Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Although there were physical education courses in the curriculum at Washington State College (now Washington State University) as early as 1910 there was no Department of Physical Education until 1915. During this early period athletics and physical education were geared to provide healthful and corrective exercise for students. The Physical Director, Coach and Trainer taught classes, coached the athletic teams and acted as trainer. The athletic program was controlled by the faculty committee on athletics and the schedule of athletic events was established by the students and faculty of the Athletic Association. The Physical Director, Coach and Trainer supervised the teams. In 1915 the Department of Physical Education and Athletics was created. The change by the Board of Regents consolidated responsiblity for both the athletic program and physical education in the position of Director of Physical Education and Athletics (the former Physical Director, Coach and Trainer). He was also a member of the Athletic Council and functioned as chairman of that body. In 1916 recreation courses were added to the physical education curriculum. The department added instructors and hired a football coach before 1920. The 1920s saw the enactment of legislation that required compulsory physical education in the high schools of many states. This led to the development of a degree program to train students as physical and recreation directors, playground supervisors, and athletic coaches. By 1931 the department offered a Master of Science in Physical Education. In 1944 the Board of Regents elevated the Department of Physical Education to the status of the School of Physical Education. In 1948 the athletic program was placed under the direction of the Board of Regents and the Athletic Council continued in an advisory capacity.
Fred "Doc" Bohler is the dominant figure in these records. He was appointed Physical Director, Coach and Trainer in 1908, became Director of Physical Education and Athletics in 1915 and Director of the School of Physical Education in 1944. For all practical purposes Bohler was the guiding influence in physical education, intramural athletics, interscholastic athletics, and intercollegiate athletics between 1908 and his retirement in 1950. The history of physical education and athletics at WSC is largely the history of Bohler's efforts to develop the programs.
The records date from 1908-1967 with the bulk dates being 1915-1950. For the most part the records reflect the orientation of J. Fred Bohler, Director of physical Education and Athletics, in that they are predominantly the records of intercollegiate and intramural activities and not records of the development of curriculum, facilities, and procedures in the Department of Physical Education. William E. Heath in his biography of Bohler [submitted as a masters thesis in 1951] indicated that Bohler delegated much of the responsibility for instruction and curriculum development to qualified faculty and devoted most of his time to athletics. The records are divided into six record series: (1) Athletics, 1909-1949 (2) Correspondence with Servicemen, 1942- 1946 (3) Pacific Coast Intercollegiate Conference, 1912-1937 (4) Physical Education, 1911-1947 (5) Motion Picture Films, 1947-1949 and (6) Score Books, 1908-1967.
The Athletics series consists of correspondence, reports, contest summaries, newspaper clippings, some memorabilia, lists, photographs, and performance records in chronological order by year subdivided alphabetically by sport. Exceptions to this arrangement pattern occur in the gymnastics folder covering 1911-1920, and all sports for the periods 1930-1932 and 1943-1945. Intercollegiate sports included in the series are badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, fencing, football, golf, handball, lacrosse , riding, skiing, swimming, tennis, track, weightlifting, and wrestling. To a lesser extent the series also includes materials on intramural and interscholastic activities and olympic trials. In several cases, the original folders have been divided into two folders (labeled "a" and "b"), one containing only newspaper clippings, and the other containing the remainder of the folders contents. This is to protect the non-newspaper documents from the more acidic newsprint.
The correspondence with servicemen represents Bohler's efforts to keep in contact with former students and athletes in the armed forces during the Second World War. Much of the material is noteworthy not only for descriptions of conditions in the European and Pacific Theaters of war and the home front but also because these former students discuss their philosophy and beliefs to some extent. The series contains correspondence, some photographs, and greeting cards and includes numerous examples of military letterheads for the period. The series is subdivided into two subseries. The first subseries consists of two folders of correspondence with servicemen that has no particular filing order within the folder. The second subseries is arranged alphabetically by the surname of the correspondent.
The Pacific Coast Intercollegiate Conference series is very important as WSC was an early member of the association and because J. Fred Bohler was the historian for the conference during the 1930's and collected a great deal of the early correspondence, minutes, and rules of the conference during its formative period from the figures instrumental in its formation.
The Physical Education series is a loose association of class notes, annual reports, budgets, functional reports, and administrative reference materials that clearly do not give a complete picture of the function of that department. These records are arranged alphabetically. The motion picture films deal with ski jumping and football. The Score Books record specific athletic performances in baseball, basketball, wrestling, softball and interscholastic track but are primarily baseball and basketball. The Score Books are arranged by sport and whether varsity, freshmen, intramural, interscholastic, or faculty and then chronologically.
Additional records of the Athletic Department are found in Archives 28.
Use of the Collection
Restrictions on Access :
The Collection is open for research use.
Acquisition Information :
The records of the Director of Physical Education and Athletics were received by the University Libraries prior to 1970 (WSU 120).
Processing Note :
The records were reprocessed between April and June 1984 by Kerry Bartels.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Track , 1909-1910
Track , 1910-1911
Football , 1911-1912
Gymnastics , 1911-1920
Newspaper Clippings of 1916 Pasadena Game , 1915-1916