Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Archive Adventure: Let the Games Begin

Archives frequently get the stereotype of being staunch places filled with ancient tomes and stuffy staff with absolute intolerance for any noise. So far in our adventures, we've explored cookbooks, Christmas toys, student-decorated apparel, and quite a few other things that should help to dispel that myth. Today we skate into the not-too-distant past...

It's perfect timing for us, considering that this year our Sports Archive is celebrating its 25th anniversary (more on that in the weeks to come!). We're all revved up, and the Winter Olympics are just what we need to get us through to the Open House and our next big exhibit.

Dr. John Lucas

One of our biggest collections that focuses on the Olympics is the John Lucas papers. Dr. Lucas (1927-2012) was a professor emeritus and coach at PSU, an avid runner (with over 150,000 miles under his belt!), and an Olympic official from 1968 thru 2006. He was given the honor of the "Olympic Order" by IOC President Jan Samaranch in 1996 and the title of "Official International Olympic Committee Lecturer" in 1992. Besides being honored in the International community, Lucas was beloved at PSU and brought great pride to the College of Health & Human Development with his excellent articles, books, and classes.

Just a small glimpse of the HUGE collection we have thanks to Dr. Lucas.

Dr. Lucas' collection includes over 4,000 books (9 written by the man himself), 50 cubic feet of archival material, and 20 cubic feet of journals about the Games.* Probably one of my favorite excerpts about him details his absolute joy for sport and his tenacity: at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, John was carried off the track by police after he jumped the railing to congratulate his friend Rafer Johnson, who had just finished running in the decathalon. Dr. Lucas was certainly filled with the epitome of Olympic Spirit, and we're proud to house such an extensive and unique collection for future researchers!

We also have the Elizabeth Hanley Olympic Collection in our archives.Hanley taught as an associate professor of exercise science and worked as director of the Penn State International Dance Ensemble. In 1996, she had the honor of carrying the torch in Greece with other members of the International Olympic Academy Alumni Association. Hanley was invited to participate in the International Olympic Academy as a lecturer, social meeting director, and dance workshop coordinator since 1977. Her collection includes Olympic memorabilia, books on international dance, and her academic papers and records from her time teaching.

Some examples of the books on International Dance you can find in Hanley's collection

 And if you just can't get enough of the Olympics, we here at Special Collections highly recommend visiting our Flickr album (okay...it's not winter sports, but still!) about PSU Olympians or visiting our friends over in the All-Sports Museum for their exhibit on the Winter Olympics.

Until the next time, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

*Have questions about our sports collections, such as the Lucas or Hanley papers? Ask Paul D. (pjd107@psu.edu) or Paul K.(ppk106@psu.edu), our very own sports experts in the archives!

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