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Manuscripts of Modern America
Miscellaneous Sports and General Athletics

What follows is a descriptive list of manuscript groups relating to miscellaneous sports and general athletics 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.

  • FRED L. STEERS PAPERS. 1916-1967. Around 1750 items, including manuscripts, printed ephemera, clippings, and publications. The athletic papers and attendant printed matter of Chicagoan Fred L. Steers (1887-1967), deriving from his years of administrative service in the Central Association of the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States, the national AAU, and the American (later United States) Olympic Committee. Steers was active in AAU circles for most of his adult life, serving terms as president of the Central Association and vice-president at the national level. His AAU papers include correspondence, records, and AAU publications, mostly dating from the mid-1920s to the mid-1960s. His Olympic papers include substantial materials on the Summer Games of 1928 (Amsterdam), 1932 (Los Angeles), and 1936 (Berlin), all of which Steers attended as manager of the U.S. women's track and field team. MSSP 5000-1 to MSSP 5000-290. [Finding Aid]

  • LAWN TENNIS PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM. Ca. 1885 to ca. 1905. 1 vol., 15 cm., 25 leaves, with 31 photographs. A collection of 31 miscellaneous photographic portraits and group portraits of persons in lawn tennis attire, probably dating from ca. 1885 to ca. 1905. Twenty-nine of the photographs are ferrotypes; two are albumen prints (the latter from German studios). 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 5001-1-B.

  • PROSPECTUS FOR THE ABINGDON AMERICAN BOWLING SALOON LTD. ca. 1870. 1 document (3 pages). A prospectus for a company, capitalized at 25, "to lay down a Bowling Alley in the School Room Market Place, Abingdon" (then located in the county of Berkshire, England). MSSP 5002-1.

  • FRANK JEWETT OLYMPIC DIARY. 1936. 1 vol., 21 cm., 82 leaves, with 119 pages of manuscript in Jewett's hand; 2 enclosures. A diary recording the experiences at the 1936 Olympic Summer Games of Frank Baldwin Jewett, Jr. (1917-1986), a member of the United States yachting team. The yachting events were held at Kiel, Germany; Jewett piloted the American entry in the monotype class, finishing ninth over seven heats. The diary runs to some 15,000 words, with entries dating from 7 July to 18 August 1936. It also includes pen drawings by Jewett, and autographs of many of his competitors. MSSP 5003-1-B to MSSP 5003-2.

  • "A COPY OF THE BATTLEDORE BOOK: CLUB NO. 1". 1855. 1 vol., 21 cm., 34 leaves, with 62 pages of manuscript. A humorous manuscript account of the doings of Battledore Club No. 1 of Bridgeport, Connecticut, whose dedication to the parlor game of battledore and shuttlecock is made the stuff of comedy. The manuscript is in the form of a club record book, with membership, constitution and by-laws, accounts of meetings, and other content (including a long epic entitled "Lay of the last Battledore"). The book is illustrated throughout with ink sketches that amplify the volume's comic effect. The game was a precursor of badminton; players with racquets (battledores) batted the shuttlecock back and forth as many times as possible without allowing it to hit the floor. MSSP 5004-1.

  • JACK LEVEL PRESIDENTS COLLECTION. 1860-1968. 3 containers plus 1 flat storage container; 3 linear feet. Manuscript drafts and research materials for the unpublished book Sports and Pastimes of the Presidents, by Jack Level of Elmhurst, New York. Level worked on the project most intensively in the late 1950s and early 60s. GEN945-1-1 to GEN945-4-4 (shelfmark MSSP 5005). [Finding Aid]

  • RUTH FAY MCLEAN OLYMPIC PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM. 1912. 1 vol., 14 x 18 cm., 28 leaves, with 81 photographic prints tipped in. This album assembled by Ruth Fay McLean (b. 1891) of Toledo, Ohio includes 34 images taken at the Olympic Summer Games of 1912, held in Stockholm. McLean and her party crossed the Atlantic on the SS Lapland prior to attending the games, whose opening ceremonies were on 6 July. Among the images are portraits and action shots relating to events in tennis, gymnastics, shooting, diving, swimming, and, most notably, athletics. Some are souvenir photos (including real-photo postcards) and some are vernacular photos taken by McLean's party. There are also many photos of the voyage on the Lapland. MSSP 5006-1-B.

  • JOHN H. SENIOR PHOTOGRAPH ALBUMS. 1906-1910 2 vols., 15 x 20 cm., 48 and 48 leaves, with 97 and 94 photographs tipped in. A pair of vernacular photograph albums probably assembled by John H. Senior (1890-1948) of Philadelphia. Senior emigrated from England with his parents in 1894; in 1910 he was working as a draftsman in a machine shop. Many of the prints (which range in size from 2 x 3 inches to 4 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches) bear identifying information and/or dates; a few indicate they were taken by Senior. Most depict either scenic views of the country around Philadelphia or the recreational activities of Senior and his peers: camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, and a host of athletic sports, especially track and field. Senior and his friends were members of a Boys Club track team. There are also six views of the 1910 Penn Relays. MSSP 5007-1-B to MSSP 5007-2-B.


  Related Collections:   Colonial & Revolutionary America Early National & Antebellum America American Civil War Modern America Sports

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