Finding Aid Friday: Olympic Archives Edition

It’s Olympics time!!!! Woooooo!!!

Let’s grab some snacks not meant for health-conscious and ultra-fit individuals, eat some chocolate, and browse some Olympic finding aids while we wait for our  *cough*illegally-accessed BBC*cough* livestreams to buffer.

University of Illinois

The Avery Brundage Collection holds the papers of a man who was a former International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, renowned globetrotter, and track star who got his ass kicked by Jim Thorpe at the 1912 Games. He led the IOC in the run-up to and during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, so his papers have more than a few of “OMfingG” moments regarding that (he totally turned a blind eye to what can mildly be described as Germany’s fucked-up discriminatory and anti-Semitic views and practices).

brundage 2
University of Illinois

This wouldn’t be a salute to the Olympics without giving a tip of the hat to hard-bodied hotties who can run up and down a pitch for 90 minutes. The Colby E. “Babe” Slater collection at UC-Davis fits that category — and “Babe” was his actual nickname! He was the first UC-Davis alum to win Olympic gold and played in the last rugby game played at the Olympic level for 92 years. And he was a farmer, too.

UC – Davis

An aggie and a rugger. Rawr!! There’s an associated web exhibition that tells his story and the tale of rugby’s removal from — and resurgence at — the Games.

colby 2
UC – Davis

Video of Babe leading the 1924 US Rugby Team onto the field:

For additional funsies is the (not a finding aid but still fun nonetheless) (UK) National Archives’ Olympic and Paralympic Record.

National Archives

It consists of a timeline of the modern Games up to 2012, illustrated and illuminated by items from the National Archives’ collection, from the British perspective, of course. Each selection is linked to related items, which are linked to others, and then twenty-minutes later you’re down the research rabbit hole and have the theme from Chariots of Fire stuck in your head.

Leaving the English-speaking world for a bit, let’s turn to Sweden’s national archive, the Riksarkivet, for a finding aid to the papers created by organizers of the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. It’s in Swedish and I promise that Google Translate will not turn the page into nothing but “Bork! Bork! Bork!”

Riksarkivet.See? No borks!

The Riksarkivet also has a mini-site on the 1912 Games that discusses diver Greta Johansson, the first Swedish woman to win Olympic gold.


Happy Olympics!!! Go, Claressa Shields!!!


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