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Nat Fleischer Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSSP 2003

Scope and Contents

The Fleischer collection includes professional and some personal papers of boxing writer and publisher Nat Fleischer. Most prevalent are carbon-copy typescripts of Fleischer's articles, serialized features, and books. There are manuscripts or manuscript drafts, whole or partial, relating to many of his published books, including biographies of boxers John L. Sullivan, James J. Corbett, Terry McGovern, Jack McAuliffe, Gene Tunney, and Jack Dempsey (among others). There are also manuscripts relating to Black Dynamite: The Story of the Negro in the Prize Ring, (1939-47); The Heavyweight Championship (1949); and A Pictorial History of Boxing (1959). Much of this material exists in multiple copies, or variants. Some bears handwritten notes, or emendations. There are also typescripts of titles that appear never to have been published, at least as monographs; among these are histories of boxing in New York and Chicago and a project titled The Literature of the Prize Ring. Among the other items in the collection are four personal scrapbooks of clipped articles and manuscript correspondence; two photo albums, recording a 1954 trip to Thailand and a trip to the 1956 Olympics; typewritten indices for The Ring for the late 40s and early 50s; and a great variety of clippings and clippings files.

Dates

  • circa 1910-1967

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Folders 210 and 222 are restricted for conservation.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Nathaniel S. "Nat" Fleischer (1887-1972) was born into a Jewish family on Manhattan's Lower East Side. He earned a B.S. in botany and chemistry at the City College of New York in 1908, and for several years thereafter taught in the New York City public schools. In 1912 Fleischer turned to journalism, beginning as a reporter for the New York Press and becoming the paper's sports editor four years later. He subsequently served as sports editor for two other New York dailies, the Sun and the Telegram. In 1922, following the legalization of prizefighting in New York State, Fleischer and three partners founded a monthly magazine dedicated to boxing, called The Ring. Fleischer would remain as editor and publisher of The Ring for fifty years, during which time the magazine earned recognition as the most authoritative voice in the sport, the "Bible of Boxing". Fleischer editorialized constantly on issues he regarded as crucial to the future of boxing—corruption, the impact of television, fighter safety—and the influence he exerted must be regarded as beneficial. Another characteristic feature of the magazine was its rankings of fighters in all divisions, rankings which became highly influential on matchmaking. Fleischer was also a prolific author who wrote dozens of boxing instructionals, biographies, and histories; many of these titles were serialized in the magazine before their publication as books by The Ring Bookshop, Inc. He also compiled what was for decades boxing's definitive reference, the annual Ring Record Book. Fleischer's office in Madison Square Garden housed an enormous accumulation of boxing-related clippings, publications, photographs, and memorabilia. He travelled internationally, proselytizing for the sport and serving as referee or judge in foreign bouts. After World War II his son-in-law, Nat Loubet, became increasingly involved in managing The Ring; it was Loubet who took over the magazine following Fleischer's death in 1972.

Extent

14 cubic feet

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

This collection is unarranged.

Accruals

The collection was acquired in two separate accessions, in 2012 and 2013, from Clay Moyle of Edgewood, Washington. Materials from the second, 2013 accession are marked (Accrual).
Title
Nat Fleischer Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Hannah Sabal, George Rugg, and Zoe Thrumston
Date
2/1/2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556
574-631-0290