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Ralph H. Baer Papers

Creator:
Baer, Ralph H., 1922-2014  Search this
Extent:
16 Cubic feet (44 boxes and 1 oversize folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Audiotapes
Audiocassettes
Cd-roms
Diagrams
Drawings
Interviews
Videotapes
Correspondence
Sketches
Photographs
Oral history
Notes
Manuals
Date:
1943 - 2015
Summary:
Ralph H. Baer was a German-born ordnance specialist, inventor, and engineer. He was a pioneer of early videogame technology. The papers include autobiographical materials; firearms notes, manuscripts, and photographs; and videogame and television engineering notes, diagrams, schematics, and video documentation.
Scope and Contents:
The Ralph Baer Papers include autobiographical materials and an extended oral history interview. The Papers also include materials about military small arms created by Baer during his World War II service. The largest portion of the collection documents Baer's work on video games.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 12 series.

Series 1: Autobiographical Documents, 1962-2006

Subseries 1.1: Manuscript, book and other documents, 1962-2006

Subseries 1.2: Other Media: CDs, VHS videos, periodical, 1991, 2000-2003

Series 2: WW II Small Arms Documents, 1943-1953

Subseries 2.1: Correspondence, 1950-1953

Subseries 2.2: Writings and notes, 1943-1948

Subseries 2.3: Drawings and schematics, undated

Subseries 2.4: Manuals and encyclopedias, 1943

Subseries 2.5: Photographs, 1945

Series 3: Hans Otto Mauksch Materials, 1944-1964

Subseries 3.1: Personal background information, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1964

Subseries 3.2: Instructional materials, 1944-1946, undated

Subseries 3.3: Ft. Riley, Kansas, 1946, 1953

Series 4: TV Game Documents, 1966-1972

Subseries 4.1: Working notes, diagrams and schematics, 1966-1971

Subseries 4.2: Administrative documents, 1966-1972 Subseries 4.3: Notebooks, 1966-1968

Subseries 4.4: TV game development documentation, 1966-1968

Series 5: Sanders Associates, Transitron, and Van Norman Industries, 1952-2003

Series 6: Product Development Documents, 1974-2015

Series 7: Product Guides and Technical Support, 1943-2011

Series 8: Legal and Patent Documents, 1966-2014

Series 9: Writings and Notes, 1946-1999

Series 10: Miscellaneous, 1961-2012

Series 11: Correspondence, 1983-2014

Series 12: Publicity and Awards, 1979-2015
Biographical / Historical:
Ralph H. Baer (1922-2014) was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1938. A graduate of the National Radio Institute (1940), Baer worked as a radio technician in the New York City area, servicing all types of home and auto radios. During World War II, Baer served in the United States Army, one year stateside, and two years in Europe. He was assigned to Military Intelligence and became an expert on military small arms. Baer returned to the United States with eighteen tons of foreign small arms for use in exhibits at Aberdeen, Maryland; Springfield, Massachusetts Armory; and Ft. Riley, Kansas.

After the war, Baer attended the American Television Institute of Technology in Chicago, graduating with a BS in television engineering. In 1949, Baer joined a small electro medical equipment firm, Wappler, Inc., as their chief engineer. He designed and built surgical cutting machines, epilators, and low frequency pulse generating muscle-toning equipment. In 1951, Baer moved to Loral Electronics of Bronx, New York as a senior engineer, designing power line carrier signaling equipment for IBM. During 1952-1956, Baer worked at Transitron, Inc., in New York City as a chief engineer and later as vice president. In 1956, Baer joined Sanders Associates in Nashua, New Hampshire building airborne radar components. He became manager of the Electronic Design Department at Sanders and eventually Division Manager and Chief Engineer for Equipment Design. Baer retired in 1987.

