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Manuscripts of Modern America
Boxing

What follows is a descriptive list of boxing-related manuscript groups held in the Joyce Sports Research Collection, Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame. In addition to manuscript texts, the list includes other non-published formats with some claim to uniqueness, like scrapbooks and photographs. Some of the descriptions that follow are linked to finding aids, to provide readers with fuller information on particular collections.

  • HARRY E. WINKLER COLLECTION OF BOXING PHOTOGRAPHS (WIN). ca. 1920-ca. 1955. About 7500 photographic prints, glass negatives, and film base negatives. Harry E. Winkler was a longtime Los Angeles area fight figure and California correspondent for The Ring magazine from 1939 to 1953. He is best remembered, however, for his extensive collection of boxing photographs, many of which were acquired by the Hesburgh Libraries in 1977. Highlights of the collection include close to 4000 4 x 5 inch glass negatives, most of which date from the 1920s and 30s. These are typically posed portraits, of individuals or groups; virtually no action scenes are included. Among the fighters best represented (by more than 30 plates) are: Sgt. Sammy Baker, Newsboy Brown, Tony Canzoneri, Bert Colima, Speedy Dado, Jack Dempsey, Joe Dundee, Jackie Fields, Ace Hudkins, Les Kennedy, Fidel LaBarba, Jimmy McLarnin, Tod Morgan, Tommy O'Brien, Lee Ramage, Baby Sal Sorio, and Mickey Walker. The Winkler Collection also includes close to 1000 4 x 5 inch and 8 x 10 inch film base portrait negatives; most of these date from the 1940s and 50s, while some are second-generation negatives of late nineteenth and early twentieth century prints. There are also over 1500 different 8 x 10 inch portrait photographs to which no negatives in the collection correspond. For the most part, the portraits in the Winkler Collection are of boxers who fought professionally in the United States, especially in California, in the first half of the twentieth century. Also in the collection are over 1000 4 x 5 inch film base negatives (with contact prints) showing fight action; most of the bouts involved were held in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1940s. The collection also includes a proportionately small number of images of professional wrestlers. An exhibit of portrait negatives entitled "Selections from the Harry E. Winkler Collection of Boxing Photographs" is currently accessible.

  • BOXING PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM. Ca. 1875 to ca. 1900. 1 vol., 15 cm., 23 leaves, with 46 photographs. A collection of 46 miscellaneous studio ferrotype portraits, mostly of pairs of men squared off as boxers. Most of the images probably date from the last quarter of the nineteenth century. A few of the subjects wear gloves or athletic clothing, but most are in everyday attire, putting up their dukes for the camera. The subjects, who vary from image to image, are unidentified; the collection appears to have been artificially assembled. The photographs have been inserted in a period album, possibly by a modern collector. MSSP 2000-1-B.

  • TUNNEY FAMILY LETTERS. 1938-1980 (bulk 1955-1959). 29 letters, postcards, and telegrams. Included are 23 typed letters signed of former heavyweight boxing champion James Joseph "Gene" Tunney (1897-1978), mostly directed to his friend Robert R. Gros of Atherton, California. Content consists primarily of personal and family news, with some mention of business, politics, and international affairs. MSSP 2001-1 to MSSP 2001-5.

  • MERIWETHER LISTON LEWIS MANUSCRIPTS. Ca. 1930s. 5 vols. Bound typescripts of two unpublished works of boxing history, written by Meriwether Liston Lewis (1877-1969) of Nashville, Tennessee. The first, "Gloveless Gladiators of America" (1 vol., around 300 pp., with penciled annotations) is a history of boxing in America from 1816 to ca. 1870; a (presumed) second volume, carrying the narrative to the Sullivan-Kilrain fight of 1889, is lacking. The second manuscript, "Jake Kilrain: Athlete-Warrior-Gentleman" consists of four sections, independently bound, totaling over 400 pages. It bears a copyright date of 1939, and is a full biography of Kilrain. MSSP 2002-1-B to MSSP 2002-5-B.

  • POLICE GAZETTE SPORTS CLIPPINGS SCRAPBOOK. ca. 1883-ca. 1920 (bulk ca. 1883-ca. 1896). 1 volume (39 cm.), disbound; 245 leaves. A large disbound scrapbook of some 1300 sports-related clippings, mostly pictorial, from three late-nineteenth century American illustrated weeklies: The National Police Gazette of New York; The Illustrated Police News of Boston; and The New York Illustrated News. More than half the material relates to boxing, with hundreds of engraved portraits of boxers of the 1880s and 1890s. Wrestling, weightlifting, rowing, baseball, and other sports are also featured. MSSP 2005-1 to MSSP 2005-81. [Finding Aid]

  • SCRAPBOOK ON THE DEATH OF STANLEY KETCHEL. 1910. 1 vol., 28 cm., 216 leaves, with 412 pages of newspaper clippings tipped in. A scrapbook of newspaper clippings on the murder of middleweight boxing champion Stanley Ketchel (b. Stanislaw Kiecal, 1886) in Conway, Missouri, 15 October 1910. The clippings, all with annotations indicating source and date, derive from a very large number of different U. S. dailies; they range in date from 15 October to 20 October 1910 (the day of Ketchel's funeral). Gilt lettering on the spine suggests that this was the first of multiple volumes, and that the book was assembled or owned by lightweight champion Battling Nelson (1882-1954). MSSP 2006-1-B.

  • THE DAILY PICAYUNE SULLIVAN-KILRAIN FIGHT STORY TYPESCRIPT. n.d. 1 typescript, 38 pages. A typescript copy of the material on the heavyweight title fight between John L. Sullivan and Jake Kilrain printed in The Daily Picayune of New Orleans on 9 July 1889, the day after the fight. MSSP 2007-1.

  • ALEC GOODMAN PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION. ca. 1911-1919. 31 real-photo postcards, 1 photograph, and 1 newspaper clipping. A group of more than 30 real-photo postcards, many inscribed, preserved by English boxing trainer Alec Goodman. Most relate to Jewish world welterweight champion Ted "Kid" Lewis, whom Goodman trained. MSSP 2008-1 to MSSP 2008-33. [Finding Aid]


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Rare Books and Special Collections

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