Search Results for: wrestling

Man’s Oldest Sport

Andy Lausier, Davidson’s 12th head coach for wrestling and very recent arrival to the Davidson Athletic Department, demonstrated why wrestling is considered man’s oldest sport. There are Etruscan tombs and Greek vases documenting early matches, and the sport is described in the Bible as well. Many U.S. Presidents have also been wrestlers: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and even Calvin Coolidge.

At Davidson, the sport of wrestling began in 1920 and the photograph below is the earliest we have located in the College Archives.

Wrestling team in 1923 Quips and Cranks

Wrestling team in 1923 Quips and Cranks


As with any athletic endeavor, there is equipment required and this 1932 Cash ledger shows exactly how much was paid for wrestling equipment.

1932 Cash Ledger, last line shows wrestling

1932 Cash Ledger, last line shows wrestling

Coach Lausier also commented that wrestling is a sport known for its diversity. This has certainly been true at Davidson. In 1927, Davidson’s first Jewish student, Isadore Doduck, was a member of the freshman wrestling and tennis teams. Jimmy Jung “from Kannapolis by way of Canton, China” captained the Davidson wrestling team in 1949.
(Previous “Around the D” entries).

During its nearly one hundred year existence at Davidson, there have also been familial connections among the athletes. The captain of the Wrestling team in 1923 (shown above) was A.D. Cromartie and forty-three years later, a member of the 1966 Wrestling team (shown below), was Dean Cromartie.

1966 Wrestling Team

1966 Wrestling Team

As we approach the centennial of wrestling at Davidson, look for announcements and events on campus and more unique finds from the College Archives!

Summer Discovery

Decades ago, Fred Hengeveld, registrar from 1921 to 1967, created a wonderful compilation of college statistics from 1837 to 1960.  Well before computer databases, his work involved pulling information from dozens of sources and creating tables on a typewriter. The result was a 115 page book that covered everything from the number of applicants, classroom use and size of classes, annual fees, and faculty statistics to details about students -including intended vocations, number attending medical and graduate schools, geographic origins and church affiliations.

Portion of the pages on student religious affiliation.

Portion of the pages on student religious affiliation.

The chart on page 40, part of the church affiliation data, has long been of interest as it marks the first known Jewish student at Davidson.  Or at least the years the first student attended Davidson. The trick was finding the name. The question has come up a few times but until this summer, the archives staff had not searched the last best place to look — transcript files.

While it no doubt made Hengeveld’s work easier, the fact that all the classes between the 1920s and 1960s were all in one big alphabetical order made our work harder – going by hand through all the files.  In the end, seven names turned up.

Transcript form showing church affiliation for Isadore Doduck - Davidson's first Jewish student

Transcript form showing church affiliation for Isadore Doduck – Davidson’s first Jewish student

The first alphabetically was Isadore Frederick Doduck. He attended Davidson for one year, 1927-1928 and was selected for both the freshman wrestling and tennis teams.

The only yearbook photograph of Doduck is in this uncaptioned freshman wrestling team picture.

The only yearbook photograph of Doduck is in this uncaptioned team picture.

He transferred to Chapel Hill and later owned and managed his own printing company.  Oddly enough, he isn’t included in Hengeveld’s list – there is no Jewish student listed for 1927. Although his 1927 transcript lists Jewish, in 1963 he listed his church as Episcopal (non-member) on an alumni form.  It’s not clear if Hengeveld revised his statistics or missed Doduck in his initial counting, leaving the table showing “0” in 1927.

Doduck quote on an alumni form, saying "After 67 years of a rather wild and wooly, and sometimes erratic world, I still never have lost my idealism.

Doduck shared a quote in another alumni form, saying “After 67 years of a rather wild and wooly, and sometimes erratic world, I still never have lost my idealism.

David Solomon, Jr. is the student marked by the “1” in 1932 and 1933.

Transcript form for David Solomon, class of 1936

Transcript form for David Solomon, class of 1936

He was only 16 when he entered Davidson.  He appears in the college yearbook  as a sophomore who did not have a photograph included and does not appear to have joined any clubs or sports teams during his 2 years here.

List from 1933-34 Quips and Cranks of the Sophmores (Without pictures) - showing Solomon as a student

List from 1933-34 Quips and Cranks -showing Solomon as a student but without a photo.

Unlike Doduck who remained in contact with Davidson after transferring, Solomon faded from our records after 1934. The only further information come from requests to send his transcript to Harvard’s Law school in 1936 and the Air Corps in 1942.

The other names we found were:

Jules Kimmett, entered in the fall of 1940 as a special student, attended for 1 year

Harold Goldberg, entered in the fall of 1941 and attended only one semester

Harold Herman Frank,  entered in the fall of 1943 and joined the navy in 1944

Herbert A. Kassner, entered in the fall of 1943, appears to have joined the military in 1944

Kurt Weill, entered in the fall of 1943 at age 14, enlisted and served in WWII, transferred to Chapel Hill

The first known Jewish student to attend and graduate from Davidson is Julien Weinberg, class of 1954. He served in the army after graduation, then attended law school.  He practiced law in Manning, SC where he also served as mayor and on the city council.

Julien Weinberg's freshman photograph.

Julien Weinberg’s freshman photograph.

