The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports is the permanent home of the world’s most extensive collection of materials on physical culture and sports.
This outstanding collection is the result of Drs. Jan and Terry Todd’s determination to identify and preserve the books, journals, ephemera, and artifacts that illustrate the history, development, and current status of physical fitness and self-improvement.
Of course, the reason for preserving this material is so that scholars, researchers, students – anyone – can use to explore our past in order to better understand our present and future. Click here for a list of individuals, and their publications, who have done just that.
“Research” can be defined in so many ways: sitting in a reading room perusing manuscripts, reviewing the body of work of a specific scholar, keyword searching in a database. Below is an overview of the variety of research tools available at the Stark Center. If you are not sure where to start, email or call us; we’re happy to talk through our resources with you.
If you plan to visit us, please read our policies for visiting researchers here.
Library & Archive Collections
Because so much of our collection is rare or unusual, we store it “closed stacks”, meaning that you can’t browse through the shelves. Instead, you’ll need to identify relevant material by using our collection descriptions, finding aids, or the online catalog. We suggest starting by reading the Overview of the Collections, then browsing the Featured Collections. You may use the “search” function on any of these pages to look for specific terms or names. But, if you prefer, you may email or call us with your questions.
Stark Center Initiatives
In hopes of reaching those who cannot visit us, we are slowly building a substantial digital library. The Stark Center has two digital archivist who are constantly reviewing the collection for appropriate items to scan and add to our digital collection. The Digital Library includes books, pamphlets, papers, and photographs; we are adding to it regularly.
Iron Games History is a peer-reviewed twice-yearly journal published by the Stark Center. Published since 1990, IGH is a great source of in-depth articles about the individuals, the methods, and the stories of weightlifting and training through the decades.
Institute for Olympic Studies
Directed by Dr. Tommy Hunt, the Institute for Olympic Studies (IOS) strives to understand the Olympic Movement in the context of history, politics, and social issues. The IOS has hosted exhibits and seminars but it’s crowning resource is the 1968 US Olympic Team Oral History Project, in which more than 100 US Olympians share their experiences surrounding the Olympic Games in Mexico City.
Many other individuals and institutions have physical culture resources of great value. Below are a few that we have found to be particularly useful:
LA84 The LA84 Library is enjoys worldwide recognition for its extensive collection of Olympic-related materials, as well as a substantial collection of sport and physical fitness history. Acesss is free.
Olympic.org The International Olympic Committee web site.
TeamUSA.org The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee web site.
Sherman Grinberg Film Library (Paramount and American Pathe newsreels) The Grinberg film library of old newsreels is a great source of moving images of early strength, sports, and physical fitness individuals. Access is free but there are copyright regulations.
Physical Culture Study Stark Center affiliated faculty member, Conor Hefferman, has built this web site devoted to “all things physical fitness”.
Texassports.com The University of Texas Intercollegiate Athletics Department web site.