Brooklyn Public Library

Mobile AppDownload our Mobile App

eNewsletterSubscribe to BPL eNews


Mr Lonto and Jackie Robinson

Apr 7, 2010 3:21 PM | 1 comment

We have recently acquired one volume of the diary of Arthur Lonto, a noted authority on transit and a former President of the Electric Railroaders Association. A World War II veteran, Mr Lonto worked in insurance and real estate until he was hired by the MTA, eventually becoming a transit management analyst.

At the time the diary was written, Mr Lonto lived on East 7th Street between Avenues M and N.  He notes indefatigably and compulsively every journey taken by public transportation, but more importantly, he abstracts news items of interest and follows the fortunes of the Brooklyn Dodgers with a fan's enthusiasm.  He also jots down the hit parade, and makes a note every time he goes to mass or confession.  In spite of the spare nature of the entries, the diary is a fascinating document, a memorandum of a year in a life lived quietly in a frame house in a Brooklyn suburb.

Diary of Arthur Lonto Vol 10, 1947

From time to time we will note daily entries of interest here.

His entry for April 11th reminds us not only that the regular baseball season didn't open until April 15th back in 1947, but that Jackie Robinson was about to start his storied career.  The capital letters would indicate that Mr Lonto realized the importance of the event, but then--POLISHED OUR CAR & SIMONIZED IT gets the same treatment--so maybe not. 

"Jackie Robinson plays first base for Dodgers IN EXIBITION GAME AGAINST YANKEES BKLYN WON 14-6 FIRST NEGRO TO PLAY ON A MAJOR LEAGUE TEAM." That's big all right.

"New Uniform, New Pal''Dan Bankhead, left, newly acquired pitcher, meets Jackie Robinson, Dodger first sacker, in Ebbets Fields locker room before today's game. He pitched in relief against the Pirates today, hitting a homer his first time at bat." Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 26, 1947

Here is Jackie in August of 1947 with new Dodger pitcher Dan Bankhead.


4/9/2010 7:09:53 PM #

I love this... and would enjoy seeing the various entries as we go through the year.