Ralph Horton was a writer and publisher in St. Louis, MO for many years before his death in 1998. As a result of his interest in sports history, he set about reprinting many of the annual guides to the major professional athletic leagues, for baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. His interest in general sports and sports history led him to collect deeply in the entire field. The collection was donated to the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in several gifts from the mid-1990s, and today the collection gives comprehensive depth to additional sports history holdings in the Mercantile Library.
The collection covered the range of American sports history and life, and is represented in runs and files of periodicals, newsletters, annuals and monographs, as well as in a small collection of Horton’s correspondence.
Holdings include 3,000 volumes encompasssing 20 linear feet of papers.
The plates for many of the baseball publications were purchased by Pierre "Nick" Antoine, a sports entreprenuer and baseball enthusiast, and subsequent reprints offered to the general public. This is why so many of us today have reprinted Spalding and Reach Guides from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.