Play Ball!: Henry Chadwick’s 1866 Base Ball Player’s Book of Reference

Cabinet card portrait of Henry Chadwick seated with a book in his hands. / G. Frank E. Pearsall, 289 Fulton St. [Brooklyn, N.Y.], [1874].
Cabinet card portrait of Henry Chadwick seated with a book in his hands. / G. Frank E. Pearsall, 289 Fulton St. [Brooklyn, N.Y.], [1874]. (BL-13-58a National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
base ball title page
Title Page

To celebrate the beginning of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, Special Collections has digitized and made available The Base Ball Player’s Book of Reference, an exceedingly rare book of baseball rules and statistics written by Henry Chadwick. Only one other institution, the American Antiquarian Society, reports holding the 1866 edition of this work. The copy held by Lehigh is a unique presentation copy signed by the author, containing the note “Compliments of H Chadwick.”


An early spokesperson for the sport of baseball, Henry Chadwick gained renown as a pioneering sports journalist. Seeking to describe the events of games in greater detail and make it easier to follow by a wider fan base, Chadwick invented many basic terms and statistics, including:

  • The batting average (BA), used to analyze the skill of a batter
  • The earned run average (ERA), used to measure runs scored as a result of a pitcher
  • The letter K to denote a strike
  • The box-score, used to record the runs, hits, put-outs, assists and errors that occurred during a game
  • Numbering defensive positions and abbreviating plays to aid in score-keeping

Henry Chadwick Baseball Hall of Fame Plaque
Henry Chadwick Baseball Hall of Fame Plaque (

All of these innovations are still commonly used to describe and analyze the game of baseball. Since Chadwick’s initial use of statistics, a plethora of new and increasingly complex statistics have been created to better analyze players and their abilities, the practice now described as Sabermetrics. For his significant contributions to the national game of baseball, Chadwick was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1938, just the third year of its existence. Lehigh’s holding is not the first baseball rule book, written by Chadwick in 1858 as recognized by the Hall of Fame, but it still provides a fascinating glimpse into the early days of baseball.

While many of the rules in the book will be familiar to modern baseball fans, there are several differences. What we now refer to as balls, Chadwick describes as “Delivering Unfair Balls,” for which an umpire should warn the pitcher before keeping count of unfair balls and allowing the batter to take a base after three such calls, not the modern four. It is difficult to imagine baseball without the iconic home run, but according to Chadwick,

Home runs are not recognized by the rules. Custom considers a home run as being made, if the home base is reached before the ball passes the line of the home base from the outer field, provided the batsman has not been obliged to stop on any base for fear of being put out. A “ clean home run” — and none other should be counted in the score— is a run made from home to home, from a hit made to long field beyond the reach of the out-fielders.

Chadwick also allows for foul balls to be caught for outs after a single bounce, a rule that would later be eliminated. Before Chadwick’s rules, it was commonly accepted that fair one bounce balls could be caught by fielders for outs. However, Chadwick preferred fielders to get outs by catching balls directly hit from the bat, which is how the game is played today.

As the new baseball season begins, it is interesting to take a retrospective look at how America’s pastime has developed since its creation and popularization in the 19th century. Lehigh’s digitized copy of Chadwick’s 1866 The Base Ball Player’s Book of Reference can be read or downloaded in its entirety on the Internet Archive. For more information about this book, visit Lehigh’s library catalog. You can read more about Henry Chadwick on his Baseball Hall of Fame page.



Banned Books Week: Uncle Remus

Today we continue our celebration of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, a week dedicated to bringing forward challenged books, by looking at some of these books in our collection. This journey takes us to the post-reconstruction United States in the South, in the arms of the beloved Uncle Remus as he passes on traditional African folklore. The comical stories of the mischievous Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, and Brer Fox entertained the children on Uncle Remus’s lap and readers alike.

Remus Cover

The character of Uncle Remus was brought to life by author Joel Chandler Harris. Harris was born in Eatonton, Georgia on his family’s slave plantation, and heard these dialect tales as a child from slaves. He later crafted these tales into a narrative and made them available to a large white audience. Other writers of his generation recorded these stories, but Harris’ creative use of African-American vernacular and ability to further universalize the conflicts between the weak and the powerful made his collection the only one that really caught on with readers.

Uncle Remus Title

Harris’ original collection of stories, Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings (1880) has gained popularity across the globe, having been translated into over 40 languages, and it has never gone out of print. Special Collections holds an 1881 edition of this book, which is representative of the beginning of the folklore movement.

