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05-29-2008, 12:09 AM
Posted By: <b>Alan</b><p>Anyone know whatever happened to the late Hank Kaplan's boxing archives & memorabilia ? Did he have valuable stuff that dealers/auction houses wanted or was it just a lot of research paperworth that could be used in a library ?<br /><br />Thanks.<br />Alan<br />

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08-29-2008, 10:19 PM
Posted By: <b>writehooks</b><p>From the New York Times, Aug. 18<br /><br />++++++++++++++++++++++++++<br /><br />Gems of the Ring, Guarded by a Professor in Boxing Gloves<br /><br />By GLENN COLLINS<br />A now yellowing, handwritten letter from a feisty former lightweight boxer known as the Napoleon of the Ring — Jack McAuliffe by name — was sent in 1924 to the Hoosier Flash, an Indianapolis pugilist named Sid Glick. “My letters to you may be worth a fortune when I am dead,” McAuliffe wrote to Glick. “Just keep them. I don’t write to many.”<br /><br />Someone did keep them: Hank Kaplan, widely regarded as the nation’s foremost boxing historian when he died in 2007 at age 88 in Florida.<br /><br />Now his vast boxing archive, amassed over half a century, has arrived in the borough of his birth, at the Brooklyn College Library. And if the McAuliffe letters are not worth a fortune, that is hardly true of the archive, believed to be worth nearly $3 million.<br /><br />For years, many worried that “the collection would be lost in a hurricane, or broken up after Hank passed away,” said Anthony M. Cucchiara, professor of archival management at Brooklyn College. “The collection survived out of Hank’s love and devotion, and a bit of sheer luck.”<br /><br />Luck? Yes: Professor Cucchiara, whose title is archivist and head of distinctive collections, is something else: a boxer.<br /><br />At age 57, he works out every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn with Hector Rocca, who trained the fighter Arturo Gatti and the actress Hilary Swank for her role in the film “Million Dollar Baby.”<br /><br />And so the boxing archive and the sparring archivist were introduced, and a match was made.<br /><br />As yet unavailable to researchers, the collection — so far publicly confined to a small exhibition area in the library — consumes a 10-foot-high chamber in the Archives and Special Collections Division.<br /><br />Crammed into the space are 2,600 books, 200,000 rare prints and negatives, 790 boxes of newspaper clippings from 1890 to 2007, 300 tapes of fights and interviews, reams of correspondence and hundreds of items of memorabilia, including belt buckles, trading cards and signed boxing gloves. Among the treasures is a heavy punching bag pounded by Cassius Clay in Miami before he renamed himself Muhammad Ali.<br /><br />Although it might seem incongruous for an academic institution to devote space to a boxing collection, Professor Cucchiara said he hoped the Kaplan collection would be “a valuable archeological dig” for scholars. “I suppose some people would want to turn their noses up at a boxing collection,” he said. “But the story of America is in this archive. Boxing is a prism for our cultural history, and is important for its associations with immigration, ethnicity, class, race and nationalism.”<br /><br />The Kaplan collection-Cucchiara connection was made through David Smith, a supervising librarian at the New York Public Library in Manhattan who regularly works with authors. He learned about the Kaplan archive from the writer David Margolick, who was researching his 2005 book, “Beyond Glory: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, and a World on the Brink.”<br /><br />“For boxing writers, visiting the Kaplan collection was like going to Mecca,” Mr. Smith said. When he read about Professor Cucchiara in a 2005 article in The New York Times that mentioned his avocation, “I got in touch with Tony and told him, ‘there’s a boxing archive in Miami you might be interested in,’ ” Mr. Smith said, adding that he asked Mr. Margolick to tell Kaplan about Professor Cucchiara.<br /><br />Soon, then, the Brooklyn archivist headed to Kendall Park in Florida to inspect the collection in 2006, “and when I first saw it, it was overwhelming,” Professor Cucchiara recalled. “It completely filled Hank’s house and two-car garage. I was stunned.”<br /><br />The collection is valued at $2.94 million, “and probably it’s worth much more,” said its appraiser, Larry E. Sullivan, a professor of criminal justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, who was chief of the rare book and special collections division of the Library of Congress.<br /><br />Though Kaplan’s day job was to toil for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Miami, he had longtime friendships with trainers like Angelo Dundee and fighters including Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston, Kid Gavilan and Ezzard Charles. He collected much of their memorabilia, “preserving it all on the fly,” Professor Cucchiara said.<br /><br />A 6-footer who was once a boxer, Kaplan was a pipe-smoking original known as “the human encyclopedia,” who commonly used sonorous phrases like “fistic arcana” to describe his meticulously organized life’s work.<br /><br />Soft-spoken with a dense Brooklyn accent, and scholarly in a rough-hewn way, “he would sit at a table piled with publications, and he clipped away every night for 40 or 50 years, filing it all away,” Mr. Margolick recalled.<br /><br />Kaplan maintained information on virtually every professional boxer and trainer — and even judges and announcers — and documented 1,200 boxing deaths. He reveled in compiling curious dossiers, like Jewish boxers who adopted disparate ethnic pseudonyms.<br /><br />After Kaplan’s death, Professor Cucchiara was surprised to get a call from his family telling him that the entire valuable collection had been willed as a gift to Brooklyn College.<br /><br />“I think Hank liked the idea that the collection would be coming to Brooklyn,” Professor Cucchiara said, noting that Kaplan was born in Williamsburg. “And it could be that he thought — since I’m both an academician and a boxer — that I would not let him down.”<br /><br />Boxing was once a mass entertainment more popular than baseball and football in an era when it was not unusual for much of the populace to tune radios to championship fights, Dr. Sullivan said. But the sport was gradually marginalized because of the decline of the neighborhood zeitgeist that supported local gyms, the toll of debilitating injuries and deaths, the competition from team sports that provided other, less punishing, options for youths, and boxing’s connection with organized crime, he said.<br /><br />Today, “boxing is a niche sport, abandoned by network television and playing to an enthusiastic following locked in to cable television and pay-per-view championship bouts,” Professor Cucchiara said. The collection — a bonanza of high-value artifacts, primary-source records and eccentric oddments — traces many social trends, Professor Cucchiara said, including the waves of immigration that fed the boxing beast. It reveals the competitiveness of ethnic groups as well as the power of boxing to uplift, or destroy, those newcomers.<br /><br />There are 150 ringed binders of correspondence, tickets and ephemera, as well as telegrams, souvenir programs, fight cards, boxing licenses, contracts and 1,000 broadsides and posters.<br /><br />The collection encompasses photographs of Joe Louis; a gold-plated cigarette case given by Max Baer to his trainer, Issy Kline; Ali’s training trunks for the Leon Spinks fight; and sketches by Ali, an inveterate doodler. “And you have the actual photo signed by Liston,” Dr. Sullivan said, “who didn’t sign a lot of photos. His wife did.”<br /><br />Professor Cucchiara is raising $200,000 to house the collection in acid-free storage, and to study and catalog it. “I felt so sad when the door came down on that garage,” he said, recalling supervising the removal of the collection from Kaplan’s house in February.<br /><br />“It seemed,” he said, “like the punctuation of Hank’s life.”

