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Double-Talk on Doubleday: How a Dead Civil War General Invented Baseball Without His Permission
June 19, 2019
Why, how, and when did Abner Doubleday became the imagined inventor of America’s pastime? It is becoming more widely known that Doubleday had no connection to baseball, but why, and for what purposes, did baseball’s boosters construct an origin story with him at the epicenter? Norwich University Professor Rowly Brucken will explore the founding myths of baseball’s real and fictional origins, and will consider the broader context of the age of imperialism in America, New England sports history, and Victorian scandals. The talk will conclude with an exploration of the early days of baseball in Vermont. Rowly is a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan who teaches a course on baseball history and an honors class on interdisciplinary adventures in baseball at Norwich. He has spent two weeks in the archives at the Baseball Hall of Fame and has received two research grants to study the history of the sport. This talk connects the controversy over baseball’s alleged origins to larger themes in American cultural and social history.