On This Day in 1911: A Prize Fight for Suffrage

In the early 1900s, one could usually find a boxing exhibition or prize fight on any given Friday night in New York City. Punches would be thrown and dreams would be made and lost among the cigarette and cigar smoke of the crowd. The card held at the Long Acre Athletic Club on October 27, 1911, was one of these shows, with one notable difference: … Continue reading On This Day in 1911: A Prize Fight for Suffrage

On the Provenance of the Commission’s Meeting Minutes: From the Garage to the Hall to the Archives

Sometimes a collection’s provenance, the history of ownership and/or physical custody, is very straight-forward: creator -> repository or creator -> donor -> repository. Occasionally, it’s more of a mess. Things leave the creator’s custody without permission, end up somewhere else, things get lost… That’s what happened to the New York State Athletic Commission’s meeting minutes. Some background info: I fell down the research rabbit hole on a … Continue reading On the Provenance of the Commission’s Meeting Minutes: From the Garage to the Hall to the Archives

On Lawsuits for Licenses: The Fight for Women’s Wrestling in New York, part 1

This is the first post of a multi-part essay on the legislative history of the New York State Athletic Commission’s ban on women’s professional wrestling and its overturn in 1972. I didn’t think my research would ever have any relevance to anything  or anyone other than a die-hard feminist wrestling history nerd. I was wrong.

Continue reading “On Lawsuits for Licenses: The Fight for Women’s Wrestling in New York, part 1”

On Tex’s Return to the Garden

See that dapper fellow in front of Madison Square Garden’s marquee? The monochromatic dude on the right. That’s Tex Rickard. I may have mentioned him before. He used to be my favorite promoter before I dumped him for his former matchmaker. But I still have a soft spot for the guy. An organization dedicated to increasing and/or improving knowledge of 34th street in Midtown Manhattan put up this … Continue reading On Tex’s Return to the Garden

Finding Aid Friday: Boxing Edition

This weekend, fans of the fistic arts and the pugilists that are the focus of their love will be gathering in Canastota, New York, for the International Boxing Hall of Fame‘s induction ceremony. In honor of the event, today’s brief Finding Aid Friday is focused on the sport of gentlemen: boxing. The be-all and end-all of boxing finding aids (and well-processed boxing collections), in my opinion, … Continue reading Finding Aid Friday: Boxing Edition

On Ali vs. the Athletic Commission: A Quick Archives Story

When you’re elbows-deep in file folders after jumping down the legislative research rabbit hole, the greatest boxer of all time is the last person you’d expect to find while looking for a wrestler lost to time. That’s what happened one cold Saturday morning this past winter at the New York State Archives. I was pouring through the State Athletic Commission’s minutes from  the June 1967 meeting. … Continue reading On Ali vs. the Athletic Commission: A Quick Archives Story

On Where I’m At Right Now: A Research Timeline

For a bit of background: On That One Phrase… On the Hank Kaplan, Part I… On the Hank Kaplan, Part II… All I wanted was to look at some old boxing stuff. That’s it. I picked a topic that was relevant to my interests and wanted to see how they intersected: Boxing and wrestling promotion in the early- to mid-twentieth century and if, how, they were … Continue reading On Where I’m At Right Now: A Research Timeline

On Pugilist Parodies, or Boxing in Political Cartoons

In my online wanderings, I like to look through the OPACs (Online Public Access Catalogs) of libraries, museums, and archives far and wide to see what they have on the squared circle. Boxing has been a major part of the fabric of cultural life for so long that most repositories have a little something featuring the sweet science. My favorite boxing finds aren’t of actual fights or fighters. … Continue reading On Pugilist Parodies, or Boxing in Political Cartoons

On Larry Holmes, or Belatedly Honoring a Legend

On Sunday, December 13, 2015, Larry Holmes got his long overdue tribute from the town calls home and he made famous all over the world. Easton, Pennsylvania’s riverfront Scott Park was the scene of a celebration honoring the heart of a legend. He was a sparring partner in Muhammad Ali’s training camp and eventually became one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. He … Continue reading On Larry Holmes, or Belatedly Honoring a Legend

On Missing Minutes, or the Curious Case of the Commission’s Records

Did you ever have a small question evolve into a bigger, more complex question through no fault of your own? That’s the situation I find myself in. In the archives of the late Hank Kaplan, who was referred to as the “Sweetest Scientist” for his knowledge of the fight game (boxing’s version of Dave Meltzer, of you will), there was a file on women wrestlers, many of whom have … Continue reading On Missing Minutes, or the Curious Case of the Commission’s Records