At Sanders in 1966, Baer began an independent project experimenting with ways for consumers to interact with standard home television sets. Development of interactive TV Game (TVG) ideas became a company-supported project continued by Baer and assisted by William H. Harrison and William T. Rusch (download the TV Game chronology prepared by Ralph Baer in 2006). By mid-1967, ping pong videogames were played inside Sanders, patent disclosures were applied for, and hardware was designed. Baer and his associates called the devices they were developing "boxes" and numbered the various versions one through seven. In 1971, Magnavox became Sanders Associates's first videogame licensee. Between 1972 and 1975, Magnavox produced and sold over 700,000 units of Odyssey, a set of games played on its television receivers. Atari became a licensee in 1976 after the first of many lawsuits won by Sanders in pursuit of patent infringements.

During his tenure at Sanders and thereafter, Baer was a prolific inventor. His creations included many electronic toys and games and other consumer electronic products. Among the better known products based on Baer's work are Milton Bradley's Simon, Galoob's Smarty Bear Video, and Kenner's Laser Command. In 2004 President George W. Bush awarded Baer the National Medal of Technology.

Baer married Dena Whinston in 1952 and they had three children, James, Mark, and Nancy. Ralph Baer died on December 6, 2014, at the age of 92.
Related Materials:
Materials at the Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Ralph H. Baer Innovative Lives Presentation, August 15, 2009 (AC1179)

The presentation documents a moderated conversation about Baer's life and work. Baer reenacts, with his partner William Harrison, the first time he played "Odyssey," the first home video game for the consumer market, which he invented, and answers questions from the audience. Materials include original video (born digital), master videos, and reference videos.

Materials at Other Organizations

Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong

Ralph H. Baer Papers, 1968-2010 inclusive; 1975-1998 bulk

The Ralph H. Baer papers are a compilation of correspondence, game designs, drawings, notes, reference materials, photographs, product descriptions, digital videos, schematics, electronic components, and manuals utilized by Ralph H. Baer throughout his lengthy career in the toy and game industry. The bulk of the materials are from 1975 through 1998.

U.S. Ordnance Museum, Fort Lee, Virginia

Materials consist of data on foreign small arms brought back from Europe in 1946 by Ralph H. Baer.

Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York

Holdings include set of seven recreations of "TV game" prototypes originally created between 1966 and 1969, donated by pioneering game developer Ralph Baer. One of Baer's game prototypes, known as the "Brown Box," was licensed by Magnavox and released in 1972 as the Magnavox Odyssey, the world's first commercial home video game console.

University of Texas, Austin, Briscoe Center for American History

Ralph H. Baer "Brown Box" replica, 1952-1983, 2006-2012

The Ralph H. Baer "Brown Box" replica includes a fully-functional replica of Ralph Baer's "Brown Box," the prototype video game console that was used as the basis of the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972. The collection also contains related research materials.
Separated Materials:
The Division of Medicine and Science holds artifacts related to this collection including early video game prototypes and TV Game products.

TV Game Unit #1 (TVG#1); 1966; vacuum tube spot generator with Heathkit IG-62 Generator (See Accession 2006.0102.01)

Heathkit IG-62; used with TVG #1 (See Accession 2006.0102.02)

TV Game Unit #2 (TVG #2), aka the "Pump Unit," 1967; large aluminum chassis with wooden "pump" handle (See Accession 2006.0102.03)

TV Game Unit #7 (TVG#7), aka "Brown Box," 1967/1968; prototype for Magnavox Odyssey (See Accession 2006.0102.04)

Cardboard program cards for use with Brown Box (See Accession 2006.0102.05)

Lightgun, 1967/1968; game accessory for Brown Box (See Accession 2006.0102.06)

TV Game Unit #8, 1968; "de/dt" (velocity responsive) ballgame chassis for use with Brown Box (See Accession 2006.0102.07)

Magnavox Odyssey (Model ITL200) video game unit, 1972; with all accessories in the original carton (See Accession 2006.0102.08)

Milton-Bradley Company SIMON handheld microprocessor-control game, 1978 (See Accession 2006.0102.09)

Ideal Toy Company MANIAC microprocessor-control game, 1979, in original box with game instructions (See Accession 2006.0102.10)

Golf Game accessory, 1968; golf ball mounted on joystick handle for use with Brown Box (See Accession 2006.0102.11

