Linedrives & Lipstick: The Untold Story of Women & Baseball
May 8-22, 2014
Bush Art Center
Irene Ruhnke, 2007 reproduction of 1946 original, Photograph, 12 x 8, Private collection
Reach glove, c. 1915, Leather, 9 x 8 8/16 x 2, Private collection, Photo: E. G. Schempf
In contrast to the depiction of women and baseball as a short-lived phenomenon of the 1940s, America’s national pastime has included women players from baseball’s beginning in the 1860s. Their impact on the game and American society is brought clearly to light in Linedrives and Lipstick: The Untold Story of Women’s Baseball, an exhibition opening May 8, 2014 at The Art Galleries of St. Norbert College.
“A game of physical skill and mathematical beauty, baseball beat in the hearts of young women and could scarcely wait to manifest itself,” says Linedrives and Lipstick essayist Barbara Gregorich. “To the girls and women themselves, it was the real thing.”
Although American society in general may have looked at women’s involvement in baseball as a curiosity, Linedrives and Lipstick brings to life the images of women who loved the crack of the bat and the thrill of a running one-handed catch with two outs in the ninth. Visitors to the exhibition will get to know Jackie Mitchell, who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game in 1931 and Sophie Kurys of the South Bend Blue Sox, who still holds the record for the most stolen bases in one season in any league—201 steals in 203 attempts in 1946.
Linedrives and Lipstick features more than 60 items, ranging from picture postcards, game programs, photographs, posters, original artifacts, and in-depth articles from mainstream magazines such as Colliers, Liberty, and The Saturday Evening Post. The exhibition goes beyond the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of the 1940s, tracing women’s love of the sport all the way back to the mid-1800s. More than a history lesson, it’s a story of determination and achievement.