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Ebook Information

Bloomer Girls

Women Baseball Pioneers

America, its women, and its game

Disapproving scolds. Sexist condescension. Odd theories about the effect of exercise on reproductive organs. Though baseball began as a gender-neutral sport, girls and women of the nineteenth century faced many obstacles on their way to the diamond. Yet all-female nines took the field everywhere.

Debra A. Shattuck pulls from newspaper accounts and hard-to-find club archives to reconstruct a forgotten era in baseball history. Her fascinating social history tracks women players who organized baseball clubs for their own enjoyment and even found roster spots on men's teams. Entrepreneurs, meanwhile, packaged women's teams as entertainment, organizing leagues and barnstorming tours. If the women faced financial exploitation and indignities like playing against men in women's clothing, they and countless ballplayers like them nonetheless staked a claim to the nascent national pastime. Shattuck explores how the determination to take their turn at bat thrust female players into narratives of the women's rights movement and transformed perceptions of women's physical and mental capacity.

Vivid and eye-opening, Bloomer Girls is a first-of-its-kind portrait of America, its women, and its game.

"Shattuck sets out to discover how a gender-neutral game became so masculine by researching women's organized baseball from antebellum American through the turn of the century. . . . This volume belongs in many public library sports-history and gender-studies collections."--Booklist

"Bloomer Girls is definitely worth your time."

"Bloomer Girls: Women Baseball Pioneers fills a huge void in sports literature regarding women baseball players. . . . Shattuck’s book is definitely a must read for all baseball researchers, serious fans, those interested in the history of the game and gender historians."--Sport in American History

"Debra Shattuck knocks it out of the park with her first book. . . . Definitely a must read for all baseball researchers, serious fans, those interested in the history of the game and gender historians."--Sport in American History

"This work fills a noteworthy gap in the scholarship and will be of importance to any individual interested in sport, women's history, and gender studies. Recommended."--Choice

"Bloomer Girls would be a helpful resource for researchers interested in social history, particularly regarding gender roles and sports, and for baseball fans interested in the history of the sport."--FGS Forum

"Bloomer Girls makes an unprecedented contribution in its field (the endnotes alone are worth the price of admission). Anyone with a prior interest in women's baseball or the burgeoning field of 'Outsider Baseball'--which includes the non-MLB experiences of ethnic minorities, racially segregated leagues, and novelty baseball--must own this book."--John Thorn, Historian of Major League Baseball

"Debra Shattuck has written a page-turner, uncovering a long-hidden backstory of America's national sport. There's formidable historical research here, embedded in lively writing about pioneering athletes, corrupt promoters, and formidable businessmen, who together reshaped understandings of the capacities of men and women, on the field and off. Give this important book to every baseball fan you know, (couch potatoes included)."--Linda K. Kerber, author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship

"Not only does Debra Shattuck insert women back into the narrative of baseball history, but she also offers us the fullest account yet of how the early game threw varied gender meanings into sharp relief. A stunning achievement."--Benjamin G. Rader, author of Baseball: A History of America's Game

"Paints a meticulous picture of the social and political forces which advanced the lie of baseball as 'a man's game,' and documents how Bloomer Girl baseball emerged, a benchmark for all who support equality."--Barbara Gregorich, author of Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball

Debra A. Shattuck is Provost and Associate Professor of History at John Witherspoon College.

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