Stark Center

From Stark Center:

The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports (“Stark Center”) houses the largest archives of physical culture in the U.S. Attached to the University of Texas, it is also one of two official USOC-Olympic libraries. The Stark Center is a library, archive, and a museum, all dedicated to the study and preservation of the world of physical culture. The Stark Center opened in 2009, providing access to an extensive collection of materials on weight training, bodybuilding, athletic conditioning, alternative medicine, and other forms of self-improvement. The collection, considered the largest of its kind, includes thousands of books and magazines, an extensive photograph collection, correspondence files, posters, videotapes, films, and artifacts. While the Stark Center’s collection is rooted in the study of physical culture, it contains more than 4000 books about competitive sports, thousands of rare photographs of athletes, and several hundred magazine titles about sports, including full runs of such magazines as Sports Illustrated. The Center’s directors, Drs. Jan and Terry Todd, both former powerlifting athletes and now Professors at the UT, are committed to preserving the history of physical culture.

The center was founded by UT faculty members Terry and Jan Todd who began collecting materials about physical culture and sports well before their arrival at The University of Texas in 1983. Their collection, known as the Todd-McLean Collection, while housed at UT for many years, was open to researchers only on a limited basis because of their lack of space and staff support. A desire to see this major research collection housed in more suitable quarters, and to utilize the resources of the collection for museum exhibits about the history and benefits of exercise and sports, resulted in a search for funding to build a world-class facility dedicated to scholarship in the fields of physical culture and sports. Major gifts from the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, and Joe and Betty Weider, have covered the costs of the Stark Center construction and allowed us to open the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center. Additional funding is currently being sought to further the Center’s joint mission of preservation and education.

For many decades, traditional libraries purchased very few journals and books published in the field of physical culture and alternative health care. Furthermore, few private individuals involved in these fields deposited their books, personal papers, and photography collections in public libraries. By establishing their collection at The University of Texas in 1983, Terry and Jan Todd hoped to: 1) create a permanent home at a major research institution for these culturally significant documents and, 2) find the means to make these documents available for research. The opening of the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports is the fulfillment of their long-held dream. Further, by establishing—with the support of Professor Roy McLean—the Todd-McLean Physical Culture Collection, they hoped to encourage academic scholarship in such fields as the history of physical fitness, weightlifting, bodybuilding, naturopathy, athletic training, and alternative medicine.


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