The Donaldson Network is on the hunt for a movie, possibly starring John Donaldson

Posted on October 8, 2011

A movie called "As the World Rolls On" Stars Jack Johnson, Kansas City Monarchs, and maybe John Donaldson

This year, it was discovered that a movie was filmed in Kansas City, in 1921, called "As the World Rolls On." As it turns out, a lot is known about the movie, including a post on Internet Movie DataBase, or

The movie stars: Jack Johnson, Blanche Thompson, Walter Simpson , Versia Rice, Sam Crawford with several of the Kansas City Monarchs, Bruce Petway with several of the Detroit Stars, and Rube Foster with Several of the Chicago American Giants.

While the movie has not yet been found, we get to know more and more about the movie each month. There are several archives around the country and the world, so we have hope that somebody knows something more about the movie, and if it exists, we are destined to find it! It would be another amazing find and addition to baseball history.

Click here to read more about the latest search for the movie, "As the World Rolls On."

Filed under Movies |

Donaldson Teammate Photos and Identification

Posted on September 15, 2011

Working to identify the players of the 1912 Hopkins Brothers Photo - Hopkins Brothers Photo

A recent find in the April 25, 1912 newspaper you can read by clicking here, says that "Bert Sweely, one of the best men that ever wore a wind pad in this city will go out with the Hopkins Bros. All Nations club;" and that lead us to realize we had a few unanswered questions. The first, of course, is "What in the world is a wind pad?"

We're guessing it means he was a catcher. But more importantly, this newspaper quote often leads us to more questions than answers. We don't have records of Bert Sweely playing with the All Nations in 1912. We do have a Sweeley playing for Webster City in 1916. Maybe he caught for John Donaldson, maybe he didn't. We're always looking.

We are still working on identifying players, in order to save and share this information for future researchers. So, take a look at the 1912 Hopkins Bros. All Nations photo comparison.

Donaldson Network Cartoons and Caricatures

Posted on December 5, 2008

Felix and Fink Comic Strips and Common Black Baseball Cartoons of the Era -

While researching John Donaldson, Black Baseball, Negro Leagues, and other Barnstorming Baseball teams, many of us come across cartoons and caricatures in the newspapers. Understanding how these cartoons made their way from newspaper to newspaper is enough of a task. But they did. The same cartoon prints advertising teams Donaldson played for are exactly the same prints used to advertise other black baseball teams around the country.

Then, while skimming through a microfilm, this Felix and Fink Comic Strip was discovered. Considering the piece was almost missed, it is indeed an amazing find and quite a discussion piece about the effect black baseball players had on people of that era. Click here to see the Felix and Fink Comic Strip.

Filed under Comic Strips |

"Generic" Black Baseball Comics

Posted on December 4, 2008

Found by Michael Johnson while researching the Page Fence Giants -

While attending the 2008 Mallory Conference in Chicago, we were admiring the work of Michael Johnson who made a series of posters featuring the 1896 Page Fence Giants. It didn't occur to anybody there was something that tied his work to ours until this cartoon was spotted:

The exact same cartoon, as well as a series of others have been spotted in newspapers all over the U.S. Why would a stamp in Adrian, Michigan a few years before the turn of the century also exist in Osakis, Minnesota in the 19-teens? We started collecting these comics, finding them in Granite Falls, Paynesville, and many other places.

Understanding how these stamps were made is certainly a study in the history of Xylography, which is carving wooden blocks in the negative so that an image can be printed on to paper. This was not only an artform, so was creating the correct ink. Once a wooden block was created, it remained in service, and could have traveled the country from one newspaper office to the next.

Where have all of these blocks gone? There are many of these printing blocks available, at museums, flea markets, auctions, and antique stores. But the truth is they are rare. Blocks, even more recent rubber stamp versions, were mostly made from wood. When they took up too much space, they were likely burned for heat, or simply burned to make room in the newspaper office.

The art is far from dead, and there are very few artists who continue this trade. One here in the U.S., in Kansas City, is called Hammerpress, and they not only carve printing blocks, they make prints in multiple colors.

Filed under Comic Strips |

**More Cartoons Discovered!**

Posted on December 4, 2008

Peter Gorton finds more Black Baseball Cartoons -

Adding to the last story, Pete found a few more pictures to add to our list of finds. If you have any information about other places you've found these pictures, we'd love to hear it!

It may sound silly, but it's hard to imagine these blocks were carved over 100 years ago, and they still bring joy. They show that black baseball was important enough to everyone that newspaper editors used cartoon printing blocks in much the same way they used cartoon printing blocks for major league baseball teams.

Filed under Comic Strips |