About the Collection
In 1988, the University Archives, a unit of the University Libraries Special Collections, began a concentrated effort to locate historical materials that would document the growth of athletic policies and the achievement of our teams. Our goal has been to establish a Penn State Sports Archive that will be unrivaled in its scope and serve both scholars and administrators.
To date, the Sports Archives included more than 4000 football films and videotapes, beginning with the 1929 film of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State. The collection also includes football footage of the 1948 Cotton Bowl, highlight films dating back to 1952, footage of scrimmages, and films of practice sessions, Blue-White games, and almost every regularly scheduled game since 1957. The videotape collection includes footage of selected basketball, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, ice hockey and gymnastic events since 1950. Complete game-by-game, reel-by-reel inventories have been compiled for all the audio-visual materials. For a listing of the sports audio-visual materials held by the University Archives, go to the Football Audio Visual Collection or Audio Visual Materials for Other Sports.
The Sports Archives is by no means limited to films and videotapes. The collections include biographical information about many of the athletes who have helped make Penn State a sports power, media guides and press kits for all Penn State sports (including intramurals and club sports) and material related to many special events, and historical records concerning the rise of women’s intercollegiate athletics and the impact of Title IX. Complementing these collections are archival records of the Women’s Recreational Association, Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics, and the College of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. The Sports Archives also maintains extensive collections of the personal papers of such coaches as Hugo Bezdek, Charles “Rip” Engle and Tom Tait.
Sports historians and enthusiasts will find in these collections many opportunities for research. In addition, the Archives houses the North American Society for Sports History records and American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance national, regional, and state records, the Charles Stewart Goodwin Football Program Collection and the Ron Smith Sports Book Collection. The Smith books can be found on the Penn State Libraries’ catalog. A transcript of John Cappelletti’s Heisman Trophy Award speech is available on this website, and a portion of his speech is available on VHS. The archives also have files on the many Penn Staters who have participated in the Olympics, either in competition, or in supporting roles. The University Archives is committed to maintaining and expanding this wealth of material through an aggressive collection development program.
Some of the sports featured in the archives are:
Sports Archive FAQs
Q: Can items such as videos, books and papers be borrowed overnight from the Sports Archives?
A: No, materials can only be viewed in the Special Collections Library during regular hours. Photocopying and scanning are available on site.
Q: How do I get information on Penn State athletes?
A: When asking for information on individual athletes, please provide the name, the sport and the years he/she participated in. Copies of articles, clippings, and statistics can be provided for a fee.
Q: Can I get a photograph of a PSU athlete?
A: When available, photographs can be scanned and sent via e-mail for a fee.
Q: What is the difference between coaches footage and broadcast footage?
A: Coaches footage only shows individual plays of the game, usually in black and white with no sound. Broadcast footage is in color and has announcers giving play-by-play commentary.
Q: Can I purchase copies of bowl games?
A: No, bowl game coverage is owned by the bowl entities and the networks, and is subject to copyright restrictions.
Q: Who was John Montgomery Ward?
A: John Montgomery Ward was a native of Bellefonte, PA who attended Penn State in 1875. He was one of the first pitchers to throw a curve ball, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964.
Links to other Penn State Sports Websites:
- GLORY DAYS: Celebrating 25 Years of Sports Archives at Penn State (2013)
- Penn State Athletics
- Penn State All-Sports Museum
- The Dr. Roger B. Saylor Football Records Collection
- Penn State Football History Research Guide- created with the generous support of Michael O. Ring and The Ring Family Sports Archives Fund.