Nome: Lomen Brothers, 1914. Silver gelatin print, 6 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches. Fine. Item #List520
Women’s baseball evolved alongside men’s leagues beginning in the 1860s, with many teams and leagues appearing throughout the following decades, often playing indoors and often unrecorded in the annals of baseball history. Women’s baseball was particularly popular in Minnesota and parts of the Midwest in the early part of the twentieth century. This photograph bears evidence as to the game’s migration to Alaska Territory, where long winters would have been particularly conducive to an indoor league. This photograph, by the Nome, Alaska firm Lomen Brothers, shows the champion team of the Ladies Indoor Baseball League in Nome. We find no record in contemporary newspapers or anywhere else of the league. The Nome Brothers were a well-known photographic firm, who migrated from Minnesota to Alaska at the height of the Nome Gold Rush in 1903. By 1909 at the end of the gold rush, the population of Nome declined substantially to 2,500 from 20,000 just a few years earlier. This photograph shows interesting documentation of Nome post-rush and also of the spread of women’s sports through migrant populations. We find one other example, in the Fred Henton collection at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. A fine example.