Boundary Breakers: Letty Walter and New Albany’s BPW Hoosiers Softball Team
February 29-May 2, 2020
Sally Newkirk Gallery, Carnegie Center for Art and History
Step back to into 1950s New Albany, Indiana. Girls who wanted to play organized sports had very limited options: swimming or cheering. That’s when local legend Letty Walter, then employed by the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Department, organized and coached the first girls’ softball team in New Albany. With the blessing of Sam Peden, then Parks Director, and the support of the influential Business and Professional Women’s Club, the team played 30 games per year between 1956 and 1969. They won ten consecutive Louisville City Tourneys, eight Louisville Metro Tourneys, five consecutive Kentuckiana Slow Pitch Softball Tournaments, and played in six World’s Tournaments, even finishing fourth in 1964. They dominated Kentuckiana softball and became one of the nation’s best teams.
The talented BPW Hoosiers were more than softball players: under the leadership of Walter and the BPW Club, the team developed important life skills and broke gender and racial barriers. This exhibition presents highlights of their story through memorabilia that has been diligently and lovingly preserved by members of the team. In the words of Letty Walter, “BPW is not just a ball team in New Albany; it has become an institution and a way to a richer and fuller life for many of our young citizens.”
On Tuesday, March 17 at noon there will be panel discussion, Letty Walter and the BPW Hoosiers: More Than a Softball Team, as part of the Carnegie Center’s monthly Lunch and Learn program. Immediately following this talk will be a reception for the exhibition in the Sally Newkirk Gallery at the Carnegie Center for Art and History.