First Known Reference to Baseball at Yale

James Beebee Brinsmade Jr.’s diary offers intimate details of what life was like on Yale University’s campus in the 1840s. Brinsmade’s two-volume diary appears at auction today in the Printed & Manuscript Americana sale. A member of the class of 1845, his writings include everything from the typical freshman hijinks to campus political battles—a member of the Scroll & Key society, Brinsmade was unsuccessful in his campaign for class orator.

Rick Stattler with James B. Brinsmade’s manuscript diary from Yale University in the 1840s.

The diaries also include the first known reference to baseball at Yale. While Yale’s intercollegiate baseball team was not formed until 1872, Brinsmade launched an intramural club three decades earlier: “I proposed that we should get up a base ball club in our class. [Redford] entered into it finely and went right off and got the bats & ball made and this afternoon we had a glorious game on the green near the Methodist Church.” For more about the diaries and an interview with Americana specialist Rick Stattler, read the article in today’s New Haven Register