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1886 Harvard Baseball Photo Collection Including Winslow (4)
Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $823
Collection of three rare Harvard baseball photos, plus an additional photo of a collegiate tug of war, all of which originate from a vintage 1886 photo album. 1) The highlight of the group is a spectacular studio photo of the 1886 Harvard baseball team. The large-format photo (13 x 10 inches), which displays extraordinary clarity, captures twelve team members posing together in uniform (one player is in street clothes), including team captain Samuel Winslow (third from the left in the back row). Interestingly, Winslow is often cited as having been the inspiration for the title character in Ernest Thayer's beloved baseball poem Casey at the Bat. Thayer and Winslow were best friends at Harvard and although Thayer never publicly identified any one player as being his inspiration for Casey, Winslow certainly seemed to fit the bill. The best evidence we have for Winslow as "Casey" comes from famed showman DeWolff Hopper, who immortalized Casey at the Bat on stage. According to Hopper's account, he met Thayer in the early 1890s while performing in Massachusetts and asked him who the inspiration for Casey was. Thayer replied that it was his old Harvard pal, Samuel Winslow. The photo has slightly wavy borders, minor wear in the right corner, and a light blemish along the left portion of the base (not affecting any of the player images). Aside from those minor anomalies, which do not detract in the least from its remarkable visual appeal, the photo is in Excellent to Mint condition. Mounted and framed to total dimensions of 16.75 x 14 inches. 2-3) Two cabinet photos, each produced by the famed Pach Bro's of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and each picturing a different Harvard player in uniform. The first player, identified as "Ed Nichols" in vintage black fountain pen along the base, is pictured holding a ball while striking a traditional pitching pose. The second player, identified as "Allen" in vintage black fountain pen along the base, is pictured posing with a bat. The black fountain pen inscription, reading "Property of George S. Mumford - Boston," appears on the reverse of each card. Both photos (4.25 x 6.5 inches) offer outstanding clarity and contrast and are in Excellent condition overall. 4) Outdoor view of a tug-of-war taking place at the Athletic Upper Club Grounds (as noted on the sign). While we cannot be sure of the participants, it seems likely, given the fact that it was together with the other photos, that one of the teams represented here is Harvard. The photo (9 x 7 inches), like the others, offers outstanding contrast and aside from having slightly wavy borders it remains in Excellent to Mint condition. Total: 4 photos. Reserve $400. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $823
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