Department of Physical Education and Athletics Records, 1850 -- 2020


Title: Department of Physical Education and Athletics Records
Dates: 1850 -- 2020
Bulk Dates: 1940 -- 1989
Creator: Department of Physical Education
Call Number: UA046
Size: 227.6 Linear Feet, 201 boxes and 20 oversize folders, 29 Volumes, 1 Artifact(s), 6.5 inches wide by 7.5 inches long by 23.5 inches tall, 31 Audiovisual Object(s), 534 Digital Object(s), 40 Web sites
Permanent URL:
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


The collection contains team files, subject files, photographs and negatives, manager's reports, scrapbooks, playbooks, programs and publications, ephemera, and materials from Jumbo Footprints dating from 1870. These records were created by the athletic department to record sporting events, committee meetings, activities of the year, special events, fundraising activities. The records include rosters, playbooks, mangers reports, and game results for various sports. Also included are summary records of the season events such as annual reports, end of season reports, awards and news releases.


This collection is organized into thirteen series: Team files; Subject files; Photographs, negatives, and Scientific Baseball (manual); Videos; Scrapbooks; Playbooks; Programs and publications; Constitution for Government of Athletics and meeting minutes; Ephemera; Jumbo Footprints; Athletics Department web crawls; Unprocessed accessions; and 2017 accessions.


Biographical / Historical

Athletics at Tufts began in the 1860s. Football was introduced in 1863, followed by baseball in 1864. Though athletic teams were organized by students until the early twentieth century, a physical education requirement was put into place in 1865, and the Department of Physical Education was created in the 1880s. The physical education requirement lasted at Tufts until 1975, when it was dropped by vote of the Trustees. During the nineteenth century, Tufts' athletics suffered from a lack of facilities. Athletics had a casual role on campus during the nineteenth century. Although the Tufts Athletic Association was founded in the fall of 1874, it oversaw only "track and field sports." During this period, most sports were organized by the students themselves, the equivalent of intramural sports today, and annual Field days served as a venue for competitions. Field sports were abandoned due to lack of interest between 1882-1892, but renewed enthusiasm during the 1890s resulted in new facilities built on campus, including the construction of a track at the Oval, and an indoor running track in Goddard Gymnasium. Throughout the early twentieth century, the Trustees had a conflicted relationship with athletics. Though athletic teams were growing in popularity across college campuses nationwide, the Trustees were wary of the growing "professionalism in athletics." Fearing the prioritization of campus athletics over Tufts' academics, the Trustees announced that financial aid could only come from alumni funding, and not from trustee funding. However, as Tufts fell behind in competitions, and as it became clear that smaller colleges such as Tufts could gain recognition through athletics, the idea of "recruiting students competent both on the athletic field and in the classroom" became much more popular. Tufts joined the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States in 1906. The appointment of John Albert Cousens as the president of the university in 1919 was a key influence in the future of Tufts athletics. Cousens, Class of 1898 and a football player during his undergraduate years, was a firm believer in the necessity of athletics during the college years. Cousens also appointed Clarence "Pop" Houston as the first athletic director of Tufts. Houston emphasized the idea of recruiting good athletes to Tufts, as long as they could meet the academic standards. Cousens' appointment to the presidency was a driving force in aligning the Department of Physical Education more closely with the academic departments; during the 1920s, the physical education graduation requirement was increased, and physical education took place during regular class hours. In 1932, the Trustees named the newly-built gymnasium on College Avenue in his honor, due to his strong beliefs about personal physical fitness and due to his help while fundraising to build the new gymnasium. Athletics during the 1960s and 1970s was characterized by a changing athletic body. Title IX going into effect in 1972 brought about an increase in funding for women's athletic teams. Tufts also joined the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) in 1971, which reflected its ongoing dedication to operating athletics "in harmony" with the school's academic standards and philosophies. NESCAC defined several restrictive rules governing Tufts athletics that defined much of its athletic culture, including rules prohibiting off-campus recruiting, limiting the number of "contests" in each sport, and having strict beginning and end dates. As of 2017, Tufts is still a member of the conference.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection contains some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are listed in the detailed contents list. This collection may require review before it is available for use. Please contact DCA for further details.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Copyright to all materials created by Tufts University employees in the course of their work is held by the Trustees of Tufts University.

Preferred Citation

Department of Physical Education and Athletics Records, 1850-2016. Tufts University. Digital Collections and Archives. Medford, MA.

