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ESCO Boxing Exhibit Cards Collection

Identifier: MSSP10093

Scope and Contents

This collection includes more than 300 exhibit cards featuring images of boxers. Cards are the size of postcards. The fronts of most cards contain an image of a boxer with his name and sometimes other information like hometown, nicknames, etc. The backs of cards from the 1920s often contain short bios and/or selected match results, and many have a postcard back for mailing. Some of the cards from the 1920s are tinted in different colors. Many cards, especially those printed after 1928, contain no information about the year of publication and have blank backs. Formats include boxing cards, collecting cards, and photographic postcards.


  • Creation: 1921-1960s

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

The Exhibit Supply Company of Chicago (ESCO) manufactured collectible cardboard cards featuring many different types of images. ESCO also manufactured the mechanical coin-operated vending machines that sold the cards to customers. The cards were frequently nicknamed “arcade cards,” because of the prevalence of these machines in arcades. ESCO printed its first collectible postcards in the early twentieth century and became one of the largest publishers and distributors of exhibit cards. The cards covered many topics, and, in 1921, ESCO printed its first sports-themed cards. Over the years, ESCO’s sports cards mostly focused on baseball and boxing. ESCO continued publishing boxing and sports-themed cards into the 1960s.


.75 Cubic Feet (1 document case (letter size); 1 half document case (letter size))

Language of Materials



Arranged chronologically when dates known.


Adam Warshaw’s book Exhibit and Related Sports Arcards Cards (2018) was essential for the processing and description of this collection.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

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

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556