THE GIRLS OF SUMMER: WOMENS SOFTBALL TEAM (1934 VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPH)

softball

This vintage photograph features a women’s softball team. Judging by their smiles, the ladies were in a happy mood at the time this photograph was taken. The image was produced in the year 1934 which the text on the photo indicates celebrates “a century of progress”. Two of the players are wearing baseball caps but no baseball equipment or team logo is visible in the photograph. At that time in softball history, many leagues required the players not to use gloves.  It is also notable that this team photo includes eleven players rather than the expected baseball nine. Women’s softball teams of that era employed ten players on the field with the tenth player occupying the position of short centerfield. Perhaps the eleventh player in the photo is the coach/manager or possibly a substitute. It is also interesting to note that “A Century of Progress” was the slogan for the 1933 World’s Fair.The exposition was held along the lakefront of Chicago, Illinois. The fair was operated from June 1-November 1, 1933, and May 26-October 31, 1934. It is a safe assumption that this image was taken at the Chicago Worlds Fair grounds. Softball was one of the few team sports available to women during the 1930’s, 1940’s,and 1950’s. During the 1930’s, softball was a very popular sport around the United States. In 1933 the newly established Amateur Softball Association sponsored the first national fast pitch softball tournament for women. The association tied the tournament to the Chicago Worlds Fair. In the initial competition, eight women’s teams competed against each other. It is worth mentioning that some sources report that the games were actually sponsored by a duo comprised of a sports writer and a sporting goods salesman. This wonderful memento of softball history measures 3″ x 4 3/4″ and based on the black paper residue on it’s reverse, once found it’s home in someone’s photo album.

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Published in: on July 19, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for posting this vintage photo, it lifts one’s spirits just to see the obvious pride and enthusiasm on their faces! Wish we knew more about them! Thanks for your interesting notes, also; I didn’t know that athletic events were part of the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair.

  2. Indeed they were! My mother, now 99, played in a girls’ softball tournament at the Century of Progress, sponsored by Arch Ward of the Chicago Tribune. I believe the first Allstar game was that year too, in connection with Century of Progress. Mom is a huge baseball fan, and playing at the Century of Progress in Sept. of 1933 is one of the best memories of her life!

    • Thanks for the wonderful comment. Your mom is a woman who lived a life ahead of her time. I really respect her accomplishment and she must have been a fine athlete. I am sure you are very proud of her.

      • Thanks for the response! Mom also has a collection of autographs (24) of baseball hall-of-famers. We are in negotiation with Minnesota Twins to donate her softball uniform and autograph collection to their historical collection/display. Hoping she lives long enough to see it all on display!

      • Having her uniform on display by the Twins is certainly a fitting honor for a woman who was a pioneer in Women’s sports. I hope she gets to see it exhibited too.


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