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
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
In time for Labor Day, the very long-form version of my post on gender-based discrimination and its role in the legislative history of the women’s wrestling ban in New York.
The New York State Athletic Commission’s history of records management contains as many twists and turns as anything seen in a wrestling ring. Commission meeting minutes, from 1920 to 1977, went missing from the agency’s office in the late 1970s and eventually appeared in the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s collection about a decade later. Neither the Commission nor the State of New York knew about it until 1998.
If any one person in wrestling was a particular thorn in the side of the New York State Athletic Commission in the mid-20th century, it might be Pedro Martinez. Not only did he argue against the Commission regarding its policies towards professional wrestling, he also challenged them on the women’s wrestling ban and specifically called it a violation of civil rights.
This is part 2 of a multi-post essay on the legislative history of the ban on women’s wrestling in New York State. Part 1 may be read here. Part 3 will be published next week.
Sources not linked or mentioned in text are numbered and can be found at the bottom.
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.
Let’s lighten the mood a bit. In honor of this Sunday’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view event, today’s Finding Aid Friday features collections based on professional wrestling. Professional wrestling doesn’t get much consideration, appreciation, or serious thought by many outside its fandom, but it is an art form in the same vein as commedia dell’arte that has been in existence for well over a century. It’s growth … Continue reading Finding Aid Friday: Wrestling Edition
History has often overlooked the roles and experiences of women. More so in sports and especially in sports entertainment, aka professional wrestling. Women wrestlers have been viewed as afterthoughts, playthings, or bathroom breaks. This notion is changing — rapidly — but still pervades the minds of those in and around wrestling, as well as those outside that sphere. Vox Media recently published an article highlighting this Sunday’s WrestleMania, an annual … Continue reading On Wrestling Through the Overlooking Glass
Spoiler alert: He’s dead. Now that that’s out of the way, Whatever Happened to Gorgeous George? is a collection of road stories, biographies, and anecdotes from and on the first golden age of American professional wrestling, written by former Sports Illustrated writer Joe Jares. His father wrestled professionally thought the United States as The Thing, among various other monikers, and Jares shares the tales his dad told him on summer … Continue reading On Whatever Happened to Gorgeous George: A Book Review