House of David Baseball Team, c.1920-1955
‘The Israelite House of David religious society was founded by Benjamin and Mary Purnell in 1903. Benjamin Purnell was a sports enthusiast and encouraged the Community to play sports, especially baseball, to build physical and spiritual discipline.
In 1913, the Israelite House of David began to play competitive baseball. The House became famous touring America from the 1920s through the 1950s. The team members wore long hair and beards as they played.
‘By the late 1920s, the House began hiring professionals. Some professional players grew their beards out to show respect towards the God of Israel, while others wore false beards. New York City had three separate barnstorming teams touring the county, playing and evangelizing wherever they went.
‘From 1946 until 1955, there were numerous teams which bore the House of David name and wore beards.’