Friday, April 30, 2021

The Boys of Summer, Part 3 - Chromolithographic Baseball Art

In the 1880s color photography was more of a hope than a reality, although a few pioneers were getting some marginal results in labs.  Another process, chromolithography, began as a way to cheaply reproduce fine art in the 1860s and 70s.  By the 1880s baseball stars began to appear in color in advertisements, magazines, and of course on baseball cards.  Usually painted from photo studies of the stars, these became so iconic that the Library of Congress has a collection of them.  That's where I found these, and I'm starting with "Big Dan" Brouthers (6'2", 210 lbs.) who played first base for the Detroit Wolverines when this card for Old Judge and Gypsy Queen cigarettes was made.
Here's a bonus photo of Big Dan:



  1. Do you know if Christian Joseph Leyendecker was responsible for any of this art? The style if not the execution is very much his.

    1. Leyendecker was just a kid when these works were done in the 1880s, and his baseball themed pieces date from about 1915.