This story originally appeared in The Journal Gazette
MATTOON — In support of ongoing programming by the Mattoon Arts Council, Mattoon Public Library will host a presentation on the lives of three teenage girls’ experiences playing hardball in the 1930s.
“When Women Played Baseball: The Story of Margaret, Nellie and Rose” will be presented at 2 p.m. May 9 by Barbara Gregorich.
The event is free and open to all. The library will offer an array of related literature leading up to the event; for details, contact Ryan Franklin at 217-234-2621.
“When Women Played Baseball” tells the story of two teen girls, one from Illinois and one from Indiana, who in 1934 played on a bloomer girl baseball team: a team that stopped in Wheeling, W.Va., specifically to pick up a third teen.
These three young women — Margaret Gisolo, Nellie Kearns and Rose Gacioch — came from very different backgrounds and had different reasons for playing baseball. When the season was over they followed different paths. But playing baseball on Maud Nelson’s last bloomer girl team profoundly affected their lives and helped determine their careers.
The event is being produced in part by the Illinois Humanities Council’s Road Scholars Speakers Bureau. Road Scholar Barbara Gregorich is a writer for readers of many ages. In the adult field, her best-known book is “Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball” (Harcourt, 1993). She is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. In addition to writing, Gregorich teaches workshops on writing adult fiction, adult nonfiction and children’s books. More information can be found at http://www.barbaragregorich.com/.
Gregorich’s presentation is held in conjunction with the exhibition “Hometown Teams,” The Museum on Main Street program that is part of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.
“Hometown Teams” can be visited at the Mattoon Depot, 1718 Broadway Ave., from noon to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, or by appointment. Call 217-258-6286 or visit mattoonartscouncil.org for more information.