The Joyce Sports Research Collection: Boxing
What follows is a guide to some of the more significant materials pertaining to boxing held in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame. It does not include boxing materials held elsewhere in the Hesburgh Libraries, or in Notre Dame's University Archives. Its purpose is to provide researchers with a convenient overview of Special Collections' resources in this subject area; it does not aspire to be comprehensive. Items listed in these finding aids do not circulate; they may be requested and consulted in the Department of Special Collections, 102 Hesburgh Library, from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. weekdays. Researchers interested in materials specifically relating to boxing at Notre Dame should contact University Archives, 607 Hesburgh Library (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Title or collection descriptions on this page are linked to records, inventories, and other appropriate types of finding aid. The dates that follow many of the annual and periodical titles on this page indicate the span of years a given title was published; available holdings are indicated in the linked finding aid. Questions concerning the materials on the page may be directed to the curator of the Joyce Sports Research Collection, George Rugg (email grugg @ nd.edu; phone 574-631-6506).
Patrons interested in RBSC's boxing materials are welcome to visit the digital exhibit Fighting Words: English and American Boxing Literature from the Joyce Sports Collection.
RBSC houses an extensive collection of older boxing books published in Great Britain and the U.S., including many of the field's scarcest titles. Boxing is of English origin, and the rich literature on the sport that developed there after 1790 is especially well represented. So too is American boxing literature from the nineteenth to the third quarter of the twentieth century. All genres of boxing book are collected, including fiction. The non-English-language literature is only selectively represented. Titles may be searched in the Libraries' online catalog.
Annuals — Guide Format
Holdings of The Ring Record Book (New York: 1942-1988). Conceived and compiled (until 1972) by Ring magazine publisher Nat Fleischer, this was the most comprehensive of all annual reference sources on boxing. Features appeared and disappeared over the years, but the book's core remained its lifetime records of 1) active professional fighters the world over, and 2) former champions (and other prominent fighters) in all weight divisions. The book functions as both guide to the preceding year's events and as reference tool treating the full history of professional boxing; the typical edition runs upwards of 800 pages.
Holdings of other guide-format annuals devoted wholly or primarily to boxing, including the American publications Boxing News Record (1937-39), Everlast Boxing Record (1922-38), Police Gazette Sporting Annual (1898-1918, 1930), Post Boxing Record Book (1934-37), and T.S. Andrews' World's Sporting Annual Record Book (1903-37); the British publications Boxing News Annual and Record Book (1945-85) and Jack Solomons' Annual of the Ring (1948-53); and the French publication Annuaire du ring (1909-39, 1945/46-1959). All these titles emphasize professional boxing, and combine the records of contemporary fighters with assorted other features. The Official NCAA Boxing Guide (1935/36-<1957>) covers collegiate boxing in the United States.
Annuals — Magazine Format
Holdings of various magazine format annuals devoted to boxing, including the historical publication Boxiana Review (Philadelphia: c1963-76) and True Magazine's Boxing Yearbook (Greenwich, CT: 1952-66).
Holdings of The Ring magazine (New York: 1922- ). Few sporting periodicals are as closely identified with one individual as is The Ring with Nathaniel S. ("Nat") Fleischer (1887-1972). Fleischer founded The Ring in 1922 just as boxing was undergoing a tremendous surge in popularity; he remained as editor and publisher for fifty years, during which time the magazine earned recognition as the most authoritative voice in the sport, the "Bible of Boxing." Fleischer editorialized constantly on issues he regarded as crucial to the future of boxing - corruption, the impact of television, fighter safety - and the influence he exerted must be regarded as beneficial. Another characteristic feature of the magazine was its rankings of fighters in all divisions, rankings which became highly influential on matchmaking. Since Fleischer's death the magazine has been published and/or edited by Nat Loubet (1972-1979), Bert Sugar (1979-1984) and Stanley Weston (1990-2002), among others. As of 2018, it was still appearing in hard copy.
Holdings of The National Police Gazette (New York: 1845-1932, 1933-1977). In its heyday under publisher/editor Richard Kyle Fox in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the Gazette was America's leading illustrated journal of the lurid and sensational, focusing on crime, sex, the theater--and sports, especially boxing. Fox came to realize the potential of boxing for increasing circulation through his coverage of the Paddy Ryan-Joe Goss fight of 30 May 1880. He soon became the ring's foremost promoter, defining weight classifications, offering championship belts, and contributing greatly to boxing's new legitimacy. Beginning in 1896 Fox also published a London edition of the Gazette; by April 1897 he was advertising that this was "entirely original" in content, to cater to the British market. The Gazette's sports coverage is of decreasing interest after 1920.