To get his works from the original storytellers to readers around the world, Harris was said to have found inspiration in a novel nearly equal in controversy: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. At Special Collections, we have several editions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in a variety of languages, with the 1852 first edition being shown here. Both novels deal with the spread of opinions of race, slavery, and discrimination through storytelling to young children. Even as a piece of anti-slavery groundwork for the Civil War, Harris felt Stowe’s novel remained sympathetic to the institution she wished to condemn by painting a too-generous picture of the slave master. Through the Uncle Remus stories, Harris attempted to set aside the southern defeat that had divided America, and instead create a romantic and endearing story to reconnect the two sides. This charges the main controversy, both at the time of publishing and still today.

Uncle Tom's Cabin Title

Many readers and scholars have noted the theme of race and presence of racial stereotypes would still be offensive to modern readers, earning the stories what seems to be a permanent seat on the banned books list. Further adding to the controversy of Uncle Remus, Disney produced a movie in 1946, Song of the South, as a visual interpretation of Harris’s work. The movie never was made available for public purchase because of the same racial themes, despite it’s famous song “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” and legacy as Disney’s first film to feature “flesh-and-blood-players” (Song of the South’s 1946 Campaign Book). What scholars have called “the negro situation” has resulted in Disney Park’s Splash Mountain log flume as perhaps one of the only tangible memories of Song of the South.

Despite the challenged legacy of the stories, historical merit remains strong. President of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, Tyrone Brooks, believes:

“There should be an appreciation of all that history because it tells you where we were, and how far we’ve come. But it also tells you have far we have to go.”

Looking back on this piece of reconstruction history and analyzing sources like Harris’s works, although controversial, allows us to accomplish the very thing Brooks is describing. Controversy can breed change even in contemporary times.

More Summer Reading Suggestions From LTS Staff

Our recommendations for summer reading continue with two recommendations from Sharon Wiles-Young, Director Library Access and one from Tim McGeary, Team Leader Library Technology.

From Sharon:

Rich Boy by Sharon Pomerantz. In her first review, Sharon tells us that Rich Boy is a story about Robert Vishniak’s” journey from suburban Philadelphia to high society New York City in the 80s” that asks “what defines success and self?” This debut novel from Sharon Pomerantz will definitely be appearing on my nook Color in the near future.


How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal. In her second review, Sharon summarizes How To Bake A Perfect Life as being about “mother and daughter complex relationships interspersed with recipes and baking bread.” Sounds like a great read for a holiday weekend with the family, Sharon. All the angst and none of the carbs!


From Tim:

Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned To Ask the Questions, by Rachel Held Evans. Tim writes, “Rachel Held Evans recounts her experiences growing up in Dayton, TN, famous for the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. With fearless honesty, Evans describes how her faith survived her doubts to re-imagine Christianity in a postmodern context, where knowing all the answers isn’t as important as asking the questions.” You had me at monkey, Tim.

Whatever you decide to read, I wish you a safe and happy holiday weekend. Both libraries will be open the following hours over the weekend: Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday from noon to 5 PM. Both libraries will be open for regular summer hours on Monday. Regular summer hours are from 8 AM to 5 PM for Linderman Library and from 8 AM to 10 PM for Fairchild Martindale Library.

Summer Reading Suggestions

Summertime and the living is easy… Summertime is also a time to catch up on one’s reading. LTS staff members have compiled a list of their recommendations for summer reading. I will post selections from this list over the next few weeks. Here are three book suggestions to get you started:

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This is what I am reading now. Somehow I missed being forced to read it in high school. It is a very exciting story about love, deceit, and creative, exacting, unmerciful (mostly) revenge. However, it takes place over a number of years and has many characters. I found the character map in Wikipedia to be helpful for keeping everyone straight.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Doreen Herold, Cataloging Librarian, recommends The Help. This story takes place in the 1960s in Mississippi. Some reviews describe it as being similar to Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees.


Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. by Kerry Patterson et al
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High has been recommended by Tina Hertel, Help Desk Librarian.  Tina says, “Effective communication is a key skill that will benefit your own career, your relationships, and your organization.” This title is available as an e-book in the Library’s eBrary Collection.

The Evolving World of E-Textbooks

The library has an e-book committee actively exploring trends electronic textbook publishing.

The landscape of e-textbook publishing, like e-books generally, is unsettled. The market for e-textbooks is definitely heating up, if a report produced by Simba is an indicator: “e-textbooks are finding their legs in the college market, growing at an estimated compound annual growth rate of nearly 49% through 2013, when they will account for more than 11% of textbook sales. . . .” By comparison, “new print textbooks continue to dominate the college instructional materials market at a projected $4.46 billion in 2010.”  A graph in another report also suggests that the e-textbook market will burgeon in coming years.

