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Bristow Adams (1875–1957)
Potomac Press, Washington, D.C.
Mercersburg, 1903
ink-photo lithograph
57 x 36 cm (22 2/5 x 14 1/5 in.)
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

This romantic image of a young ballplayer was created to promote Mercersburg Academy, a preparatory school in Pennsylvania founded in 1893 by Dr. William Mann Irvine. The poster recalls a passion for "America's national game" that grew with industrialization, urbanization, and real increases in leisure time. In 1903 the warring National and American major leagues agreed to a landmark compromise that established a national baseball commission to regulate practices and arbitrate disputes, reinstated the reserve clause limiting players' salaries, and institutionalized the first World Series.

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Biography of Bristow Adams

Bristow Adams studied and briefly taught journalism at Stanford University in California in the late 1890s, where he also served as editor of several campus publications. As a student, Adams participated in an 1897 expedition to the Pribilof Islands by working as an artist for the Bearing Sea Fur Seal Commission. From 1914 to 1945 he served as publications program director for the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell University while teaching courses in journalism and natural resource conservation. The origin of his relationship with Mercersburg Academy, for which he created the image of the young ballplayer to advertise the school, is unknown. However, a keen interest in athletics is demonstrated by Adams's twenty-five-year tenure as faculty advisor for the Cornell track team.

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