Month: March 2020

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Bodybuilder Siegmund Klein in formal attire, including a hat and a cane, in a photograph dedicated to wrestler and strongman George F. Jowett, and dated October 14, 1926, from the scrapbooks in the George F. Jowett Collection.

Sig Klein in Formal Clothing

Sigmund Klein was one of the most fascinating, and indeed, successful physical culturists of the 1920s and 1930s. Operating a gym in New York, the same gym run by his father in law, Professor Atilla, Klein’s unique position in the fitness industry made him the envy of many. Not only was he incredibly strong and...

March 30, 2020April 27, 2020

Lessons from The Arnold Strongman Classic

On Monday, March 2, 2020, I met my graduate course, The History of the Sport Industry in America, at the Stark Center to talk about a series of readings they’d been assigned that dealt with the business of strength.  They were asked to read an article Ben Pollack and I wrote about 1950s gym-chain magnate...

March 24, 2020November 22, 2022
Trophy including a photograph and a lock of hair, from strongman Mighty Atom (Joseph L. Greenstein), commemorating him as having the world's strongest hair, compliments of Slim the Hammerman.

Lock of Hair from The Mighty Atom

In June 1911, shortly after Joe Greenstein arrived in Houston, Texas, he resumed a wrestling career that had been interrupted in his native Poland when rising anti-Semitism drove him to join relatives in America. In 1914, however, a friend shot him between the eyes and set him on a different path. As the story goes,...

March 23, 2020April 3, 2020

Barbells & Bios: Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book

  As an avid, but unsuccessful golfer, I have a deep appreciation for those skilled in the sport. In a career spanning several decades, Penick was involved with the game at every level. From 1913 to 1923 he caddied at the Austin Country Club.  In 1923 he became the head professional right out of high school. ...

March 20, 2020March 10, 2020
Lorenzo Ghiglieri painting of a weightlifter in a tavern, with the face of publisher Joe Weider, from the Weider Art Collection, in the main lobby.

Weider Beer Hall Painting

In 1989, Joe Weider commissioned Lorenzo Ghiglieri to produce this oil painting based on a famous print depicting a training session at the Hercules Club in Vienna. The original print was made over one hundred years ago. Close observers will see Joe’s likeness painted into one of the beer hoisting onlookers and, on the wall,...

March 16, 2020April 3, 2020
The ring presented to former University of Texas football coach Darrell K. Royal on the occasion of Texas' 2005 National Championship, won against USC, 41-38, in the 2006 Rose Bowl Game, from the Darrell K. Royal Collection.

Darrell K Royal 2005 Championship Ring

When Mack Brown was named head football coach at the University of Texas in 1998, he was immediately tasked with returning Longhorn football to a place of national prominence and a culture of winning. Wisely, he sought out the insights and expertise of Darrell Royal, a man who coached the Longhorns for twenty years, won...

March 9, 2020April 29, 2020

Barbells & Bios: The Tom Pevier Scrapbook

Tom Pevier is not an individual familiar to many weightlifters today. Nevertheless, his physical culture interest holds a great importance for scholars of the early twentieth century. An avid weightlifter, wrestler and all-round physical culturist, Pevier went on to referee several of the early British weightlifting competitions in the early twentieth century. Pevier’s scrapbook, a...

March 6, 2020February 19, 2020
List of the forty-nine lifts sanctioned by American Continental Weight-Lifters Association (ACWLA), created by George F. Jowett and Ottley Coulter; this list was enclosed with a June 22, 1922 letter from Jowett to Coulter, from the Ottley Coulter Collection.

George Jowett’s letter to Ottley Coulter 6/22/1922

One of the most fascinating aspects of working in the Stark Center is the ability to work with personal letters from one physical culturist to another. This letter from George F. Jowett to Ottley R. Coulter represented a conversation between two prominent American physical culturists. In the letter, the two men discuss the foundation of...

March 2, 2020July 13, 2020