Just not cricket: Baseball, youth and national identity in late nineteenth century children’s magazines

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In the late nineteenth century, baseball became enshrined as America’s national sport. Across American culture, the game became imbued with a series of values and characteristics that seemed redolent of life in the Gilded Age and beyond. This article explores the ways in which this process played out in the pages of popular magazines directed at the children of the nation’s elite. These neglected resources provide us with an extraordinary lens through which to chart both the changing place of the national game within the lives of American children and the changing meaning of baseball within the life of the nation. In poems, stories, illustrations, editorials and even reader’s letters, children were newly acculturated into the sporting life in ways that had profound implications for wider questions of childhood, gender, race, class and national identity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of American Culture
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Jul 2023

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