Ottley Coulter Collection

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Ottley Coulter Collection

Coulter was a vaudeville strongman, author, and collector.  As his vaudeville days came to a close, he moved into supporting and documenting competitive weightlifting.  Along with George Jowett, he helped form the first weightlifting association in the United States (see the Coulter-Jowett Correspondence Finding Aid below), the American Continental Weight Lifting Association (ACWLA) and accumulated what many experts believe was the largest collection of materials in this field in the United States.  This collection became invaluable to Terry Todd when, in the mid-1960s, Todd was researching his dissertation on the history of resistance exercise. Coulter graciously allowed Todd to use his collection and the two strongmen became friends.  In 1966 Coulter visited Todd in Austin, during which they discussed the value of a collection such as Coulter’s being housed at a major university. In 1975, after Coulter’s death, Terry and his wife, Jan Todd, purchased the collection from the family and brought it to Texas.

Contents include books, physical culture magazines, photographs, scrapbooks, clippings, manuscripts, training courses, diaries, posters, and extensive correspondence files.  Below are finding aids for three sub-collections within the Coulter collection.  Coulter’s book collection has been cataloged into the UT Libraries catalog.

Finding Aids

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