Life and The Sporting News, for example – may also be available in microforms.
Complete or nearly-complete runs of various statistical guides are also kept at the Library. The Spalding, Reach, and Sporting News guides form the bulk of the annuals kept here, but other early annuals, such as Beadle’s Dime Base-Ball Player and DeWitt’s Base-Ball Guide, are also available. However, many titles exist, and the Hall of Fame Library strives to include as many as possible.
The Hall of Fame Library also has several copies and editions of baseball encyclopedia.
Another strong category within the Hall of Fame Library surrounds team publications for Major League Baseball teams, minor-league teams, foreign teams, AAGPBL teams, as well as others. It is important to note, however, that these may not necessarily be complete runs. Publications for minor-league teams are mostly from the latter half of the 20th century and afterward, and they may be limited, depending on the team.
Documents written in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other languages are also available at the Hall of Fame Library.
The Museum’s collections contain more than 40,000 three-dimensional artifacts representing all facets of the game, from its inception in the mid-19th century, to the present. These include bats, baseballs, uniforms, player equipment, ballpark artifacts, awards, artwork, textiles, tickets, collectibles and assorted memorabilia.