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Young Diarist Goes to "Play at Base Ball" in Surrey

Salience Noteworthy
Tags English Base Ball
City/State/Country: Surrey, England
Game Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult

On the day after Easter in 1755, 18-year-old William Bray recorded the following entry in his diary:

"After Dinner Went to Miss Seale's to play at Base Ball, with her, the 3 Miss Whiteheads, Miss Billinghurst, Miss Molly Flutter, Mr. Chandler, Mr. Ford, H. Parsons & Jolly. Drank tea and stayed till 8."




The story of this 2006 find is told in Block, David, "The Story of William Bray's Diary," Base Ball, volume , no. 2 (Fall 2007), pp. 5-11.

See also John Thorn's blog entry at http://ourgame.mlblogs.com/2013/09/05/the-story-of-william-brays-diary/.

see also Sam_Marchiano_and_the_1755_Bray_Diary_Find for an interview with film-maker Sam Marciano, whose documentary Baseball Discovered led to this new find in 2005.


Block points out that this diary entry is (as of 2008) among the first four appearances of the term "base ball," [see #1744.2 and #1748.1 above, and #1755.4 below].  It shows adult and mixed-gender play, and indicates that "at this time, baseball was more of a social phenomenon than a sporting one. . . . played for social entertainment rather than serious entertainment." [Ibid, page 9.]

William Bray is well known as a diarist and local historian in Surrey.  His diary, in manuscript, came to light in England during the 2008 filming of Ms Sam Marchiano's award-winning documentary, "Base Ball Discovered." (As of late 2020, ITunes lists this documentary at https://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/base-ball-discovered/id385353782.  Its charge is $10.  Another route is https://www.mlb.com/video/base-ball-discovered-c7145607)

As of 2019 the diary was missing again -- Block tells the sad story in Pastime Lost (U Nebraska Press, 2019), p. 37.




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Submitted by Sam Marchiano, Tricia St. John Barry
Submission Note Sam and Tricia were instrumental in making this find in 2006.


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