Sixty years after Weinberg’s graduation, the statistics have changed considerably.  It’s been good to be able to have time this summer to uncover a the beginnings of this piece of Davidson history

Reflections on 50+ Years of Integration

Davidsonian headline February 17, 1961, "Trustees Open College To Congolese Students"

Davidsonian headline February 17, 1961

One part of this year’s Homecoming activities focuses on the 50th anniversary of the enrollment of Benoit Nzengu, the first Congolese student to attend Davidson.  There had been other international students before, what made Ben remarkable is that he entered the college as a Negro, the first after the college trustees voted to end segregation policies.

Davidsonian article featuring Ben Nzengu - September 15, 1962

Davidsonian article featuring Ben Nzengu – September 15, 1962

The first black students at Davidson were from the Congo, Ben Nzengu arriving in the fall of 1962 and Georges Nzolgola-Ntalaja in the fall of 1963.  Two African-American students arrived in the fall of 1964, Leslie Brown and Wayne Crumwell.  Slowly over the next decade the numbers of African-American students increased and the Black Student Coalition was formed in 1972.

Yearbook photos with Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja as first year student

Yearbook photos with Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja as first year student

Looking now at the college, at student organizations such as the ACAA (Asian Culture and Awareness Committee), OLAS (Organization of Latin Students), MAPS (Minority Association of Premedical Students), BAD (Balkan Association of Davidson), Curry Club, and Muslim Student Association diversity has a much different meaning than it had in 1962.

Future generations of Davidson students may wonder that so much attention was placed on the question of black students when in the same fall of 1962, the college accepted students from Korea (Byoung Lee), Chile (Erwin Jorge Landsberger), and Japan (Nobutoku Tatsuta–who not necessarily the first students from their countries to attend Davidson–without requiring a trustee decision.

It’s all a part of the complex history of race relations and our ongoing awareness of our multicultural society. David Yonan could come to Davidson from Oraamiah, Persia in 1896 or Paul Chih Meng from Peking, China in 1921 with little notice and Jimmy Jung from Kannapolis by way of Canton, China could captain the wrestling team in 1949.

The archives staff welcomes additions to our records on college diversity.  For instance, we are not sure who the first Asian-American or Hispanic-American student at Davidson were.  We know very little about our Native American alumni.  If you have memories,  stories, photographs to share, send them along.  You can comment here or check out our new Community Space (more on this later in the week).

With thanks to everyone who has shaped the Davidson community and especially, the pioneers who brought different experiences, may this be a special Homecoming!

David Yonan, class of 1900

David Yonan, class of 1900

Paul Chih Meng, class of 1921

Paul Chih Meng, class of 1921

1949 Yearbook page for Wresting featuring Jimmy Jung

1949 Yearbook page for Wresting featuring Jimmy Jung

The PE Pyramid

Students making a pyramid, some doing handstands on the ground, a bar, and others being held up by each other

Students pyramid, c1910

What do you remember about your college Physical Education classes?  For the less-coordinated of us, team sports may bring back more cringes than smiles – but whatever the reaction, Davidson students have had PE memories since 1908, when the first professorship for PE was established.  It was filled by the college physician and chemistry professor John Wilson McConnell, although the actual classes were taught by assistants.

The classes got a boost with a donation given to build tennis courts and an outdoor gymnasium.  By 1929, the program had grown sufficiently that students were required to take 4 years of PE. Happily for freshman and sophomores, ROTC work counted as Physical Education, so they could get 2 requirements covered at the same time.

In 1940, the PE department separated from the college physician and health services to become a full part of the Athletic Department. The 1952 catalog describes the college’s approach to Physical Education:

Physical education at Davidson is an integral part of the student’s training. So planned as to include all members of the student body, the program is organized in the form of a pyramid. At the base is the broad required program under which all students must participate in some sort of physical exercise three hours per week.  At the next higher level of the pyramid is the voluntary intramural league for average students of average skills. At the apex is intercollegiate competition for students of superior skills.

The catalog goes on to explain that for the “base” level program, students are shifted each quarter through a series activities that included: team games of flickerball, volleyball, basketball, softball, speedball, field hockey, and individual activities such as tennis, golf, swimming, squash, handball, horseshoes, gymnastics, tumbling, table tennis, and archery.

students with bicycles

Outclub ready for a bicycle adventure

The 4 year requirement lasted until 1956, when it moved to a two year program required of all freshman and sophomores–and no credit for ROTC. Instead students had classes 3 times a week. Freshman faced two team sports and two individual sports plus swimming. Fall semester brought soccer and wrestling; spring semester offered basketball, gymnastics and tumbling. Sophomores could go try out golf, tennis, volleyball, handball, squash, or softball.  By the late-1960s, the once a week swimming session had been removed for those who could pass a swimming test and new classes of fencing, canoeing , sailing, and water-skiing were added (thanks of the addition of the lake campus).

In the early 1970s, attendance at PE classes became voluntary. Instead of passing a class, students had to demonstrate proficiency in one team and 4 individual sports.  New sports added included scuba diving, snow skiing, and bowling.

Two people on a sail boat and another person in a canoe on the lake

On the water at the Lake Campus

The advent of co-education changed the courses offered as well.  In 1978, students were required to show proficiency in two team and 3 individual sports.  New activities offered (within the limits of Davidson’s staff and facilities on any given semester): senior life saving, water safety instruction, ballet, modern and tap dance, weight training, ice skating, paddle ball,  jogging, karate, back packing, rappelling, marksmanship and cycling. To see what classes student can take now visit the PE page, and click on the link for PE courses (I teach PE 255)

The PE pyramid doesn’t show up in the catalog any more, but the college continues to offer a variety of classes, intramural sports and varsity sports and to encourage students to make personal fitness an integral part of college life.