In honor of a national pastime, Ball, Bat & Bible Baseball and Sunday Observance in New York, has been selected as the featured book for August 2015. Written by Charles DeMotte, baseball historian, this book chronicles the social and moral controversy over New York State’s blue laws, which sought to restrict social activities on Sundays, the traditional day of religious observation. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries baseball was the center of this conflict.
From its inception, baseball, was part of the fabric of communities across the country and played an important social role. The baseball and Sunday observance question involved the clash of religious organizations, civil and lobbying groups, and local and state politics. The debate intensified as other movements, such as temperance and the crusades against boxing and gambling were beginning to gain momentum. Deep class, racial, religious, and ethnic divisions in New York’s social order contributed to the issue as well.
Bat, Ball & Bible chronicles not only baseball during this period, but rather illuminates a “culture war” whose effects are still being felt today. Reflecting a number of contemporary religious and cultural issues, the book has appeal far beyond baseball.
Ball, Bat & Bible Baseball and Sunday Observance in New York is part of the Local History Collection. To see the book visit Special Collections, located on the second floor of the Glenn G. Bartle Library off of the North Reading Room. Special Collections is open to the public 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday.
Call number: GV863.N72 D46 2013. The Local History Collection