Baseball history preserved at Hall of Fame Library
By Jim Gates
Most people do not realize the scope and depth of the research archive operated by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The collection is approaching 3 million items and is one of the largest sports archives in the world. There has been a library associated with this institution since it opened in 1939, and it has grown substantially from the early days when the archival collection could fit onto a couple of book shelves.
Today, there are multiple climate-controlled storage rooms, each with independent temperature and humidity controls. They are designed to hold a variety of formats, including books, journals, newspapers, documents, photographs, slides, negatives, films, tape recordings, video tapes and compact discs.
Although the primary focus of the collection is on events related to the Major Leagues, there is no segment of the game we ignore, from youth baseball to women’s baseball to senior league baseball. We also try to ensure that all aspects of how baseball relates to American culture are preserved. This includes literature, poetry, music and art.
In the coming weeks, I plan to provide stories related to the work of our staff, stories that I hope will bring you joy and also help you appreciate the efforts we go through to save the history of our great national pastime for future generations.
Jim Gates is librarian of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library.