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July 18 , 2017

Research Notes for Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball

Maud Nelson, The Philadelphia Bobbies, Leona Kearns, Margaret Gisolo, Nellie Kearns
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Research Notes for Women at Play, Volume 3 is the final volume in Barbara Gregorich’s Research Notesseries — a collection of newspaper articles, interviews, and public records that served as the raw materials from which she wrote her award-winning book, Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball (Harcourt 1993). Volume 3 covers the 1920s and 1930s, concluding the story of Maud Nelson, the most important figure in the early history of women in baseball. It also contains the story of the Philadelphia Bobbies, Eddie Ainsmith, and Leona Kearns — and their disastrous trip to Japan to play against men’s teams in 1925. This resulted in the abandonment of three players and the death at sea of one of them. Contrasted to the tragedy of that story, Volume 3 also contains the exciting story of Margaret Gisolo, who helped lead her 1928 American Legion Junior Baseball team to the state championship. Margaret later played for Maud Nelson’s All-Star Ranger Girls. Margaret’s diaries of 1933 and 1934 are included. The book concludes with Nellie Kearns, Leona’s younger sister who, along with Margaret, played for the All-Star Ranger Girls. A reader going through this volume from beginning to end may feel she/he is reading a novel. Or deciding a court case. Or perhaps reconstruction a “what really happened” crime scene. Volume 3 is a climactic conclusion to the Research Notes for Women at Playseries.

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