Collection History

Processing Notes

This collection is processed, but some materials may be restricted and not available for research. 2017 accessions processed by Leah Edelman in 2017. Materials were placed in archival boxes if the original housing was damaged; received order was maintained. A box-level inventory and series-level description were created and the finding aid was updated at the time of processing. 

This collection is partially processed.


Transferred by the Department of Physical Education and Athletics, 2000-2017.

Subjects and Genre Terms
  • Curriculum and Instruction -- Academic Departments and Programs
  • Student Activities -- Athletics
  • Curriculum and Instruction -- Scholarships, Fellowships, Awards
Related Material
  • Jumbo Club Records, 1969-2008. Tufts University. Digital Collections and Archives. Medford, MA.

Series Description

  1. Team files, 1874 -- 2011

    Team files include rosters, game results and season summaries from 1889 to 1994. Files are arranged by sport and chronologically within each sport. While the football files are the most comprehensive, sports such as track, wrestling, basketball, and baseball are well represented in the early years. By the 1970s, other sports such as soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, softball and sailing begin to appear. Included are photocopies of memory books created by the women's lacrosse team during the period of 1983-1991 and a sampling of manager's reports for most sports that spans the period from 1925 to 1989.

  2. Subject files, 1871 -- 2012

    Subject files were created to document activities of the athletic department. Records from 1871 to 1996 include end of season reports, awards, releases, annual reports, committee and staff meeting reports, summer athletic programs, special projects, biographical files, correspondence and recommendations.

  3. Photographs, negatives, and Scientific Baseball (manual), 1870 -- 2013

    This series contains photographs and negatives from 1870 to 2013 that include photos of teams, players, coaches, sporting events, and athletic department staff. Most photographs are about football. Sports such as baseball, basketball, cross-country, hockey, sailing, tennis, swimming, track, and wrestling are also well represented. Most of the early photographs were taken by professional sports photographers. By the 1970s the volume of photographs increases dramatically. A large number of these pictures are candid snapshots taken by amateur photographers or members of the department. Many of these images are unidentified and marginally organized. Most negatives are located in box # 72 but some negatives are stored with the photographs. Most photographs relating directly to Rocky Carzo and his career at Tufts are in box #106.

    The baseball manual is a 44 page document written by John Thomas "Jack" Slattery, dated 1916. Slattery was a catcher in the American League, a manager and coach for the Boston Braves, and a coach at Tufts from 1914-17.

    See series 10 for additional sports photos used in the research for Jumbo Footprints.

  4. Videos, 1930 -- 2006

    This series contains game footage of the Tufts football, baseball, men's and women's lacrosse, and swimming teams, circa 1930-2000.

  5. Scrapbooks, 1916 -- 1981

    This series contains scrapbooks 1937 to 1981, which were created by the Athletic Department to document sporting events throughout the year.

  6. Playbooks, 1958 -- 2001

    This series includes playbooks from 1966 to 1989. They include records of all the plays used during a season.

  7. Programs and publications, 1912 -- 2013

    This series includes programs, brochures, and Athletics Department general publications about games, sports and athletic department events from 1940-2004.

  8. Constitution for Government of Athletics and meeting minutes, 1908 -- 1948

    This series contains a small book containing the constitution for the government of athletics in Tufts College as well as minutes for meetings.

  9. Ephemera, 1876 -- 2012

    This series contains ephemera, which includes ribbons, plaques, and T-shirts of the Department of Athletics.

  10. Jumbo Footprints, 1850 -- 2010

    This series includes materials for the book and project "Jumbo Footprints: A History of Tufts Athletics, 1852-1999." The editor of the book, Rocky Carzo, Tufts Athletic Director (1976-1999), initiated the project. Materials include videos, DVDs, the book, drafts and versions of the book, original reference materials for the book, and photographs. The co-authored book documents Athletics at Tufts chronologically.

  11. Athletics Department web crawls, 2012 -- 2020

    A collection of 40 websites crawled by DCA to document the presesence of Tufts Athletics on the web. The majority of the websites in this series are crawled on a monthly basis.

  12. Additional accessions, circa 1950 -- 2012
  13. 2017 accessions, 1982 -- 2002

    This series contains women's cross country and outdoor and indoor track records kept by Branwen Smith King, women's track and cross country coach from 1982-2000. These records include rosters, results from meets, photographs, newsclippings, drills and exercises, schedules, programs, and athlete information. This series also contains one box of Branwen Smith King's files as part of the Athletics Department, including courses taught and other department business. Box titles provided by Athletics department.

View Online Materials

Some of the materials from this collection are available online. Not all materials have necessarily been digitized.