Description1909 Leland Giants Baseball Broadside--Earliest Negro League Broadside Known. Extraordinary relic is believed to be the earliest Negro League broadside to survive to this day, announcing an April 21, 1909 meeting between the famed "Leland Giants of Chicago" and a team of students from Samuel Huston College, a coeducational school for blacks in Austin, Texas founded in 1876 with assistance from the Freedmen's Aid Society. The Leland Giants are best remembered for the leadership of Andrew "Rube" Foster, who would found the Negro National League in 1920. Thrillingly, the broadside mentions this Hall of Fame pioneer specifically, stating "Andrew Foster, the Greatest Negro Pitcher in the World will pitch for the Giants."
At this early juncture in the development of "colored baseball," barnstorming was the sole means of survival--no technical "League" existed. The organizers of the event implore baseball fans for their support near the close of the text: "Note: We had to put up $75 and expense of Park etc. or more than $100 to get this Great Team to come to Austin and we trust the lovers of this great American Game will turn out."
The broadside is a miracle of survival, and stands as one of the earliest Negro League artifacts of any sort to celebrate its centennial. The thin paper sign measures 6x9" in size and surely owes its existence today to its diminutive size, which allowed it to be filed in the pages of a book and forgotten for ages. Just a small chip at the upper edge must be noted in terms of condition, as the broadside otherwise remains entirely free of creasing, tearing, chipping or staining.
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2017 November 19 "Heroes of Sport" Catalog Auction - Dallas