Baseball Hall of Fame Launches Digital Archive Project
By CRAIG MUDER (Director of Communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)
They are scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings, detailing the larger-than-life figure that was George Herman Ruth.
Photo after photo, story after story… first-hand accounts of one of the first media stars of the 20th century.
And then, a headline that could have been ripped from a 21st century mobile device – one that seemingly predicted the future.
“Ruth Scoring One of His Three Home Runs Shown in Photos Sent By Phone” – New York Evening World, Oct 7, 1926
Below the headline, three photos – taken Oct. 6, 1926 in St. Louis, Mo., during Game 4 of the World Series. The miracle of modern technology had allowed the transmission of those images across the country via telephone lines, showing readers in New York City what Ruth had done the previous day.
It’s the kind of history that can only be found in Cooperstown at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. But now, these and other pieces will be available to fans and researchers around the world through the Hall of Fame’s Digital Archive Project.
Twenty-five volumes of 10 different Babe Ruth Scrapbooks in the collection are available online for the first time. These one-of-a-kind scrapbooks, created by Ruth’s agent Christy Walsh, provide a unique look at Ruth’s career through letters, stories and photographs, and give a glimpse at the authentic Babe Ruth.
Additional digitized material – including photos, audio, video and text – from the Museum collection will be published every regularly as the Museum adds to the PASTIME (Public Archive System To Interact with the Museum Electronically) online collection, which is available at collection.baseballhall.org.
The Ruth Scrapbooks are filled with unique images (Ruth saluting General John J. Pershing after The Babe was sworn in as a private to the 104th Field Artillery of the New York National Guard), news (Ruth’s famous “bellyache” in April of 1925 is documented in page after page of stories) and the vernacular of the day (each time Ruth was subjected to surgery, he went “under the knife” according to the headline writers).
Using the PASTIME online collection, visitors to the Museum’s website can immerse themselves in the history that was before available only in Cooperstown.
Future release will include oral histories, additional scrapbooks and Negro League photos.
Many of these materials will be available to the public for the first time, allowing fans to browse the Museum collection as they plan their visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, or continue their exploration of baseball history after they tour the Museum.
With more than three million Library items, a quarter of a million unique images and 40,000 three-dimensional artifacts representing baseball’s illustrious history, the Museum preserves an immense physical collection that brings baseball history to life. Through the Hall of Fame Digital Archive Project at collection.baseballhall.org, the Museum, over the next several years, will continue to digitize its collections and Library archive, making PASTIME the online resource for baseball history.
The goal of the Project is to provide online access to the precious artifacts and documents that are preserved in Cooperstown for fans and researchers around the globe, while ensuring that they are digitally archived for future generation of fans. PASTIME will become the online portal for fans and students of the game to relive baseball’s greatest moments through the Museum’s collection.
The PASTIME digital asset management system has been developed on open source standards that will be made available so that other cultural institutions can benefit from this leap forward in digital artifact preservation. Museums and educational institutions around the world will have access to this system built by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
The project is dependent upon the continued generous donations of passionate baseball fans, along with support provided by Market NY through I LOVE NY, New York State’s Division of Tourism, as a part of the State’s Regional Economic Development Council awards.