Who knows? For many persons, paper is still a superior format to the electronic book format, at least for focused reading of large swaths of material. Will electronic formats address  concerns about print textbook pricing, or will the economics of electronic textbooks replicate the economics of the print format? And many people will not like licensing terms that shut off access. A study done at Cal State U.  gives some data about preferences relating to the e-textbook format.

On a more propitious note: might mobile, handheld devices facilitate use of the e-textbook format and make it popular? And an intriguing question is whether electronic and print formats are complements and not substitutes, in the sense that students may want to enjoy the benefits of both formats. For example, a student sitting in a cafe and doing a textbook exercise or doing last minute studying for an exam may find an electronic format sufficient, obviating the need to lug around a heavy textbook for those specific purposes, even if they otherwise use the print version a lot more often.

In an effort to impose some conceptual order on the evolving world of e-textbook publishing, I created the following catalog of models in this arena. This typology does not pretend to be exhaustive but should help you think about the emerging range of possibilities:

  • Print textbooks with accompanying websites. If you bought a print version of a textbook, you may notice that it has an accompanying website with supplementary material such as quizzes or  tutorials. Example. (This textbook is also available electronically, exemplifying the next model. . . .)
  • Toll-access. The user pays to access an electronic version of a textbook, which might include add-ons such: as online annotation ability (ease of use probably being quite crucial; more generally, see this earlier posting);  multimedia animations, test banks, or other features. This model builds naturally on the already existing markets for print textbook. Examples of toll-access e-textbooks from Pearson and  CourseSmart, both of which are available in print.
  • Open-access: non-profit flavor. An example is Wikibooks, which touts itself as “the open-content textbooks collection that anyone can edit.” Another model is provided by Connexions,  “a place to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc.”
  • Commercial open access model. Flat World Knowledge  is a player that gives free access to a textbook but charges for print versions and the right to download content in a specific format. This model follows the trail of Internet businesses that offer a product such as a browser for free with the idea that this will promote purchase of other services.
  • The bulk discount model. This is a model in which a university brokers a bulk discount on access to e-textbooks. An example of such a scheme, discussed in this Chronicle article, is CourseLoad. Flat World Knowledge participates in this model by providing a licensing fee option.
  • Authoring software. Another model does not rely on selling textbook content but on providing a mechanism to create interactive textbook-like material. According to its website, “SoftChalk is the leading provider of content authoring software for educators in K-12, colleges, universities and medical programs. With SoftChalk, educators can create professional, engaging, learning content quickly and easily, which enhances their teaching and improves the learning experience for their students.”

Aside from the sorts of products mentioned above, it is important to remember that Lehigh library’s collection of e-books, and items at Hathi Trust, Google Books and similar repositories or indexes of e-books (e.g., this cache of astrophysics book ), may provide useful supplemental  readings in courses.

Despite the uncertainties, new entrepreneurial ventures, both profit and non-profit, will continue to emerge. One recalls the froth and ebullience of the Internet bubble, with market players trying to anticipate and then occupy every conceivable niche.

Brian Simboli, Science Librarian

(Hat tip to my colleague Jean Johnson for many helpful comments.)


“The Mind of the Reader Wishes to Unburden Itself of a Thought*”…Marginalia in a World of E-books?

A recent New York Times article explores the question of what will happen to marginalia as readers begin to embrace e-books.  It prompted me to think some more about the challenges of e-reading and the difficulty of preserving “the mind of the reader” in a digital context.

Marginalia on paper — commentary and notes added to books, articles and other texts in response to the ideas and prose presented — remain as long as the paper lasts.  The commentary is available to anyone who has the book in hand.  Marginalia by famous people, major thinkers, admired novelists and the like may increase the book’s value very much indeed both in scholarly and monetary terms.  While marginalia on e-texts may be preserved, it’s unlikely that, like the Mark Twain jottings featured in the article, digital marginalia will be available to scholars and bibliophiles in the future quite in the way marginalia on paper is.

There is an interest, though, beyond considering the “uncertain future” of marginalia, in how to annotate e-texts in ways that promote understanding of the text while conserving natural resources.   While some e-book platforms work well to add, and even to share, comments, highlighting, notes, etc. they require more than picking up a pen and jotting down one’s thoughts.  The LTS E-Book Committee has been experimenting with e-book reader software (iBook, Kindle, Nook, and Stanza) on several devices and with using an iPad app for annotating articles in PDF.   One can add commentary and have ready, mobile access to the text.  How do you annotate e-texts?  How does your e-reading differ from “regular” reading?

*From the Oxford English Dictionary:

E. A. Poe in U.S. Mag. & Democratic Rev. 15 484/1   The marginalia are deliberately pencilled, because the mind of the reader wishes to unburden itself of a thought.