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International Women's Professional Softball Association Collection

Identifier: MSSP 10076

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of material related to the International Women’s Professional Softball Association (IWPSA) during the league’s existence from 1976-1979. The collection contains printed material by and about the IWPSA and its member teams, including media guides, programs, yearbooks, and brochures. The team yearbooks and programs typically contain pictures, biographies, articles, and statistics about the players and the teams in the league. The yearbooks and programs also include information about coaches and administrators, other information about the league, and advertisements. The brochures typically contain ticket pricing and other information for fans. A copy of the 1976 media guide/rule book and a program from the 1976 All-Star game provide additional information about the league. The collection also includes several folders with clippings and press releases about the 1979 IWPSA World Series between the Connecticut Falcons and the St. Louis Hummers. Formats include programs, yearbooks, press releases, clippings, and promotional brochures.


  • Creation: 1976 - 1979

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

The International Women’s Professional Softball Association (IWPSA), also known as Women’s Professional Softball (WPS) was founded in the mid-1970s by tennis champion Billie Jean King, sports promoter Dennis Murphy, star softball pitcher Joan Joyce, and others. The league began play in 1976 with ten teams in five-team Eastern and Western divisions with players mostly drawn from the top levels of amateur fastpitch softballl sponsored by the American Softbal Association. In 1977, the league fielded six teams but dropped to four teams in 1978 and faced financial uncertainty. The Bic Pen corporation signed on as the league’s corporate sponsor, which allowed the IWPSA to survive and to field six teams in three-team Eastern and Western divisions in 1979. After the season, though, Bic withdrew its sponsorship and financial support, causing the league to suspend operations for the 1980 and 1981 seasons. The IWPSA disbanded by 1982.

Franchises in the IWPSA included the Connecticut Falcons (1976-1979), Buffalo Breskis/Buffalo Bisons (1976-1979), San Jose Sunbirds/San Jose Rainbows (1976-1979), St. Louis Hummers (1977-1979), Santa Ana Lionettes (1976-1977), Chicago Ravens (1976), Pennsylvania Liberties (1976), Michigan Travelers (1976), San Diego Sandpipers (1976), Arizona/Phoenix Bird (1976), Southern California Gems (1976), Bakersfield Aggies (1977), New York Golden Apples (1979), and Edmonton Snowbirds (1979).


In addition to the plentiful information about the league in the printed material in this collection, the following sources were also helpful in documenting the history of the International Women’s Professional Softball Association:

Billie Jean King, “Publisher’s Letter,” womenSports Magazine 2, no. 11 (November 1975): 2.

Billie Jean King, “Publisher’s Letter,” womenSport Magazine 3, no. 5 (May 1976): 4.

Molly Tyson, “No Joy in Mudville.,” womenSports Magazine 4, no. 1 (January 1977): 50-52.

Lou DeCosta, “Pro Softball’s New Pitch,” womenSports Magazine 4, no. 6 (June 1977): 38.

“International Women’s Professional Softball Association” [website]:


.50 Cubic Feet (1 document case (letter))

Language of Materials


Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556