The Robinson Collection of Athletics was presented to the Library
and the University in 1943, and dedicated in honor of Edward North
Robinson, Class of 1896 and former coach of the Brown football team.
The Collection consisted of books on athletics, photographs and souvenirs.
Now 57 years later, Jackson W. "Jack" Robinson ═64, grandson of Edward,
has generously endowed the collection. President of an environmental
investment firm in Boston, Jack dropped into the library several years
ago and talked to Martha Mitchell. When he saw how limited the resources
were to expand the collection or give it the attention it deserved,
he vowed to do something.
There are probably only a handful of people who even know about the
Robinson Collection and the related items housed in the John Hay Library.
A few trophies, plaques and winning baseballs are displayed in cases
at the Pizzitola Sports Center but the University═s collection is
much more substantial. It includes:
- Photographs: team pictures and action shots.
- Athletic uniforms
and game balls.
- Statistics pertaining to the football, hockey, golf,
fencing, track and lacrosse teams.
- Information on the early participation
in sports by women students (which probably includes a picture of
my mother, Helen Baldwin, class of ═32, displaying her archery skills).
- You can even view a video, which includes a compilation of game
films from the 1930═s on.
But now many more people will know about this collection. The new funds
from Jack Robinson will make possible a number of initiatives:
- Securing the services of a person with filming/digitizing experience
and appropriate knowledge.
- Creation of a sports history web page
linked to appropriate University and Library home pages.
of publications relating to Brown sports history.
- Contracting out
for specialized forms of preservation that are beyond the capabilities
and resources of the Library, e.g. restoration of sports memorabilia,
deacidification of fragile paper-based sports materials.
Thanks to Jack Robinson and his grandfather, generations to come will
be able to learn how Brown═s football team went from the first Rose
Bowl in 1916 to an Ivy League championship in 1999, and how my mother
learned to shoot a bow and arrow on the Pembroke campus.
Jack Robinson told me that he hopes his gift will foster a "long-term
partnership between the athletic program and the library." The athletic
center may be at the opposite end of the campus from the library complex,
but both institutions play a very critical role in the entire Brown
Fraser Lang. Chair, Friends of the Library of Brown University