The collection documents Louis S. Nixdorff's participation in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. He was a member of the University lacrosse team that represented the United States.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains an oversize scrapbook of newspaper clippings, loose clippings from a Baltimore newspaper Sunday supplements, a diary recorded by Nixdorff, and an album of photographs that Nixdorff took on the Amsterdam visit and several other trips.
The newspaper clippings in an oversize scrapbook follow the fortunes of the Johns Hopkins University lacrosse team, national champions for 1926 and 1927, through its 1928 season, a post-season series, the playoffs to represent the United States at the Olympic Games in the summer of 1928, and the Olympic lacrosse games in Amsterdam. Newspaper clippings years later reminisce about the 1928 lacrosse team at the Olympic games in Amsterdam.
The newspaper clippings recounting various games are seldom identified and most of the articles are not dated. Some are from the Baltimore Post, later taken over by the News and were written by Yale Merrill. Others are from the Sunpapers, morning and evening. Some carry an Associated Press identification. Many of the accounts of the 1928 intercollegiate season prior to the Olympic Games were written by W. Wilson Wingate. Some of the news clippings are incomplete.
The trip of the 268 Olympic athletes to Amsterdam on the S.S. President Roosevelt is described graphically by Louis S. Nixdorff in his diary. The diary transcript included later in this Register has been transcribed exactly as written by the author, regardless of omissions of obvious words or occasional misspellings. The diary entries relating to the voyage clearly depict the boredom of the long voyage for young athletes eager to get to Amsterdam and compete in the Olympics. Training was continued during the trip insofar as it was possible on shipboard. Training and meals represented welcome relief from the monotony of the journey.
The diary is written in a clear hand in a soft-cover, lined notebook. Nixdorff presumably purchased it specifically to put his thoughts and observations down on this exciting and, to him, historic trip. The diary covers the period from the departure of the lacrosse team from the Baltimore and Ohio railroad station in Baltimore for New York on July 10, 1928, to the departure from Cherbourg for home on August 15, 1928. It includes Mr. Nixdorff's accounts of shipboard life, the game against the Canadians that the Americans won and their loss to the English team on the following day. England's subsequent loss to Canada meant that each team had a win and a loss. No team was declared a victor. The diary also covers a one-week stay in Paris, including a trip to the nearby World War I battlefields.
The collection contains snapshots that Nixdorff took on the S.S. President Roosevelt en route to Amsterdam, and images of Olympic events and of sightseeing in and around Amsterdam and Paris. These photographs mounted in an album portray an individual's effort to document his travels in a meaningful way.
Other material in the collection includes copies of three reminiscent articles published in the Baltimore Sun magazine section on April 5, 1951, June 26, 1955, and April 23, 1978; photogravure pictures of a Hopkins University of Virginia game and a Hopkins-University of Maryland game without attribution or date; Mr. Nixdorff's visa for France; Gen. Douglas MacArthur's report on the ninth Olympiad to the president of the United States; the official program for August 5, 1928; the passenger list for the S.S. President Roosevelt's return to New York; a cloth Olympic blazer patch; and two cloth lacrosse numbers.
This collection represents a contribution to both sports history and the history of the Olympics. The collection complements several Archives Center photographic collections, emphasizing international travel and touring by an American between the two World Wars.
The collection is divided into five series.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1926-1987
Series 2: Diary, 1928
Series 3: Photographs, 1928
Series 4: Newspaper clippings/Scrapbook, 1928, 1951, 1955, 1978
Series 5: Programs, Awards, Invitations, 1928
Biographical / Historical:
Louis S. Nixdorff (October 1, 1906-January 23, 1992), a native Baltimorean, spent his life there. He graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in 1924 and from the Johns Hopkins University in 1928 with a degree in business administration. While attending Johns Hopkins he was a member of the University lacrosse team that represented the United States at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. He later became a real estate executive and president of Properties Incorporated in Baltimore. Mr. Nixdorff continued to make real estate appraisals and to manage properties after retirement. He belonged to the Johns Hopkins Club, the Baltimore City Real Estate Brokers Round Table and the Maryland Historical Society. He also was an enthusiastic golfer.
The tremendous interest and excitement generated by lacrosse in Baltimore in 1928 is clear from the press coverage of intercollegiate lacrosse for that year. Stories on important games began at least a day before the event, continued during the day of the game in morning and evening papers and lasted for at least a day afterward.
The process that culminated in the selection of the Johns Hopkins University team to represent the United States in the Olympic games in Amsterdam was a formal one. The lacrosse ladder selected by the Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association to place before the Olympic Committee included ten teams. Of these, six were chosen by the Olympic Lacrosse Committee for national playoffs: the Mount Washington Club, Army, Navy, the University of Maryland, Rutgers and the Johns Hopkins University. In the playoffs the University of Maryland defeated Rutgers 7-2 and Navy 6-2. Hopkins defeated Mt. Washington 6-4 and Army 4-2. In ever-mounting excitement, Hopkins on June 23, 1928, overwhelmed Maryland 6-3. The executive committee of the American Olympics Commission formally ratified this selection of the Johns Hopkins University lacrosse team to represent the United States at the 1928 Olympics. Four members of that team are in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame: C. Gardner Mallonee, John Lang, Tom Biddison, and Bill Logan.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
George W. Sims Collection (AC0127)
Clyde W. Stauffer Photographic Album (AC0139)
Donald Sultner-Welles Collection (AC0145)
An Olympic blazer patch and two lacrosse numbers are in the Division of Community Life. See accession
The collection was donated to the Archives Center by Mrs. Anne Byrd Nixdorff, January 1992.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.