Saturday, May 30, 2009

Research trip - Chicago

(Click on photo to enlarge) Jay Berwanger, third from left, with fellow University of Chicago backs, in 1933, his sophomore season. From left are Vin Sahlin, Pete Zimmer, Berwanger and Ewald Nyquist. (Archival Photographic Files, apf4-00462, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.)

I spent two long days in Chicago on Jay Berwanger research this week. Though I considered possibly hitting three locations this trip, it didn't work out that way. Aside for 90 minutes at the Chicago Public Library on Thursday evening, I spent all my time at the University of Chicago, where Berwanger gained his perpetual fame on the football field and became winner of the first Heisman Trophy.

All my time was in the university library, and all but two hours of that was in the Special Collections Department, where the staff was incredibly patient, helpful and cooperative.

The university has incredible archives, including papers from the Department of Physical Education and Athletics and the AA Stagg Collection.

This was my first time on the UC campus since the summer of 1972 or 1973, when I ran in one of the University of Chicago Track Club's famed open track meets. It was the last (and perhaps only) time I ran a 3,000-meter steeplechase. This trip, I didn't come home sore and wet.


erik hogstrom said...

There is a plaque devoted to Berwanger at Kerstin's school -- Jefferson Middle School. He attended Jeff before he went to Senior.

Brian Cooper said...

I'll have to check that out at Jefferson this summer. He started playing football at Jefferson, but he had yet to "fill out." Berwanger moved from Jeff to Senior at semester (in January), rather than in the fall. Not sure why, but I have the impression that it was not as unusual then.