"Brown Box" programming card, target shooting, 1967 (See Accession 2006.0102.12)
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Ralph H. Baer in 2003.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use. Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions. Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Books  Search this
Firearms  Search this
Games  Search this
Litigation  Search this
Inventions -- 20th century  Search this
Machine guns  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Weapons  Search this
Video games  Search this
Toys -- 20th century  Search this
Television -- History  Search this
Rifles  Search this
Pistols  Search this
Military intelligence  Search this
Genre/Form:
Audiotapes
Audiocassettes
CD-ROMs
Diagrams
Drawings -- 1940-1950
Interviews -- 2000-2010
Videotapes
Correspondence -- 1950-2000
Sketches
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1940-1950
Photographs -- 20th century
Oral history -- 2000-2010
Notes
Manuals -- 1940-1950
Citation:
Ralph H. Baer Papers, 1943-2015, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0854
See more items in:
Ralph H. Baer Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0854
Online Media:

See Through House, Katrina, Gulf Coast, Mississippi, [black-and-white photoprint]

Photographer:
Golding, Melody  Search this
Donor:
Golding, Melody  Search this
Collection Creator:
Golding, Melody  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (Silver gelatin on paper, unmounted., 7.75" x 10.5" image on 11" x 14" paper.)
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Photographs
Place:
Mississippi
Date:
2005
Scope and Contents:
Parts of this house, devasted by Hurricane Katrina, are still standing, but only the framing remains.
Local Numbers:
AC1166-0000001.tif (AC Scan No.)
Exhibitions Note:
Displayed in Archives Center exhibition, "Gift of the Artist: Photographers as Donors," November 11, 2011-Feb. 29, 2012. David Haberstich, curator.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Houses -- Mississippi  Search this
Katrina (hurricane)  Search this
Hurricanes  Search this
Disasters  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 2000-2010 -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin
Collection Citation:
Melody Golding Photoprints, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Melody Golding Photoprints
Melody Golding Photoprints / Series 1: Hurricane Katrina Photographs / Set of signed prints
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1166-ref564

Smashed House, Katrina, Gulf Coast, Mississippi, [black-and-white photoprint]

Photographer:
Golding, Melody  Search this
Donor:
Golding, Melody  Search this
Collection Creator:
Golding, Melody  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (Silver gelatin on paper, unmounted., 7.75" x 10.5" image on 11" x 14" paper.)
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Photographs
Place:
Mississippi
Date:
2005
Scope and Contents:
This house, destroyed by Hurrican Katrina, has completely collapsed under its roof, which is still largely intact. Second floor dormer windows show.
Local Numbers:
AC1166-0000002.tif (AC Scan No.)
Exhibitions Note:
Displayed in Archives Center exhibition, "Gift of the Artist: Photographers as Donors," November 11, 2011-Feb. 29, 2012. David Haberstich, curator.
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Houses -- Mississippi  Search this
Katrina (hurricane)  Search this
Hurricanes  Search this
Disasters  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 2000-2010 -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin
Collection Citation:
Melody Golding Photoprints, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Melody Golding Photoprints
Melody Golding Photoprints / Series 1: Hurricane Katrina Photographs / Set of signed prints
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1166-ref565

Joseph Vitone Family Records

Donor:
Vitone, Joseph  Search this
Extent:
0.25 Cubic feet (3 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Place:
Ohio
Akron (Ohio)
Date:
1998-2004
Summary:
Collection consists of photographic images of the Vitone family in Akron, Ohio and other locations, as part of an ongoing photographic document called "Family Records." This is an ongoing portrait project which for the past 20 years has used large-format negatives to document families living around the Rust Belt City of Akron, Ohio, former home to the country's major rubber and tire producers. These portraits offer personal yet unsentimental views of the subjects finding purpose and evolving family structures in these largely blue-collar communities that at times wrestle with job insecurity and problems accompanying alcohol and opioid use.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists primarily of 37 photographic prints, portraits of Vitone's extended family in the Akron, Ohio, area, plus other locations, forms part of an ongoing photographic document called "Family Records"; also two CD-Roms containing images and text.

Most of the images are posed environmental portraits showing the subjects' homes or other personal contexts. The original negatives are large-format; 4" x 5". The collection is arranged into two series. Series one is the photoprints and series two contains other materials.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into two series.

