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ARCHIVAL COLLECTIONS

Office of Athletic Communications
Records, 1923 - 1951

UPE 25

5.5 Cubic ft.
Prepared by Jason Bodnar
November 2000

Access to collections is granted in accordance with the Protocols for the University Archives and Records Center.

PROVENANCE

Transferred from the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in 1957 (accession number 57:8).

ARRANGEMENT

This collection is arranged in two series: Correspondence, 1923 - 1951, and Press Releases, 1928 - 1951. The Correspondence series is arranged alphabetically by subject, while the Press Releases are arranged chronologically.

AGENCY HISTORY

The University of Pennsylvania's Department of Athletic Communications, originally titled the Department of Athletic Publicity, was founded as a subdivision of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics on July 1, 1924. Its main duties, which have remained basically the same since its inception, are to act as a liaison to the media, to prepare press releases, to distribute press credentials for athletic contests, and to arrange interviews with athletes and coaches at the University.

Penn became only the second college to name a Sports Publicity Director (Notre Dame was the first) when it selected Joseph T. Labrum, a 1921 graduate of the College, as the initial head of the department. Labrum guided the department until leaving to serve as the National Football League's publicity director on April 1, 1947.

Edward J. Hunter succeeded Labrum, but in 1950 his position was renamed Assistant Director, News Bureau - Athletic Information. However, this change in title did not affect Hunter's duties or the fact that his department still operated under the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Morton Berry followed Hunter as head of the department in 1951, but in 1953 he saw his title reverted to one outside the News Bureau, as Director of Sports Information

The department, still a subdivision of the Department of Athletic Communications, is today known as the Department of Athletic Communications. The head of the department holds the title of Director of Athletic Communications.

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SCOPE AND CONTENT

The Department of Athletic Communications Records primarily contains press releases and correspondence from the department during the period 1935-1951, with an unusually high concentration of material from the 1950-51 academic year.

The press releases are the bulk of this collection, and approximately half of those releases are football- and basketball-related. This series in the collection appears to be nearly-comprehensive, with a high density of releases at all times except summer, the time when athletic contests at the University are annually put on hiatus.

A good deal of the correspondence portion of the collection deals with football, the largest sport at Penn at the time. The football part of the collection includes a high concentration from the 1950 season, with programs and statistics from every game that year, as well as media guides from each Penn opponent in 1950. In addition, the football portion of the collection includes a good deal of correspondence regarding press credentials and seats for the 1932-1935 Army-Navy gridiron games held at Franklin Field.

This collection also contains a significant amount of press-related correspondence regarding the Penn Relay Carnivals from 1938 to 1942. However, except for correspondence regarding the mailing list of the department's press releases from 1926 to 1932 and the Army-Navy football correspondence, this collection is sparse in its pre-1935 content.

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