An integral part of the Museum’s collection of ephemera, the Burdick collection of baseball cards tells the history of popular printmaking in the United States. In 1947, after having approached A. Hyatt Mayor, the Museum’s curator of prints and photographs, the Syracuse electrician Jefferson R. Burdick (1900–1963) began to donate in large batches his entire collection of more than 30,000 baseball cards—along with another 303,000 trade cards, postcards, and posters—to The Met. The baseball cards collected by Burdick represent the most comprehensive public collection outside of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
This exhibition features nearly one hundred cards produced between 1887 and 1959. Collectively, they illustrate the history of baseball from the dead-ball era, at the turn of the nineteenth century, through the golden age and modern era of the sport. Produced using various types of media—from photography to lithography—the cards feature legends of the game as well as lesser-known players, owners, and teams that have contributed to the history of the game.