Series 1: Photoprints

Series 2: Other Materials
Biographical / Historical:
Joseph Vitone holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Fine Arts degree in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology and is Professor of Photocommunications at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. In 1998, he began a photographic document project called "Family Records" using for the most part, immediate and extended families of both Vitone and his wife. The Vitones grew up in north-eastern Ohio. While the series also includes photographs taken in other states of farther flung family, the majority of the portrait subjects live in or near Akron, former home to the country's major rubber and tire producers including Goodyear, Goodrich, and Firestone. Norton and Barberton and other more rural communities neighboring Akron, serve as locations for many of these images along with Akron proper. He is the father of photographer Dylan Vitone.
Provenance:
These photographs were printed by Mr. Joseph Vitone in 2004 from the original negatives, especially as a gift to the Archives Center.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Reproduction restricted due to copyright. Copyright retained by Joseph Vitone.
Topic:
Marriage  Search this
Portraits -- 20th century  Search this
Family -- United States  Search this
Kinship  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1990-2000
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 2000-2010
Citation:
Joseph Vitone Family Records, 2004, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of the artist.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0883
See more items in:
Joseph Vitone Family Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0883
Online Media:

Robert Mosher Photoprints

Donor:
Mosher, Robert  Search this
Names:
Lincoln Memorial (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Extent:
0.3 Cubic feet (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Place:
Washington (D.C.)
Date:
2003
Summary:
The collection consists of nine black and white silver prints by Robert Mosher of monuments in Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia with a focus on the visitors.
Scope and Contents:
Photographs taken at the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and Washington Monument in Washington, DC, as well as the JFK Memorial in Arlington, Virginia showing tourists and visitors interacting with the sites.

The photographs are on paper, fiber-based, silver gelatin, matted, and 18-1/2" x 21-1/4".
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into one series of nine photographs.
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Mosher is a photographer who works in black and white and focuses on filling space in his compositions.

Sources

Bonner, Heather. "Photography Opening with Robert Mosher." Thedetroiter.com. April 8, 2009. (Accessed July 22, 2016. http://www.thedetroiter.com/v3/2009/04/photography-opening-with-robert-mosher/.)
Provenance:
Donated by Robert Mosher.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
RRobert Mosher retains copyright. rchives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Tourists -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Thomas Jefferson Memorial (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Monuments  Search this
Washington Monument (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Tourism  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 2000-2010
Citation:
Robert Mosher Photoprints, 2003, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of the artist.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1203
See more items in:
Robert Mosher Photoprints
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1203

Stuart Cohen "Marblehead at the Millennium," Photoprints

Creator:
Cohen, Stuart  Search this
Extent:
0.02 Cubic feet (1 box)
49 Photographic prints (Silver gelatin on paper, 16 x 20)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographic prints
Portfolios (groups of works)
Photographs
Place:
Massachusetts
Marblehead (Mass.)
Date:
2000
Summary:
These photographs depict various scenes in Marblehead, Massachusetts, as photographed in the year 1999, including views of the town and its environs, commerce, and activities of people, especially families. The photographs are part of a self-assigned project, through which Stuart Cohen intended to survey the state of the town as it prepared to greet the new millennium.
Scope and Contents:
Photographs depict various aspects of activities in Marblehead, Massachusetts, in the year 2000, including views of the town and its structure, architecture, and environs, as well as activities of people, especially families. There is also emphasis on the commerce of the town. Subjects include high school cheerleaders, children sledding, an amusement park, an arts festival, firemen with a hand pumper, a costume parade, Santa Claus and Christmas rituals, a fitness center, an outdoor wedding, school classrooms, a frame house under construction, sailmaking, a farmers' market, stores, restaurants, a bar, fishing, a library, etc. Prints captioned and signed, with additional information on verso.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into one series.
Biographical / Historical:
Stuart Cohen initiated this project to document Marblehead, Massachusetts, at the turn of the new millennium.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Stuart Cohen.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Reproduction restricted due to copyright. Contact photographer for reproduction.
Topic:
Cheerleading  Search this
Bars (Drinking establishments)  Search this
Cities and towns  Search this
Christmas -- Massachusetts  Search this
Restaurants  Search this
Firemen  Search this
Farmers' markets  Search this
Libraries  Search this
Fishing  Search this
Commerce -- Massachusetts  Search this
Classrooms  Search this
Family -- 20th century  Search this
Construction  Search this
Santa Claus  Search this
Retail trade  Search this
Water pumps  Search this
Schools  Search this
Weddings -- 1990-2000  Search this
Genre/Form:
Portfolios (groups of works) -- 1990-2000
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 2000-2010
Citation:
Photographs by Stuart Cohen from "Marblehead at the Millennium," 2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of the artist.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0804
See more items in:
Stuart Cohen "Marblehead at the Millennium," Photoprints
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0804

