University Archives


Moe Berg Handwritten Directory Notes on Springfield, OH, from 1902-1936. The Catcher was a Spy

25pp on fifteen sheets, measuring 5" x 8", no place, undated [post 1936]. An expansive directory of a small group of people, spanning nearly 35 years. The sheets are titled "Springfield Ohio - City Directory", and date from 1902-1936. The document provides the names, occupations, and place of residence of a group of people, listed alphabetically. As the years go on, some of the names listed come and go, and the occupations of some change over the years as well. Most represented are members of the Bauer and Wren families. Harry E. Bauer had been a travelling salesman, Henry Bauer a machinist, Lydia C. Bauer an operator, Marguerite Bauer a clerk, and Elmer G. Bauer a student, bookkeeper, and a real estate agent. An Edward Wren worked as an Importer and Dealer of dry goods, carpets, and wallpaper, and Alphonse Wren was a medical student. Also included is a James Malone, Martin L. Walsh, and Mabel C. Walsh. It is not immediately apparent why Berg kept these records and how he used them. It is possible that he was doing research in some capacity, whether it be on his ancestry or for a government project. Each full page has approximately 130 words written in Berg's hand. As some pages are partially used and others blank, a rough estimate of the total handwritten words in the collections is between 2400-2600. Written in pencil. Moderate toning to the pages throughout, with flattened folds and some small separations. Small tears at the upper and lower edges. A few areas of chipping at the corners and edges as well. The item comes with a copy of a JSA Auction Letter of Authenticity, authenticated February 12, 2016.

Morris "Moe" Berg (1902-1972), while an average baseball player, was an incredibly intelligent man with a gift for languages. He graduated from Princeton and Columbia Law School and spoke seven languages. After his retirement from the MLB in 1939, he was recruited to work as a spy with the Office of the Coordinator of the Inter-American Affairs (OIAA). He would later go on to accept a position with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Special Branch in 1943. The group of papers may have been used by Berg either in his capacity as an agent of the government, or for his own personal interest in genealogy. Either way, the pages are truly an interesting relic and deserve further research!

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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