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Michael Oriard Collection of Football Magazine Covers and Illustrations

Identifier: MSSP 10063

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of magazines and illustrations assembled by Michael Oriard on the single subject of football dating from 1834 to 2012, though the bulk of the material pertains to the twentieth century. The majority of images are held within the original publications and are a visual record of the early years of football and offer comprehensive documentation of football's distinctive place in American culture. Significant publications include: Harper’s Weekly, Leslie’s Weekly, Collier’s, Life, The Saturday Evening Post, Liberty Magazine, Judge, The New Yorker, Sport Story Magazine, and Boy’s Life. In the case an image could not be acquired for a particular title a reproduction is included to enhance the collections' completeness. Among the engravings, drawings, and paintings of football found within these titles are works by artists, illustrators, and cartoonists such as: Winslow Homer, George Bellows, A.B. Frost, Frederic Remington, Charles Dana Gibson, William Glackens, George Luks, N.C. Wyeth, Edward Penfield, F.X and J.C. Leyendecker, Thure de Thulstrup, W. T. Smedley, W. A. Rogers, E. W. Kemble, Grant Hamilton, R. F. Outcault, John E. Sheridan, Hibberd V. B. Kline, Howard Giles, Sidney H. Reisenberg, and many others.


  • Creation: 1834-2012


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

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

Michael Vincent Oriard is an American sports writer and scholar who has written widely on the history of football and American culture. Born in Spokane, Washington in 1948, Oriard began playing football in early childhood and attended Gonzaga Preparatory High School. He enrolled at the University of Notre Dame in 1966 and majored in English. During his freshman year he was a walk-on member of the Division I Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football Team under coach Ara Parseghian, and spent three practice seasons on the preparation team. By his junior year, Michael Oriard was a member of the varsity football team; during his senior year he was the team’s starting center and co-captain and was chosen second-team All-American. He was also awarded the Byron V. Kanaley Award for exemplary student athletes.

In 1970, Michael Oriard was drafted in the National Football League Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. While pursuing graduate studies in the off-season, he played four seasons with the Chiefs under coach Hank Stram, and one season for the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in Hamilton, Ontario. He concluded his professional football career in 1974.

Oriard earned a Ph.D in American Literature from Stanford University in 1976, producing a dissertation entitled Dreaming of Heroes: American Sports Fiction from the Beginning to the Present. In 1976 he was also hired as Assistant Professor of English at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. He remained on the faculty there throughout his academic career, and held the position Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 2004-2013.

Michael Oriard is the author of eight books including: Dreaming of Heroes: American Sports Fiction, 1868-1980; The End of Autumn: Reflections on My Life in Football; Sporting with the Gods: The Rhetoric of Play and Game in American Culture; Reading Football: How the Popular Press Created an American Spectacle; King Football; Bowled Over: Big-Time College Football from the Sixties to the BCS Era; Brand NFL; The Art of Football: The Early Game in the Golden Age of Illustrations. He has additionally authored articles and worked with NFL Films, PBS, and ESPN. Michael Oriard retired from Oregon State University in 2013, but continued to study, write and comment on the history of football as an Oregon State professor emeritus.


35.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged into ten series: I. Nineteenth-Century Illustrated Weeklies; II. Nineteenth-Century Humor Magazines; III. Other Pre-1920 Magazines and Ephemera; IV. Twentieth-Century Magazines; V. Woman and Football; VI. Boy’s Magazines; VII. Sporting Magazines and Game Programs; VIII. Other Post-1920 Magazines and Illustrations; IX. Dime Novels and Pulps; and X. Topics in High School, College, and Pro Football. Items within the series are arranged by publication. Within the holdings for each publication, arrangement is by date. Series X is arranged by subject and thereunder by date.

Series I consists of two subseries, i.Harper’s Weekly, and ii. Leslie’s Weekly. Series II consists of three subseries: i. Life; ii. Judge; and iii. Puck. Series III consists of three subseries: i. Miscellaneous Magazines; ii. Sunday Newspaper Magazine and Art Supplements; and iii. Ephemera. Series IV consists of eleven subseries: i. Collier’s; ii. Saturday Evening Post; iii. Liberty; iv. New Yorker; v. Literary Digest; vi. Country Gentleman; vii. College Humor; viii. Other Humor Magazines; ix. Esquire; x. Life; and xi. Look. Series V consists of four subseries: i. Women’s and Family Magazines; ii. Woman Playing Football; iii. Pinup Magazines and “Football Girls”; and iv. Love Pulps. Series VI consists of five subseries: i. American Boy; ii. Boys’ Life; iii. St. Nicholas; iv. Open Road for Boys; and v. Other Boys’ Magazines. Series VII consists of three subseries: i. Miscellaneous Sporting Magazines; ii. Illustrated Sporting News; and iii. Game Programs. Series VIII consists of three subseries: i. Miscellaneous Magazines; ii. Leyendecker Football-Themed Ads; and Sheet Music. Series IX consists of eight subseries: i. Tip Top Weekly; ii. Merriwell Paperback Reprints with Illustrated Football Covers; iii. Other Dime Novels; iv. Football Pulps; v. Popular Magazine; vi. Top Notch; vii. Sport Story Magazine; and viii. Other Pulps. Series X consists of seven subseries: i. Race; ii. “Football Towns”; iii. Football, Spectacle, and the American Way of Life; iv. Scandals in College Football; v. Toughness and Violence; vi. Joe Namath; and vii. Miscellaneous Others.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to the University of Notre Dame by Michael Oriard in 2018.


Many of the images were published in The Art of Football: The Early Game in the Golden Age of Illustration, University of Nebraska Press, 2017 by Michael Oriard.


Michael Oriard Collection of Football Magazine Covers and Illustrations
In Progress
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

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

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556