Chris Churchill "American Faith" Photographs

Creator:
Churchill, Christopher, 1977-  Search this
Donor:
Cafaro, Carl  Search this
Cafaro, Carl  Search this
Extent:
0.8 Cubic feet (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Date:
2004 - 2006
Scope and Contents:
Three black and white silver gelatin photographic prints by photographers Chris Churchill from his "American Faith" series, 2004-2006.
Arrangement:
1 series.
Biographical / Historical:
Photographer, based in Massachusetts. In 2004, disturbed by instances of religious intolerance he was seeing in the years following the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks, Churchill drove around the nation to photograph what he described as "an America that felt divided" and "caught in the middle of a cultural tension." While traveling he talked to Americans about their faith, and his book, American Faith, is built around these photographs and conversations.
Provenance:
Donated by The Cafaro Group, Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management, through by Carl Cafaro, 2012.
Restrictions:
Collection open for research on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Religion  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 2000-2010
Citation:
Chris Churchill "American Faith" Photographs, 2004-2006, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1305
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1305

Ronald Gabriel Collection of Baseball Memorabilia

Creator:
Gabriel, Ronald L., 1941-2009  Search this
Names:
Brooklyn Dodgers (Baseball team).  Search this
Ruth, Babe, 1895-1948  Search this
Extent:
2 Cubic feet (7 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Placemats
Photographs
Ephemera
Packaging
Newsletters
Scrapbooks
Baseball cards
Tickets
Date:
circa 1912-2009
Summary:
The collection consists of newslettersDodgers Line Drives, Brooklyn Dodgers Fan Club Newsletter, and Gabe-o-gram, albums of trading cards and Hall of Fame postcards, many of which have been autographed. There are also photographs of teams, individual players, and a photograph of Ronald Gabriel with Babe Ruth. There is a large scrapbook containing over 1000 autographs and several items of baseball ephemera, including placemats, magnets, scorecards, team schedules, programs, and posters.
Scope and Contents:
The collection includes baseball memorabilia acquired over Ronald Gabriel's lifetime as a fan, especially of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Series 1, Newsletters, 1944-2008, includes newsletters for the Dodgers Line Drives which Gabriel published, as well as the Brooklyn Dodgers Fan Club, which he founded in 1975. He also authored a newsletter called the Gabe-o-gram.The Brooklyn Bums was a newsletter to which Gabriel subscribed.

Series 2, Photographs, circa 1947-2006, consists of one oversize photo of Babe Ruth, a folder containing collectible photographs, and five packs of team photographs of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. Notably in this series is the photograph of Ronald Gabriel as a child standing with the "Great Bambino," Babe Ruth.

Series 3, Baseball Ephemera, 1912-1990, contains five subseries: Subseries 1, Trading Cards; Subseries 2, Postcards; Subseries 3, Scrapbook; Subseries 4, Posters; and Subseries 5, Ephemera. There are two albums of baseball trading cards dating from 1912 to 1973 and two albums of autographed Hall of Fame postcards. The scrapbook contains 144 pages and over 1000 autographs acquired by Gabriel as a boy. There are oversize posters documenting Duke Snider Restaurant & Bar (autographed by Duke Snider), 1989 and "Catch Baseball Fever," undated. The ephemera includes game tickets, a letter from Dodgers' long timeradio broadcaster Vin Scully, advertising, product packaging, baseball placemats, programs, team schedules, programs, scorecards, magnets, and several other small items.
Arrangement:
The collection is organized into 3 series.

