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    1855-60 Boston Base Ball Salt Print Photograph.

    UPDATE: Please note that the identity of the player at center as John Lowell has been questioned, and though this was the original identification of the figure upon the discovery of the image, we would like to clarify that this is not certain. We remain fully convinced, however, that the team represented is indeed the Bowdoin B.B.C.

    In the lifespan of our National Pastime, the presented image is tantamount to an ultrasound, simply one of the earliest photos ever to surface as a visual witness of the sport of baseball. The gentlemen pictured are members of the Bowdoin Base Ball Club, the first organized team of any stature in the City of Boston, their name believed to have derived from the location of their clubhouse on Bowdoin Street, in the same way the early Atlantics were headquartered on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

    One of the team's leaders, believed to be the man at center, was John Lowell, who lobbied for teams from Boston and the greater New England area to play by the New York Rules of the burgeoning game. Correlating with this development, the Bowdoin team changed its name to the Lowell Base Ball Club upon its official founding on March 18, 1861, just days before the first shot of the Civil War was fired at Fort Sumter. The belts worn by each of the three men in the image, lettered "B.B.B.C.," assures that this image predates this turn of events, however.

    The image measures 7x5.25" in dimension, and has the appearance of a salt print, a photographic process for producing positive prints that dominated the field from 1839 until it lost favor around 1860, though we cannot rule out potential albumen print status. There is no question, however, that the print dates to the period of the image itself--we must stress this is no later creation. The image displays superior contrast and presents in remarkable condition for its advanced age, a solid EX in its original, uncleaned condition. The paper mount, which extends the dimensions to approximately 7x9", exhibits expected toning and a touch of inconsequential staining at left edge Reverse holds a penciled notation of ownership, "Mrs. Rose Parkes," and the embossed (reversed) photographer's imprint, that reads, "Heard & Moseley Photographers, 10 Tremont Row, Boston."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2013
    2nd-4th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 500

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