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Collection of Augustana College Athletics and Physical Education records

Identifier: MSS 217

Scope and Contents

The collection of Augustana College Athletics and Physical Education records, 1894-2024 and undated, includes meeting minutes and record books from several early athletic clubs, departmental records, sports schedules and brochures, athletic uniforms, and sketches of the Tribe of Vikings Hall of Fame inductees. It is arranged into two series: Department of Physical Education and Athletics.

The Department of Physical Education (1899-1933) series contains two subseries: Department Records (1949-1965) and Publications (1936-1983). The Department Records subseries contains the Physical Education Club Charter (1949) and Department objectives (1965). The Publications subseries contains a Physical Education pamphlet from 1936, a Women's P. E. Majors and Minors newsletter from 1963, and P. E. major/minor pamphlets (1977-1983).

The Athletics (1894-2017) series contains eleven subseries: Augustana Athletic Association (1899-1927 and undated), Board of Control of Athletics (1902-1974), Club and Intramural Sports (1906-1968 and undated), Protests and Scandals (1906, 1958), Women's Athletics (1924-1936 and undated), Athletic Faculty (1966-1981), Publications (1894-2015 and undated), Athletic Events (1923-2009), Athletic Uniforms (1920-1938 and undated), Tribe of Vikings (1927-2024), and Audiovisual Materials (1975-1983 and undated).


  • Creation: 1894-2024 and undated


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection. Audiovisual materials may be inaccessible pending reformatting. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

Athletics and physical education at Augustana College date back to 1873, when the college was still located in Paxton, Illinois. T.N. Hasselquist, a faculty member, noted in a letter that students lacked exercise. It was not until the college moved to Rock Island, however, that formal athletic teams and organizations were formed.

The Augustana College Athletic Association was organized in 1899. Its stated purpose was to facilitate “the promotion of all healthful exercises at the institution.” In its first year the club had 100 active members, including both students and faculty members. The Association oversaw all of the college’s sports clubs and teams, including basketball, gymnastics, baseball, football, and the bicycle club. Its early goals were to hire an athletic director, to buy equipment for the gymnasium, and to raise money for a swimming pool.

Though there was no formal department, physical education classes were first offered in 1894. In 1897, the Ladies Physical Culture Class was established to offer female students a chance to exercise. By 1900 the college had drawn up rules and regulations for athletic clubs and teams. Managers or captains of teams had to get approval from the specially formed Faculty Committee of Athletics in order to compete against other colleges. The committee also scheduled the use of the gymnasium for practices and games. Teams were only allowed to compete against other colleges, and any student reported as delinquent in their studies could not participate in any athletic group. The Board of Control of Athletics was established in 1901. It was responsible for overseeing the intercollegiate sports teams, scheduling games and matches, and judging the eligibility of the athletes. The first complete football season was in 1902, and the first track and field meet was in 1903.

In June 1905 the Augustana Synod placed a ban on college baseball, basketball, and football, due to the injuries the sports caused and the “immoral behavior” they encouraged. Students at Augustana responded negatively, especially regarding basketball. In 1906, 157 students signed a petition to reinstate intercollegiate basketball, but were refused by the Board of Directors. On 23 October 1906, over 100 members of the student body staged a violent demonstration in favor of basketball. The crowd marched to the houses of four professors, chanting and shouting insults. A portion of the crowd broke off and followed two Board members to the Rock Island train station, where they were boarding a train to Omaha. Students entered the coach and shouted at the men for several minutes. Some of the students assaulted the Board members by hitting them with drum sticks, pulling on their coat tails, and pinching them. The college punished all members of the demonstration severely, and at least 72 students were suspended for one week. The student body continued to send annual petitions to the Synodical Council until basketball and baseball were reinstated in 1910. Football was reinstated by the Board of Directors in 1917. As a result of the ban, students formed other clubs, including the Olympic Gymnastic Club, the Tennis Association, and the Terfing Fencing Club.

The Tribe of Vikings was formed in 1927. It was originally a student group that functioned to recognize men who had earned their letters in a varsity sport. Eventually, the group evolved into an alumni association and began inducting athletes into the Hall of Fame.

The Department of Physical Education was established in 1912, under the name Department of Physical Training. It was listed in the college catalog as a student organization and was mainly responsible for fulfilling the students’ athletic requirement. Students had to complete two hours of exercise a week under the supervision of an instructor. In 1930 the department was first listed with the academic departments. The Physical Education major and minor first became available in 1947, listed in the Social Studies category. The major was expanded in the 1970s and 80s to include specializations in coaching, teaching, and sports and fitness management. 2000 was the last year Physical Education was offered as a major at Augustana. Since then, the department has mainly offered activity courses, which count towards the student athletic requirement.

The college was a member of the “Little 19” conference until 1937, when it and nine others withdrew to form the College Conference of Illinois (and later, Wisconsin). Conference sports included football, basketball, wrestling, swimming, baseball, track and field, tennis, and golf. At the time, there were no intercollegiate sports available for women, who could only participate in intramural sports. The first intercollegiate varsity sports for women became available in the 1970s, and included swimming, basketball, tennis, and volleyball. A varsity gymnastics team was added in 1974, the same year that the first Women’s Athletic Director was hired. The Roy J. Carver Center for Physical Education was completed in 1971, and was responsible for creating new interest in conference and intramural sports, physical education, and general recreation. Also during this time, the college became a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Division III. Conference sports expanded, and by 2010 the college offered eleven women’s varsity and twelve men’s varsity teams.


13.4 Cubic Feet (/ 30 boxes, 1 AV box, and 2 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection of Augustana College Athletics and Physical Education records, 1894-2024 and undated, includes meeting minutes and record books from several early athletic clubs, departmental records, sports schedules and brochures, athletic uniforms, and sketches of the Tribe of Vikings Hall of Fame inductees. It is divided into two series: Department of Physical Education and Athletics.


The collection is arranged chronologically within each series with undated materials at the end of the series. Undated documents are organized alphabetically by title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Tribe of Vikings Hall of Fame sketches, CDs, and other materials are donated to Special Collections each year by Dave Wrath. The remaining records' provenance is unknown. The Tribe of Vikings organizational records (2022 accession) tranferred from Kyle Ekberg.


Special Collections continues to add materials to this collection on a regular basis.

Processing Information

Processed by Helen Reinold, 2011. Updated by Julia G. Westblade, 2012; Rachel Bruce, 2012; Samantha Crisp, October 2014; and Caroline McPherson, February 2015. Revised by Atticus Garrison, February 2016, Emma Lincoln, July 2019, and Micaela Terronez, 2024.

Collection of Augustana College Athletics and Physical Education records, 1894-2024 and undated.
Atticus Garrison
February 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States