Skip to main content

Letters to Joe Jackson Collection

Identifier: MSSP 0019

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 115 pieces of fan mail written to baseball player Joe “Shoeless Joe” Jackson in the years after his retirement. The correspondence was in the form of letters and postal cards and nearly all of the letters include the original mailing envelopes. Most of the letters are fan requests for autographs. Some of the autograph requests reference an article about Jackson that appeared in the October 1949 issue of Sport magazine, titled "This Is the Truth!". The article included Jackson’s home address prompting a large number of letters. Much of the correspondence was written by children and teenagers, and some of the autograph requests list other former baseball players the authors had collected autographs from. Only a few letters explicitly reference the Black Sox scandal that ended Jackson’s career in major league baseball. A handful of letters were received after Jackson’s death in 1951. A small number of letters are not autograph requests and deal with other subjects. Today, it is known that Jackson’s wife Katie signed the large majority of autograph requests that Jackson received. The collection contains no outgoing correspondence from the Jacksons. The collection includes one letter from 2004 written by William C. Webb, a teammate of Jackson’s on a semi-pro baseball team in Waycross, Georgia in 1925. Formats include letters, postal cards, and envelopes


  • Creation: 1932-2004
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1932-1957

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

Joseph Jefferson Jackson (July 16, 1887 – December 5, 1951), nicknamed "Shoeless Joe," played major league baseball for American League franchises in Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Chicago from 1908-1920. Jackson played the outfield and was known for this ability at the plate, compiling a career .356 batting average. Jackson was implicated in the 1919 Black Sox scandal, in which several Chicago White Sox players conspired with gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series and intentionally lose to the Cincinnati Reds. Although there have been doubts about Jackson’s guilt and level of participation in the conspiracy ever since, baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned Jackson and seven other White Sox players from organized baseball for life after the scandal broke in 1920. After his banishment, Jackson played under assumed names for semi-pro teams in Georgia and his home state of South Carolina. In 1933, Jackson and his wife Katie moved to Greenville, South Carolina, where they owned and managed a liquor store until Jackson’s death.


.5 Cubic Feet (1 document case (legal size))

Language of Materials



Letters arranged topically and then chronologically.

December 2023
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