Series 1, Newsletters, 1944-2008

Series 2, Photographs, circa 1947-2006

Series 3, Baseball Ephemera, 1912-1990

Subseries 1, Trading Cards, 1912-1973 (Bulk, 1940-1954)

Subseries 2, Postcards, undated

Subseries 3, Scrapbook, undated

Subseries 4, Posters, 1955-1982

Subseries 5, Ephemera, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Ronald Gabriel (1941-2009) grew up in Brooklyn, just two miles from Ebbets Field, home of the Dodgers. He quickly became engrossed in the baseball atmosphere around his home and developed a passion for the sport that would shape his entire life. He regularly wrote letters to baseball teams asking for player autographs. As a result he compiled a massive collection of signatures, including those from Joe DiMaggio, Warren Spahn, Mickey Mantle, Leo Durocher, Bob Feller, and hundreds more. He continued collecting baseball memorabilia for the rest of his life. The Dodgers were his team. He was born in 1941, just in time to watch the Dodgers become one of the greatest franchises in baseball history, winning pennants in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953. Finally, after losing to the New York Yankees in their previous five World Series, Ronald Gabriel witnessed the Brooklyn Dodgers win the 1955 World Series.

Even after his team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958 Gabriel remained passionately devoted to the Brooklyn Dodgers. He published a newsletter called Dodgers Line Drives that lasted until 2009 and started the "Worldwide" Brooklyn Dodgers Fan Club in 1975 in honor of the twentieth anniversary of their World Series victory. He was also a guest speaker at George Washington University for a class called Race, Sports, and the American Dream, where he talked about Jackie Robinson. His baseball knowledge extended far beyond the Dodgers. He became a widely known baseball historian, acted as vice-president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and established the Washington Metro Chapter of the SABR. Later in his life Gabriel was honored by the Dodgers when they inducted him into the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame, an honor not usually given to fans. Gabriel was an important part of the Dodger community. He became close friends with a number of widows of former players and visited them often. Ronald Gabriel died in July, 2009 at the age of 68.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Archives Center Sports Memorabilia Collection, circa 1970 to present, #796

Ronald S. Korda Collection of Sports and Trading Cards, 1952-1996, AC0545

Lebanon Valley Baseball League Collection, 1936-1963, AC0067

Eleanor Linkous Washington, D.C. Sports Memorabilia Collection, 1925-1956, AC0774

Lou Newman Collection of Baseball Memorabilia, 1895-1999, AC0696

Sioux City Ghosts Collection, 1920s-1983, AC0634

Stall and Dean Company Records, 1898-1998, AC0669
Provenance:
Collection bequeathed to the National Museum of American History by Ronald Gabriel through Tom Cholis, October 15, 2008.
Restrictions:
Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from the Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.
Rights:
Collections items available for reproduction but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproudction permission from the the Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.
Topic:
Collectors and collecting  Search this
Collectibles  Search this
Baseball players  Search this
Baseball  Search this
Sports -- Collectibles  Search this
Genre/Form:
Placemats
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 20th century
Ephemera -- 20th century
Photographs -- Photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 2000-2010
Packaging
Newsletters -- 20th century
Newsletters -- 21st century
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Ephemera -- 21st century
Baseball cards
Tickets
Citation:
Ronald Gabriel Collection of Baseball Memorabilia, circa 1912-2009, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1178
See more items in:
Ronald Gabriel Collection of Baseball Memorabilia
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1178
Online Media:

Nathaniel Mathis Collection of Barbering and Beauty Culture

Creator:
Mathis, Nathaniel, 1946- (barber, motivational speaker)  Search this
Extent:
5.5 Cubic feet (18 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Correspondence
Awards
Interviews
Certificates
Oral history
Videotapes
Place:
Washington (D.C.) -- Small business -- 20th century
Date:
1946-2004
bulk 1970-2004
Summary:
Nathaniel Mathis is a Washington, D.C., hairstylist, inventor, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. His papers document his business life and community involvement.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the work of a hairstylist, inventor, entrepreneur, and public figure whose career reflects significant changes in the African American community in the later 20th century. It is rich in visual imagery created by and for this community. Business papers, correspondence, publicity, photographs, awards and certificates documenting Mathis's work as a highly regarded barber and hairstylist in Washington, D.C., and as member of the D.C. Board of Barbering and Cosmetology are included. Business papers offer insight into the workings of a small privately-owned business. Numerous publicity items and photographs offer evidence of African American style and fashion in New York and Washington, D.C., from the late 1960s through today. Additional material documents Mathis's activities as a community activist, motivational speaker and distance runner. The collection also includes photographs, oral history interviews, and audio-visual materials.