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08-31-2008, 04:25 PM
Posted By: <b>boxingcardman</b><p>On the one hand it is nice that the archive is being maintained and will be available for research. On the other hand, you have to b concerned that the archive will suffer the same fate as the Burdick collection: hidden inside an institution that does not understand it and does not allow the proper use of it. Hopefully that will not be the case. At least it sounds like the initial curator is interested and understands it. <br><br>Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc

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09-09-2008, 08:26 AM
Posted By: <b>Alan</b><p>Thanks writehooks !!!<br /><br />I had corresponded with Mr. Kaplan about 10 years ago when I was first starting learning about Jewish boxers. He invited me down to his home, but I never got a chance to get down there. <img src="/images/sad.gif" height=14 width=14><br /><br />Alan

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09-09-2008, 08:57 AM
Posted By: <b>D. Bergin</b><p>Adam, At least it will have a better chance of being seen where it's going then it will ever have going to the Boxing Hall of Fame. I just heard from somebody that the last time Hank donated something to a Hall of Fame type display it was to the Jeffries barn. Needless to say, that donation was sold off by the proprieters a short time later. Hank thought long and hard about where his stuff was going this time. Hopefully it's in good hands and researchers will have the same kind of access Hank gave them when it was at his house.<br /><br />I was lucky enough to shake Hank's hand and congratulate him when he was inducted in the HOF a couple years ago. He seemed almost embarrassed at receiving the honor of being inducted because he respected the boxers so much. Everybody who knew the guy absolutely loved him.<br /><br />

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09-09-2008, 10:32 PM
Posted By: <b>Murray G</b><p>I had the honor of corresponding with Hank for several years, and we finally met in person at the Hall of Fame a few years ago. Back in the early 1980s he promoted a couple of pro shows here in Alberta, and he always let me know when he acquired items related to Canadian fighters that I might want to add to my collection. He was particularly diligent in tracking down hard-to-find programs, posters and handbills from fights involving our mutual friend, George Chuvalo. Just weeks before he passed away, Hank called to tell me to expect "something special." A few days later, I received a package via courier, containing beautiful on-site posters of Chuvalo's fights with Tony Alongi and Willi Besmanoff in Miami in the early '60s. When I called to thank him, Hank quickly changed the subject to something else (as was his way), and concluded by telling me he was feeling "almost 100%." That was the last time I spoke to my friend.

