Ronald Gabriel Collection of Baseball Memorabilia

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History 2011

Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
Phone: 202-633-3270

Conditions Governing Access note

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.

Conditions Governing Use note

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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Collection bequeathed to the National Museum of American History by Ronald Gabriel through Tom Cholis, October 15, 2008.

Processing Information note

Processed by Josiah Gould (intern), March, 2011; supervised by Vanessa Broussard, archivist.

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Summary Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Gabriel, Ronald L., 1941-2009
Ronald Gabriel Collection of Baseball Memorabilia
circa 1912-2009
2.0 Cubic feet includes baseball trading cards, photographs, posters, autographs, and a scrapbook (7 boxes)
The collection consists of newsletters Dodgers 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.

Preferred Citation note

[title and date of item], Ronald Gabriel Collection of Baseball Memorabilia, circa 1912-2009, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXX.

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Biographical/Historical note

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.

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Scope and Contents note

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.

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Arrangement note

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

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

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

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Brooklyn Dodgers (Baseball team).


  • Baseball cards
  • Ephemera--20th century.
  • Ephemera--21st century.
  • Newsletters--20th century.
  • Newsletters--21st century.
  • Packaging
  • Photographs--Black-and-white photoprints--Silver gelatin--20th century
  • Photographs--Photoprints--Silver gelatin--2000-2010
  • Placemats
  • Scrapbooks--20th century.
  • Tickets

Personal Name(s)

  • Ruth, Babe, 1895-1948


  • Baseball
  • Baseball players
  • Collectibles
  • Collectors and collecting
  • Sports--Collectibles

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Collection Inventory

Series 1, Newsletters, 1944-2008 

Gabe-o-gram 1975-1983 

  Box Folder
Text   1 1

The Brooklyn Bums Newsletter 1987-1989 

  Box Folder
Text   1 2

Dodgers Line Drives 1944-2008 

  Box Folder
Text   1 3-6

The Brooklyn Dodgers Fan Club Newsletter 1987-2000 

  Box Folder
Text   1 7-9

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Series 2, Photographs circa 1947-2006 

Personal photographs, undated 

  Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 10

Assorted baseball photographs, 1941-2006 

  Box Folder
Graphic materials   1 11

Brooklyn Dodgers team photographs, undated 

  Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 1-3

Los Angeles Dodgers team photographs, undated 

  Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 4

Hall of Fame picture pack, undated 

  Box Folder
Graphic materials   2 5

Babe Ruth photograph, undated 

  Box Folder
Graphic materials   6 1

Series 3, Baseball Ephemera 1912-1990 

Box Box

Postcards, undated 

4 5

Scrapbook, undated 

  Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 6

Posters, 1955-1982 

  Box Folder
Graphic materials   6 2
  Box Folder
Graphic materials   7 2-4

Ephemera, 1949-1993 

  Box Folder
Mixed materials   7 1
  Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 8-10
  Box Folder
Mixed materials   6 3-5

Trading cards, 1912-1973 

  Box Folder
Mixed materials   2 7
Graphic materials   3

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