Series 1, Biographical Information and Activities, 1946-2001, undated

This series includes all biographical statements, Mathis's autobiography, high school and college diplomas (including his GED), and other school and religious papers. Also included are advertising and programs for his various community events and motivational speaking engagements. Mathis participated in and sponsored many athletic, religious, community and children's events, which are documented here. Of note is his autobiography, Portrait of a professional: The Nat the Bush Doctor story as told to Jim Link, published in 1986.

Series 2, Beauty Business Documents and Advertising, 1969-2002, undated

Included in this series are papers related to Mathis's hair salon and clinic, his patent (United States Design Patent No. 237,022) for a Barber's Apron, associated marketing materials, and Bush Doctor advertising. Many of the materials are self-produced; both promotional items for customers and advertisements placed in publications such as phone books and newspapers. Documents for his School of Beauty, which ran from 1980 to 1992, include course material, the salon philosophy and the curriculum. His appointment books show the day-to-day life of the Bush Doctor. Also included are events where he appeared as the Bush Doctor.

Series 3, Publicity, 1963-2002

Clippings from newspapers and magazines, as well as entire magazines and newspapers where Mathis was mentioned on the front page. Several magazine covers and fashion spreads were collected because he was responsible for doing the hair of one or more of the models in the photo shoot. He also appeared at many education, trade, fashion, and hair shows, both as a competitor and as a speaker or panel member. Many of the newspapers showcase his inclusion in the Smithsonian collections in 1999 and from his graduation from Prince George's Community College, Maryland, 2001.

Series 4, Washington, D.C. Barbering and Cosmetology Boards, 1966-1997, undated

Mathis was appointed to the Examiner's Board as the chairperson in 1987 by Mayor Marion Barry of Washington, D.C., and to the Barbering and Cosmetology Board in 1994, after delivering a personal statement as to why he should be selected. The Board was significant because it was the first to license hair braiders in the country.

Series 5, Correspondence, 1967-2002, undated

Mathis maintained correspondence from many areas of his life. Topics covered include personal and professional matters, motivational speaking, and applications to appear in hair and trade shows as a competitor and panelist. Correspondents include the International Guest Artist Men's Hairstylist Association, the Red Cross, the Girl Scout Council, Shoptalk Trade publication, children at the Young School, and many beauty supply companies. He also promoted Soft Sheen beauty products and was a spokesperson for them at various events.

Series 6, Awards and Certificates, 1969-2001, undated

Mathis also received many awards, not only for his barbering skills, but for athletic events and for mentoring and providing support to various community organizations. Included are diplomas and certificates of completion for classes that he took related to barbering. He received medals at competitions such as the Coupe de la Paix in Egypt and the Coupe de l'Europe de le Coiffure in Paris, among others.

Series 7, Photographs, 1966-1989, undated

Photographs are comprised of modern color prints and gelatin developing-out paper (modern black and whites). The photographs document both Mathis's public and private life, from family snapshots to publicity photographs for his book and his television appearances. Of note are photographs with celebrities, including Muhammed Ali, Danny Glover, Robin Williams, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, George Foreman, Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, and Don King.

Series 8, Video materials, 1983-2002, undated

Video materials include ½" VHS, DVD and Minidisc formats and document Mathis's motivational speaking, athletic events, and barber training tapes. He made a promotional tape about his life entitled "From Hair to the Throne," which is undated but in DVD format. Much of his motivational speaking took place at high schools and colleges in the Washington, D.C. area. There are also interviews by local television stations. Included are notes about the tapes taken by Fath Davis Ruffins, a curator at the National Museum of American History.

