Chronology:Chapbooks for Juveniles
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- 1 1820.1 Bat/Ball Game Depicted in Children's Amusements
- 2 1832.4 American Chapbook Reuses "Playing at Ball" Woodcut
- 3 1832.5 Boston Spelling/Reading Book Describes Cricket and "Playing at Ball"
- 4 1833.4 Another CT Chapbook, Another Recycled Woodcut
- 5 1843.10 Juvenile Book's Chapter: "A Game at Ball": 'Cheating play never prospers'
- 6 1850c.10 B is for Bat, B is for Ball
- 7 1850c.11 Short Moral Tale Centers on Boy's Bat and Ball
- 8 1850c.12 Chapbook Reprises Illustration from Contemporary Book.
- 9 1852.4 Bass-ball "Quite Too Complicated" for Children's Book on Games
- 10 1852.5 Religious Chapbook Shows Action in Ball Play at Recess
- 11 1853.15 You've Got to Play Along to Get Along?
- 12 1855c.11 Master Trap-ball, Meet Mister Window
- 13 1858.13 New Reader: "Now, Charley, Give Me a Good Ball"
- 14 1858.23 "The Playground" Gives Insight into Rounders, Trap-ball, and Cricket Rules and Customs
- 15 1859.15 Games and Sports Covers Rounders, Feeder, Trap-ball, Northern Spell
- 16 1859.16 Boy's Own Toy-Maker Covers Tip-cat and Trap-ball
- 17 1860.24 Mighty Nat at the Bat: A Morality Story
- 18 1860c.26 British Book Shows Several Safe-Haven Games - Cricket, Rounders, Feeder, Nine Holes, Doutee Stool, and Stoolball
1820.1 Bat/Ball Game Depicted in Children's Amusements
A woodcut illustration of boys playing with a bat and ball appears in a book entitled Children's Amusements . The book contains an illustration of ball playing (page 9) and this text (page 10):
"Playing ball is much practised by school boys and is an excellent exercise to unbend the mind, and restore to the body that elasticity and spring which the close application to sedentary employment in their studies within doors, has a tendency to clog, dull or blunt. But, when practised as is the common method, with a club or bat great care is necessary, as sometimes sad accidents have happened, by its slipping from the hand, or hitting some of their fellows. We would therefore, recommend Fives as a safer play in which the club is not used and which is equally good for exercise. The writer of this, beside other sad hurts which he has been witness of in the use of clubs, knew a youth who had his skull broke badly with one, and it nearly cost him his life."
Children's Amusements, [New York, Samuel Wood, 1820], p. 9.
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 188, adds that it is unusual among chapbooks as "more space and detail are devoted to "playing ball" than to cricket, which at the time was a more established game."
While the text does not explicitly mention or show base-running, David Block thinks of this as an early account of English base ball.
1832.4 American Chapbook Reuses "Playing at Ball" Woodcut
A woodcut, recycled from Mary's Book of Sports (1832.3, above) does not relate to this book's story.
William Johnson; or, The Village Boy (New Haven, S. Babcock) per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 195.
1832.5 Boston Spelling/Reading Book Describes Cricket and "Playing at Ball"
In part four of this book, cricket play is treated in some detail, and a small woodcut of ball play has the caption, "This picture is intended to represent the Franklin school house in Boston. It is now recess time, and some lads are playing at ball on the green lawn before the portico of the brick building."
The Child's Own Book (Boston, Munroe and Francis, 1832), cited by Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 195.
1833.4 Another CT Chapbook, Another Recycled Woodcut
Ballplaying woodcut surfaces in CT.
The Picture Exhibition [New Haven, S. Babcock], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 195. The reused woodcut is from Mary's Book of Sports see1832.3 entry, above). Block does not mention any text relating to ball play.
1843.10 Juvenile Book's Chapter: "A Game at Ball": 'Cheating play never prospers'
"A Mother," Choice Medley. American Sunday School Union, 1843.
Richard Hershberger, 1/13/2021:
 It is exactly what one would expect. The first chapter is "Game at Ball." It is a morality tale about self-control. It opens with a fight nearly breaking out [see text, above.]
 It appears that the batsman is obliged to run to a second marker and then return; is that the way one-o-cat was commonly played? (It does appear to be the rule for barn ball.) -- Protoball functionary, 2/2/2021.
1850c.10 B is for Bat, B is for Ball
A chapbook has eight pages of simple verses and some basic illustrations. Highlight: "The letter B you plainly see,/ Begins both Bat and Ball;/ And next you'll find the letter C,/ Commences Cat and Call."
Grandpapa Pease's Pretty Poetical Spelling Book [Albany, H. Pease], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 213.
1850c.11 Short Moral Tale Centers on Boy's Bat and Ball
This eight-page moral tale turns on the theft of the bat and ball, not, alas on their use.
The Broken Bat; or, Harry's Lesson of Forgiveness (Philadelphia, Am. Baptist Pub'n Society) per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 212.
1850c.12 Chapbook Reprises Illustration from Contemporary Book.
Louis Bond, the Merchant's Son (Troy NY, Merriam and Moore, c. 1850), per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 214.
Block notes that the graphic is lifted by the same publisher's 1850 book, Frank and the Cottage).
1852.4 Bass-ball "Quite Too Complicated" for Children's Book on Games
An 1852 book's woodcut on trap-ball "shows a tiny bat that looks more like a Ping Pong paddle and bears the caption 'bat ball'."
As for other games, the book grants that Little Charley "also plays at cricket and bass ball, of which the laws or [sic] quite too complicated for me to describe."
Little Charley's Games and Sports (Philadelphia, C. G. Henderson, 1852).
From David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 214.
This book reappeared in 1854, 1857, and 1858 as part of a compendium.
1852.5 Religious Chapbook Shows Action in Ball Play at Recess
This Sunday school reader has a detailed illustration of a game in progress.
Fernald, Benjamin C., My Little Guide to Goodness and Truth [Portland ME, Sanborn and Carter], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 214.
1853.15 You've Got to Play Along to Get Along?
Frank Forrester [Daniel Wise], Ralph Rattler: or, The Mischief-Maker (Brown Taggart and Chase, 1853), pp. 12-14: "In one episode, Ralph, a supercilious sort, refused an invitation to play ball with his Belmont Academy fellow students, because he dressed better than they did. . . . this scorn backfired for Ralph as he found making any friends very hard. Ball play, apparently, was a marker of social acceptance"
Tom Altherr, Ball Playing . . . as a Moral Backdrop in Children's Literature, in Originals, volume 5, number 5 (May 2012), pp 1 - 2.
1855c.11 Master Trap-ball, Meet Mister Window
Pictured is a struck ball heading toward a window. Text: "School's up for to-day, come out boys and play I'll put my trap here on the grass;/ Look out John Thatcher, here comes a catcher, oh dear! It will go through the glass."
Sports for All Seasons, Illustrating the Most Common and Dangerous Accidents That Occur During Childhood . . . [London, J. March], six pages; per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 216-217.
1858.13 New Reader: "Now, Charley, Give Me a Good Ball"
The Little One's Ladder, or First Steps in Spelling and Reading [New York, Geo F. Cooledge]. The book shows schoolyard ballplaying, and sports the caption: "Now, Charley, give me a good ball that I may bat it."
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 218
1858.23 "The Playground" Gives Insight into Rounders, Trap-ball, and Cricket Rules and Customs
George Forrest, The Playground: or, The Boy's Book of Games [G. Rutledge, London, 1858, pp. 67-72]. Available via Google Books.
The manual covers rounders, cricket, and trapball - but not stoolball.
Among the features shown: when only a few players were available, backward hits were not in play; leading and pickoffs were used in rounders; the rounders bat is three feet long; two strikes and you're out in trapball; and when a cat is used in place of a ball in rounders, plugging is not allowed.
1859.15 Games and Sports Covers Rounders, Feeder, Trap-ball, Northern Spell
Games and Sports for Young Boys [London, Warne and Routledge] This book's descriptions of rounders, feeder, trap-ball, and northern spell were cloned from the 1841 publication The Every Boy's Book, but many new woodcuts seem to have been inserted.
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 221.
1859.16 Boy's Own Toy-Maker Covers Tip-cat and Trap-ball
The Boy's Own Toy-Maker [London, Griffith and Farran]. This book has information on making toys and sporting equipment. It spends two pages on tip-cat and three on "trap, bat, and ball." An American edition [Boston, Shepard, Clark and Brown] also appeared in 1859.
David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 220.
1860.24 Mighty Nat at the Bat: A Morality Story
"[T]here was to be a special game of ball on Saturday afternoon. Ball-playing was one of the favorite games with the boys. . . . [Nat comes to bat.] 'I should like to see a ball go by him without getting a rap,' answered Frank, who was now the catcher. 'The ball always seems to think it is no use to try to pass him.'
"' There, take that,' said Nat, as he sent the all, at his first bat, over the hands of all, so far that he had time to run round the whole circle of goals, turning a somersault as he came in."
Thayer, William M., The Bobbin Boy; Or, How Nat Got His Learning. An Example for Youth (J. E. Tilton, Boston, 1860), pages 50-55.
The boys' game is not further described. See also #1860.15
1860c.26 British Book Shows Several Safe-Haven Games - Cricket, Rounders, Feeder, Nine Holes, Doutee Stool, and Stoolball
Doutee Stool: After a ball is thrown or struck, players try to reach a stool further along a circle before the server can retrieve the ball and strike one of them [page 41-42].
Egg Hat: Player A throws a ball into another player's hat, say Player B. Player B tries to retrieve the ball and hit one of the fleeing others, or he is assessing an egg. Three eggs and you're out [pages 42-44].
Feeder: Batter must complete a circle of bases [clockwise] before the pitcher [feeder] retrieves the ball and hits him with it. Not described as a team game [pages 44-46].
Nine-Holes: Egg Hat without hats [pages 54-56].
Rounders: "a most excellent game, and very popular in some of our English counties." One-handed batting; teams of five or more, stones or stakes for bases, runners out be plugging or force-out at home, one-out-side-out, three strikes and out, balks allowed, foul balls in play [pages 57-60].
Stool-Ball: "an old English sport, mentioned by Gower and Chaucer, and was at one period common to women as well as men. Player defends against thrown ball hitting his stool [pages 61 ff]."
Ball Games with Illustrations (Routledge and Sons, London, 1860 [as annotated by the MCC]). Per Google Books, published in 1867.