Holdings of various American periodicals devoted wholly or in part to professional boxing. Coverage generally emphasizes events at the elite level; historical articles are sometimes featured. Titles include: The Arena (Philadelphia); Big Book of Boxing (New York); Boxing and Wrestling (Jersey City NJ, published 1951-58); Boxing & Wrestling (Long Island City NY, published 1961-66); Boxing and Wrestling News (Philadelphia); Boxing Beat (Teaneck, NJ); Boxing Illustrated (New York, Montreal); Boxing International - All-Star Wrestling (Rockville Centre NY); The Boxing News (New York); International Boxing (New York); International Boxing Guild (New York); Self-Defense (New York); TV Boxing (Jersey City, NJ); The Veteran Boxer (Philadelphia); and World Boxing (Port Chester, NY, etc.).
Holdings of various American regional periodicals on boxing. These tend to emphasize local developments, with some broader coverage: many double as programs. Titles include The Boxing Blade (Minneapolis); The Boxing Glove Magazine of Massachusetts (Boston); The Knockout (Los Angeles); and The Referee Magazine (San Francisco).
Holdings of the British weekly Boxing (London: 1909-40) and its continuation, Boxing News (London: 1940- ). Also, near complete holdings of the early twentieth century publication Famous Fights - Past and Present (London, 1901-04).
Holdings of Léon Sée's Paris weekly La Boxe & les boxeurs, first published in 1909. Coverage is international.
- A collection of 217 individual periodical issues, 1962-2002, whose covers feature Muhammad Ali. About sixty different titles are represented, including boxing magazines, general sports magazines, and general interest magazines. Most also have substantial content on Ali. Joyce Series No. BOX902.
Periodicals — Pulps
Holdings of Fight Stories (New York: 1928-52), a quarterly collection of popular fiction and other boxing pieces.
A collection of 130 professional boxing programs, 1897-1996. Most of these programs represent fights of some significance; many are from title fights, in various weight divisions.
A collection of 57 Golden Gloves programs, mostly from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
The Harry E. Winkler Photographic Collection includes more than 7,500 different boxing related images in various formats. Winkler was a longtime Los Angeles area fight figure and California correspondent for The Ring magazine from 1939 to 1953. He is best remembered, however, for his extensive collection of boxing photographs, many of which were acquired by the Hesburgh Libraries in 1977. Highlights of the collection include close to 4000 4 x 5 inch glass negatives, most of which date from the 1920s and 30s. These are typically posed portraits, of individuals or groups; virtually no action scenes are included. Among the fighters best represented (by more than 30 plates) are: Sgt. Sammy Baker, Newsboy Brown, Tony Canzoneri, Bert Colima, Speedy Dado, Jack Dempsey, Joe Dundee, Jackie Fields, Ace Hudkins, Les Kennedy, Fidel LaBarba, Jimmy McLarnin, Tod Morgan, Tommy O'Brien, Lee Ramage, Baby Sal Sorio, and Mickey Walker. The Winkler Collection also includes close to 1000 4 x 5 inch and 8 x 10 inch film base portrait negatives; most of these date from the 1940s and 50s, while some are second-generation negatives of late nineteenth and early twentieth century prints. There are also over 1500 different 8 x 10 inch portrait photographs to which no negatives in the collection correspond. For the most part, the portraits in the Winkler Collection are of boxers who fought professionally in the United States, especially in California, in the first half of the twentieth century. Also in the collection are over 1000 4 x 5 inch film base negatives (with contact prints) showing fight action; most of the bouts involved were held in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1940s. The collection also includes a proportionately small number of images of professional wrestlers. An exhibit of portrait negatives entitled "Selections from the Harry E. Winkler Collection of Boxing Photographs" is currently accessible.
A collection of 74 scrapbooks, most 10 x 11.5 inches, on professional (and some amateur) boxing. The scrapbooks consist of clippings dating from the 1920s through the 1970s; sources include Detroit daily newspapers, The National Police Gazette,and a variety of other weekly and monthly magazines. Citations are seldom present. The collection is divided into several roughly chronological, multi-volume series. Twenty-one volumes focus exclusively on the heavyweight division 1935-1975, with an emphasis on Joe Louis (1914-1981) and Muhammad Ali (1942- ). Another series of forty-five volumes, entitled "Odds and Ends on Boxing," treats events in all weight classifications, 1928-1975, with an emphasis on feature articles and retrospective or topical material. The scrapbooks average 70 leaves, with clippings r. and v. Gift of the University of Detroit.
A collection of 41 scrapbooks, most around 10.5 x 7.25 inches, on professional boxing. The books consist almost exclusively of articles and photographs clipped from various newspapers and periodicals dating from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, though some of the material is retrospective in content. Sources include both daily newspapers and boxing periodicals; relatively few citations are included. Almost all the scrapbooks are devoted to individuals, including many of the notable professional fighters of the first half of the twentieth century; clippings are usually chronologically arranged. Scrapbooks average forty leaves, with clippings r. and v.