Series 9, Audio Tapes, 1998-2004, undated

Fath Davis Ruffins, a curator at the National Museum of American History, recorded several oral history interviews with Mathis around the time the collection was acquired in 1998. These make up the bulk of the audio tape series and range from 1998 to 2004. Also included are tapes from radio appearances, as well as a motivational business tape which showcases Mathis's vocal talents.

Series 10, Memorabilia, 1992-1998, undated

Included in this collection is the Game of Life (playing pieces, cards, dice) and bags with the Bush Doctor logo on them. Mathis gave gift bags at the 2002 Black History Month convention, which included information about him and his salon, as well as a pick and a hair comb. He also collected political pins and kept many of his name badges and pins from shows and events he attended.
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into 10 series:

Series 1, Biographical Information and Activities, 1946-2001, undated

Series 2, Beauty Business Documents and Advertising, 1969-2002, undated

Series 3, Publicity, 1963-2002

Series 4, Washington, D.C. Barbering and Cosmetology Boards, 1966-1997, undated

Series 5, Correspondence, 1967-2002, undated

Series 6, Awards and Certificates, 1969-2001, undated

Series 7, Photographs, 1966-1989, undated

Series 8, Video materials, 1983-2002, undated

Series 9, Audio Tapes, 1998-2004, undated

Series 10, Memorabilia, 1992-1998, undated
Biographical / Historical:
"Nat Mathis (b. 1946) is a native Washingtonian. He is a man of many talents and measures his success in many ways: innovative hairstylist, entrepreneur, inventor, community activist, motivational speaker and distance runner. Mathis opened his first barber shop in 1969. He is the winner of many national and international hairstyling awards and competitions and was the first African American to win the International Hair Styling competition in Cairo, Egypt in 1981. Mathis was among the first African American hairstylists to embrace and popularize the Afro and, later, cornrows -- hairstyles which many view as expressions of black empowerment. Mathis himself seldom expresses a political ideology of hair, but by 1970, Nat was known among his many satisfied clients and peers as "the Bush Doctor" for his expertise in Afro style and maintenance. He has styled hair for many celebrities; made numerous television appearances; and has been a stylist for several productions at the Kennedy Center, and for two major motion pictures, including Nixon, for which he re-created period hairstyles. He is active in community affairs, gives motivational speeches throughout the Washington, D.C., area, and is particularly interested in mentoring young people. He currently operates a barber shop adjacent to his home in Capitol Heights, Maryland."

*Biographical information provided by Nat Mathis's Official Website, "A Man of Many Talents." http://www.natmathis.com (accessed 02 August, 2006).
Separated Materials:
Mr. Mathis donated three of his patented barbering vests (See Accession # 1998.0114) to the Division of Home and Community Life.
Provenance:
Collection donated to the Archives Center, National Museum of American History by Nathaniel Mathis on April 9, 1998. An additional .3 cubic feet was donated to the Archives Center in 2004; 3 audio cassettes, 1 DVD and 2 mini discs added in 2006.
Restrictions:
Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.

Technical Access: Series 8, Video materials and Series 9, Audiotapes may not be used by researchers unless reference and viewing copies are made available.
Rights:
Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for commercial use. The Archives Center does not own rights to the patent, trademark or any related interest in the artifacts.
Topic:
Barbers  Search this
Hairdressing of African Americans -- 1970-2000 -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Motivation -- Public speaking -- 1970-2000  Search this
Barbering  Search this
Hair  Search this
Barbershops -- Equipment and supplies -- 1970-2000 -- Washington (D.C)  Search this
Public speaking -- 1970-2000  Search this
Inventors  Search this
African American barbers  Search this
African American beauty operators  Search this
Beauty culture  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1950-2000
Correspondence -- 1970-2000
Awards
Interviews -- 2000-2010
Interviews -- 1980-2000
Certificates
Oral history -- 1990-2000
Videotapes
Citation:
Nathaniel Mathis Collection of Barbering and Beauty Culture, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0641
See more items in:
Nathaniel Mathis Collection of Barbering and Beauty Culture
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0641
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