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10-09-2008, 03:24 PM
Posted By: <b>Dan N.</b><p>Hank was the most accomplished boxing historian in modern history in my eyes. He was always there to assist any retired fighter he could and become friends with anyone interested in the sport. Many thought his archives & collection's legacy would end up in Canastota’s IBHOF. I can say from having many private conversations with him over the years that, deep down, Hank had wished it possible. But over all these years and since 1990 the IBHOF's site expansions and security had grown at a snail's pace and they neither had the space, place or could provide the security insurance that Hank and his massive stuff would have required. In fact, if these had been in place 10 years ago around 1998, Hank mentioned then that he would have started moving the archives and collectibles he already fully catalogued to Canastota to give him more room in Miami to finish the rest. <br /><br /><br />I met Hank in 1991 during my first trip to the HOF and their 2nd inductions. Arriving the Wednesday a day before events started, I went into Graziano’s Lounge. The crowd was small and tables had been placed end-to-end in the middle of the room where the likes of Beau Jack, Kid Gavilian, Ike Williams, and others were engrossed in conversations. I heared another fan comment, “… and there’s Hank Kaplan behind us.” He was alone, smoking a pipe and smiling as he watched his old friends, Jack and Gavilan, enjoy themselves. I'd seen his picture in Boxing Digest magazine as its editor and always wanted to meet him so I went over and asked, “Excuse me, but are you Hank Kaplan?” <br /><br />He answered, “Yes, I am.” And I started about what an honor it was to meet him; I’d read Boxing Digest since it was just a newspaper; congratulations on turning it into a newsstand magazine for everybody; loved his editorials, BD's layout and I’d saved every one of them since it was a newspaper. <br /><br />Hank asked, “You subscribed when it was a newspaper? It’s because of guys like you that allowed it to become a magazine.” I added, “This is my first trip to Canastota. I would have made it last year for the first one but ... and no way was I going to miss this year. I told him that, regardless of which great fighters I may get to meet up there, I considered meeting him as much a personal honor as any of them. Hank smiled and said, “You come ask for me at the lodge early tomorrow morning. I’ve got some stuff to show you. Then I’m going to take you with me this weekend as my guest.” The next early morning he took me to his room and showed me all the memorabilia he brought and talked about each piece. We talked and got to know one another better and the rest of that entire weekend Hank took me with him to everywhere, both public or privately, introducing me to all the visiting fighters as one of his good friend. <br /><br />Because Hank made that first year an unforgettable experience, I made it back the next 12-straight Inductions before ever missing one. Each of those years, either I got there early and looked Hank up or he looked for me at Graziano’s Lounge or the Collectors Show and our friendship grew. Back home in Rhode Island, I ran a design studio and I began doing many custom displays for Hank's collectibles, always with sincere appreciation for what he’d done for me during my first trip to Canastota. <br /><br />I remember one particular year being invited to his room and “warned” by him that the HOF had invited “too many guests with all their family” this time, and it was the first year Hank “was stuck sharing his room with a roommate.” He said he “wasn’t keen about it, but what can you do? The guy can be a pain in the neck and he talks too much. So, we get in there and if he starts bothering us, just ignore him.” Hank opened his door looking at me with a glint in his eye and said, “Dan, I want you to meet Archie Moore.” Later I came to realize how special that meeting was: Archie’s last visit to the IBHOF before he died. And I owed it to Hank Kaplan. <br /><br />Hank never did sleep much when he was in Canastota. Instead he enjoyed taking long walks late into the night after everything in town had closed down. Sometimes he invited me to walk with him and just talk. During a walk back in 1998, he spoke of his life by then being mainly devoted to cataloguing his archives and organizing his collection, how he often worried over where they ought to be moved to because he needed more space to make the job easier. He said it was sad that the HOF didn’t have the room or security yet to handle his volume of his stuff, or he’d have moved it there already. He “didn’t want to move it anywhere else that might end up being in competition with the HOF,” so he’d “leave it where it is, continue working on the archives, and cross that bridge when the time comes.” But he always hoped it’d find a home in Canastota. <br /><br />However, when that time did come 10-years later with Hank’s passing, the IBHOF’s facilities unfortunately still lacked the necessary requirements to handle his legacy.<br /><br />At this year’s 2008 Inductions, I spoke briefly with IBHOF Director Ed Brophy about Hank’s Archives and Collection being gifted to Brooklyn College. I relayed what Hank’s wish had previous been and asked if there was any hope the HOF could someday become their home providing a drive got started to raise the funds for a new building to securely house it all. Ed said the HOF had talked with Hank’s daughter to convey their condolences upon Hank’s passing and were informed of where Hank and his family, near to the end, had decided to will the gift; that the IBHOF understood and was fine with their decision; that they were simply thankful that Hank had always been such an important part of the IBHOF and everything he’d done for it in the past. <br /><br />Why and how Hank's final decision was ultimately made is better revealed within the NY Times’ article that's posted. <br />I thank the poster for sharing it with everybody. I hope what I've shared shows just what kind of a great guy Hank really was.<br />

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10-09-2008, 05:38 PM
Posted By: <b>boxingcardman</b><p>Appreciate your sharing it. Boxing folks are by far the nicest, most down-to-earth people I've met in the sports field.as your story illustrates. I hope I can get to the IBHOF one of these induction weekends. <br /><br />Off-topic, I believe I will be sharing a table at the World Boxing HOF show in November in Los Angeles, where I will be selling the guide, promoting my site (www.americasgreatboxingcards.com) and hopefully meeting Lennox Lewis, who is being inducted this year. It is at the LAX Marriott, for anyone interested, on November 15th. <br><br>Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc