This issue, we are publishing two articles that reflect aspects of Newporters’ leisure time in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Robert Cvornyek’s robust account of black baseball, “Touching Base: Race, Sport, and Community in Newport,” uncovers a wealth of information about local African-American teams and players, the integration of baseball in Newport (long before Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947), and the visits to the city of elite Negro League teams.

In her article, “From Virtuous Visions to Rubbish and Rats: A Natural History Society in Gilded Age Newport,” Kathrinne Duffy reminds us of a significant chapter in the history of Newport’s cultural organizations. When the Newport Natural History Society was formed in 1883, its founders hoped to attract a wide public following for their exhibits of stuffed animals, birds, and other flora and fauna.