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Gunn Scholar Uncovers Baseball History

This famous photograph of a baseball game being played on the Washington Green in 1869 was the catalyst for Mark Rhoads' research project. Photo, courtesy of The Gunnery Archives
For the past year Mark Rhoads, a senior at The Gunnery, has pursued his love of our National Pastime through a historical research project. A year ago Mark was chosen by his faculty to be the Gunn Scholar for the 2003/2004 academic year. This new program at The Gunnery offers graduating seniors the opportunity to develop their research, writing and oral presentation skills through a year-long individual research project into some aspect of the life and times of Frederick Gunn and his wife Abigail, who founded the school in 1850.

Mark, an avid baseball player himself, was intrigued by a famous photograph in the collection of The Gunnery Archives. This photograph was of a baseball game being played on the Washington Green in 1869. Mark proposed a research project that would entail unraveling the story of the photograph and the related story of the development of the game of baseball in rural Washington, Connecticut, in the second half of the 19th century. With the advice and counsel of a team of faculty and countless outside professionals, Mark's original research has taken him to The Gunnery Archives, the Gunn Historical Museum, the Litchfield Historical Society, the New Milford Historical Society, the National Baseball Library and Archive in Cooperstown, New York, and the Sterling Library of Manuscripts and Archives at Yale University. Mark has discovered a great deal of interesting information. In addition to the presentation of his research to his classmates and faculty at The Gunnery, Mark has applied for and been accepted to make a presentation to the annual meeting of the Society of American Baseball Research in Cincinnati, Ohio this July.

The Gunn Historical Museum is pleased to present Mark Rhoad's research on early baseball in Washington, Connecticut, as a part of its main exhibition for the 2004 season.

Special Thanks to Gunnery Faculty: Julia Alling, John Alter and Paula Krimsky

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