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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Collection Overview
Name of Creator:Northeastern University (Boston, Mass). Dept. of Athletics
Title:Dept. of Athletics records
Reference Code:A17
Location Code: 9/1-4, 24/2-4, 25/1-3, 30/1, 32/2, 32/4, 42/3-4, FF4/D1, FF4/D2
Extent:165.80 cubic ft. (55 boxes and 1,667 reels of film)
Scope and Content Abstract:The bulk of this collection consists of athletic films and VHS tapes, mainly from football and basketball. The collection also documents the activities of Northeastern University's Department of Athletics and its predecessor, the Department of Student Activities, between 1930 and 1996. The bulk of these records were generated during Herbert Wendell Gallagher's tenure as Athletic Director, 1953-1977. The collection also includes records from the Departments of Physical Education and Health, which were sub-divisions of the Department of Student Activities between 1921 and 1962. Records include correspondence and memoranda, athletic films, newspaper and magazine clippings, athletic programs, press releases, schedules, score books, student lists, policies, agendas, trophies, and plaques. Of special interest are several letters from students and colleagues detailing their experiences in World War II. The collection also includes a significant amount of records pertaining to the Cross Country and Track and Field team from 1921-1998 that were created during Irwin Cohen's time as a track coach (1962-1983), these records consist of correspondence, records of team workouts, and programs from cross country and track and field events. The Varsity Hall of Fame records include files for each inductee, consisting of biographical data, induction programs, newspaper clippings, notes, photographs, press releases, and travel sheets. In addition, of particular note are a collection of 102 cartoons and drawings by prominent sports cartoonist Phil Bissell. The cartoons, spanning 1964-1985, were used for game day programs and celebrate achievements by Northeastern athletes and coaches.
Historical Abstract:In 1921, Northeastern University's (NU) Department of Student Activities was established, with divisions of Publications, Athletics and Miscellaneous Activities. In 1924, athletic participation in six sports at NU was formalized, with requirements for eligibility, letter awards, and other phases of intercollegiate competition. From 1929 to 1953, Edward Parsons was Director of Student Activities, with the later title of Director of Health, Physical Training and Student Activities. In 1953, Herbert Gallagher became the director. Between 1960 and 1962, the student activities, physical education, and health components were separated from the Department of Athletics. The Varsity Club Hall of Fame was established in 1974 and recognizes Northeastern University's most impactful and outstanding student-athletes, coaches, and benefactors. As of 2015, the Department of Athletics is home to 18 NCAA Division I sports, 43 club sports, and 32 intramural sports.
System of Arrangement:This collection is organized into five series: Series I. Department of Athletics, Subseries A. Administration, Subseries B. Varsity Club Hall of Fame, Subseries C. Baseball, Subseries D. Basketball, Subseries E. Cross Country, Subseries F. Football, Subseries G. Ice Hockey, Subseries H. Outside Associations and Committees, Subseries I. Phil Bissell Cartoons; Series II. Department of Health; Series III. Department of Physical Education; Series IV. Department of Student Activities; and Series V. Athletic Memorabilia.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Bissell, Phil, 1926-

  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Dept. of Athletics.
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Dept. of Health.
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Dept. of Physical Education.
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Dept. of Student Activities.
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.) – Baseball.
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.) – Basketball.
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.) – Football.
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.) – Hockey.
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.) – Track-athletics.
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.) – Sports.
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Sports Information Office.

  • College sports – Administration – Massachusetts – Boston.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American.

Conditions Governing Access:Records are closed for 25 years from the date of their creation, unless researchers have written permission from the creating office. Personnel and student records are closed for 75 years from their date of creation.
Related Archival Materials:

A sortable index of the Varsity Club Hall of Fame inductees is available online at

Processor: Finding aid prepared by Chris Burns, February 1996. Updated by Rachel Seale, March 2006; updated by Daniel Lavoie, Bianca Corjuc, Madelyn Stone, April 2015; updated by Andrew Begley, August 2015.