Athletic Department (University of Michigan) records: 1860-2017
full text File Size: 14 K bytes | how to request materials

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Sports Information Office (SIO) as a separately functioning unit within the Athletic Department dates from 1925 when Philip Pack was hired as publicity agent. The SIO subgroup includes material created by the office and material it collected or assembled, including material pre-dating 1925. The sub-group is divided into a number of series based on record format and sport. The series are: Scrapbooks, Press Releases, separate series for each of the varsity men's and women's sports, Minor Sports, Miscellaneous, and Official Rosters of Letter Winners.

The Sports Information Office records contain a separate series for each of the men's and women's varsity sports. Each sport series in turn is composed of several standard sub-series and files, including Media Guides, Photographs (usually subdivided into files of team photos, individual portraits, and game action), and Game or meet results. For some sports there may also be game programs, and game films or videotapes.

The Media Guides are produced by the Sports Information Office. They include team rosters, brief biographical information on team members and coaches, schedules, individual and team statistics, pictures of some or all team members, and a variety of historical information. Modern media guides usually contain a roster of all individuals who have lettered in the sport. The first formal media guide was produced for football in 1931. Guides for other sports do not begin until the late 1930s or 1940s. The format and size of the media guides have varied considerably over the years. Until the 1960s, media guides for sports other than football consisted of two to ten mimeographed pages. Media guides for women's' sports begin in 1976/77. Initially they were simple brochures with roster and schedule information. They now are comparable to media guides for men's sports.

The Photographs subseries for each sport includes the "official" team photograph for each year and occasionally other "informal" team photos s well as posed portraits of athletes in uniform and game action photos.

An official team photograph for each sport appears to have been taken each year, however, the Athletic Department record group does not include team photos for all years for every sport. Other collections in the Bentley Library contain athletic team photographs that complement or duplicate the photos in the Athletic Department records. From approximately 1896 to 1968, the Rentschler Photography Studio took the official team photos for most sports. The University of Michigan News and Information Service began taking team photographs in the early 1960s and has taken team photos since 1969. The Bentley's Rentschler Studio and News and Information Service collections include original negatives of many team photos. A compiled list of team photographs located in a number of Bentley Library collections is available at the library. This is the most authoritative listing of team photographs. It is arranged by sport and year and indicates the location of the photo and whether or not an original or copy negative exists. For years for which a print or negative does not exist, a team photo usually may be found in the school year book.

Each sport includes a sub-series of Portraits and Action Photographs. The portraits may include formal studio portraits - typically in uniform or letter-sweater, but sometimes in suit and tie - or more informal portraits taken on the practice field. The latter are sometimes referred to as "picture day" photos referring to the annual "media day." The Sports Information Office has conventionally differentiated the portraits as "head shots" - close-up portraits, "posed in uniform" - a still pose wearing game or practice uniform, or "posed action" - in which the athlete strikes a typical or stylized action pose. The portraits are arranged chronologically. If the exact date of a photograph is not known, it has generally been placed in the folder for the last year in which the athlete competed. Researchers should examine folders for all years in which the athlete competed. The Athletic Department records do not include portraits of every athlete. For some years there are no individual photographs. After the university News and Information Service began taking "picture day" photos, in the mid-1960s for most sports, the Athletic Department records may include only contact sheets of individual portraits. Original negatives for most of these contact sheets can be found in the News and Information Service records. For several sports there are separate files of headshots or posed action shots of All-American athletes. As with team photos, the Bentley has many other collections that include photographs of individual athletes. There is no comprehensive list or index to these collections. Indexes to several of the more important collections are available at the library. The Sports Information Office has retained a significant number of photographs of "star" athletes.

The Action Photographs have been collected by the Sports Information Office from a number of "side-line photographers," including newspaper and wire-service photographers. Copyright restrictions may apply to some of these photos. Beginning in about 1970, some sports include game action contact sheets. These photos were taken by Bob Kalmbach, photographer with the News and Information Service. Kalmbach holds the negatives for these photos.

Several sports series, football in particular, contain files of photos of Facilities and Miscellaneous topics. Some sports also include a separate file of photographs of coaches.

Most sports series include a sub-series of Game Programs and/or Season Statistics and Programs. For football, basketball and hockey the game programs are filed separately and arranged by year. For other sports, individual game programs are inter-filed with a variety of game or meet results and statistics. The earliest football program dates from 1894. Through 1925 the football programs sub-series is very incomplete. There are two or three programs for most years, but for some years there are no programs. Following 1925, the collection of home game programs is nearly complete, while the away-game programs are about 60% complete. An item listing of all football programs in the Athletic Department collection and several personal manuscript collections is available at the library. Basketball and hockey programs are scattered until the mid-1960s.

Individual game or meet programs for other sports are often little more than one or two page flyers. Programs for major meets and Big Ten or NCAA championships are more substantial. The number of programs and the extent of meet and season statistical information vary considerably among the various sports.

Football is the only sport with a significant body of Game Films and Videotapes. The earliest game film (the Bentley has a videotape copied from the original at the Library of Congress) is of portions of the 1904 Michigan vs. Chicago game played in Ann Arbor. The game was filmed by Edison Company and is one of the earliest known football game films. There are scattered film clips and newsreels from the late 1920's including some footage of the dedication of Michigan Stadium in 1927. Beginning in 1930 there are a few films (usually not complete games) for each year, except 1934. After 1940 the game films are nearly complete. A complete listing of all football game films in the Athletic Department record group as well as several from other collections is available at the library. With a few exceptions, the films are the "coach's film" shot with a single camera from the top of the press box. A few games from the 1950s-- which were delayed broadcast on television-- have sound. Most films are black and white until the late 1960s. Most game films and videotapes are stored off-site. Generally two days notice is required for retrieval of these items. The poor condition of some films may preclude their being projected

The Athletic Department record group has some basketball films covering the years 1954-1966, including footage from the "Cazzie Russell era," 1963-1966. Most of the Cazzie Russell footage has been transferred to videotape. There are only scattered films of other sports. There are some videotapes of women's sports and men's minor sports from the mid-1980s that were taped by CTC Sports or by students for use on a local access cable TV program called "Wolverine Watch." These tapes have not been fully catalogued.

Media Guide, Team and Individual Photograph, and Program/Results subseries for varsity women's sports begin in 1977/78. The records for women's basketball, cross country, swimming and diving, tennis and track are fairly complete. The library's holdings in women's field hockey, golf, soccer, softball and volleyball represent only preliminary accessions, largely media guides and a few photographs. Records for these sports are still held by the Sports Information Office. Rosters and some statistical information for women's sports, 1972-1977, can be found in the separately cataloged "University of Michigan. Women's Athletics" record group.

Show all series level scope and content notes