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Department of Intercollegiate Athletics
Film Collection, 1915 - 1988

UPX 11.5

109 Cubic ft.
Prepared by James Curtiss Ayers, Denise Pieczynski and Theresa R. Snyder
September 1989
Revised: January 1990, October 1993, March 1994, July 1995, October 2002

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


This collection is arranged by type of sport and is chronological there under. It is part of the record group UPX 11.5; each box is assigned a prefix unique to that sport - F for "Football," B for "Basketball," P for "Penn Relays," M for the few remaining sports falling into our "Miscellaneous" heading, and V for film conversion or transfer to video format.



This collection of films, 1915-1988, n.d. (109 cubic ft.: 2,155 reels, and 124 cassettes), is a record of athletic competitions for the University of Pennsylvania Athletic Department. The following sports: Football, Basketball, Track and Field, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Lacrosse, Baseball, Crew, Swimming, Rugby, Squash, and Bicycling are among the variety of sports represented within this collection.

Football films, 1926-1979, (79 cu. ft.; 1,602 reels, 10 cassette) constitute almost the entire collection of sports films. Almost every season has some footage with the strength of the representation increasing over time. There are no holdings for 1929 or 1933.

The history of football at the University of Pennsylvania is chronicled in Dan Rottenberg's Fight On, Pennsylvania: A Century of Red and Blue Football (1985). Much of what is covered by this work comes to life, and many of Pennsylvania's football greats, both coaches and players, are documented in these films. The collection of football films begin under the tutelage of Lou Young (Coach, 1923-1929) and span across the careers of George Munger (Coach, 1937-1954); Chuck Bednarik (Student-athlete, 1945-1949) including his famous 1948 fourth quarter, game-winning blocked punt recovery and run-back for a touchdown; John Steigman (Coach, 1959-1964) unsuccessful at Pennsylvania with the exception of a 7-2 upset victory over nationally acclaimed Harvard in 1963; George Burrell (Student-athlete, 1965-1969) and his 95 yard kick-off return against Cornell in 1966; and conclude with the 1979 season of Harry Gamble (Coach, 1970-1980).

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Basketball films, 1944-1945, 1949-1958, 1970-1988, (24 cubic ft.; 449 reels; 111 Video cassettes) represent the next largest group of films in the collection. The holdings for the years prior to 1970 are scattered with the majority of the films devoted to Pennsylvania Basketball games from 1970 through 1981. For 1982 there is one lone reel of an unidentified scrimmage.

Like football, the game of basketball at the University of Pennsylvania has been studied and its history told. Pride of the Palestra (1987) by Paul Zingg with Howard Gensler and Elizabeth A. Reed provides a brief account of the University's success in the game. Particularly exciting was the Penn-Dartmouth game in 1971 as well as the University's participation in the 1978-1979 NCAA Final Four Competition held in Salt Lake Palace. Included in the Archives holdings are the Penn-Dartmouth game of 1971, NCAA Regional playoff Penn-Iona game, 1978-1979, and the pivotal Final Four Michigan State game in 1978-1979.

Aside from the great athletes appearing in these films such as Dave "Corky" Calhoun, who later became a professional player for the NBA Phoenix Suns, Penn coaches that have gone on to prominence are also shown demonstrating their craft. Some of these include: Dick Harter (Coach, 1967-1971), now Coach of the NBA Charlotte Hornets; Rollie Massimino (Assistant Coach, 1967-1971), now Coach of Villanova University, the 1985 NCAA Championship team; Chuck Daly (Coach, 1972-1977) currently Coach of the NBA Detroit Pistons; and BobWeinhauer (Coach, 1977-1979) the present Assistant General Manager of the NBA Philadelphia 76'ers.

The collection is rounded out with scattered film footage of the Penn Relays, 1925-1959, n.d. (3 cubic ft.; 68 reels); Ice Hockey, 1970-1975, n.d. (7 reels, 3 cassettes); Ice Skating, n.d. (2 reels); Crew, 1915, 1969, 1977, n.d. (6 reels); Baseball, n.d. (1 reel); Swimming, n.d. (14 reels); Rugby, n.d. (1 reel); Squash, n.d. (4 reels); and Bicycling, n.d. (1 reel).

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