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Ralph Metcalfe beating Jesse Owens

July 2008--Prior to Alumni Weekend and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, The Libraries are pleased to launch its most recent digital collection, Ralph Metcalfe: The Olympic Years, 1932-1936.  Once dubbed, "The World's Fastest Human," Ralph Metcalfe was an Olympic medalist and one of the first inductees in the Marquette University Athletics Hall of Fame.

With over 70 images, including newspaper clippings, photographs, and yearbook articles, this digital collection documents Ralph Metcalfe's successful track and field career, in which he equaled or bettered 13 world records.  Metcalfe won several NCAA sprinting events and earned medals in both the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.  He was elected president of his senior class at Marquette, and graduated cum laude in 1936. Metcalfe later settled in Chicago, where he began a long political career, eventually serving the 1st District of Illinois in the United States House of Representatives until his death in 1978 at age sixty-eight.  During his four consecutive terms in Congress, Metcalfe was co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and introduced the Congressional resolution that officially established Black History Month.  Marquette University honors Metcalfe with the Ralph H. Metcalfe, Sr. Chair, established in 1981, bringing to campus scholars of historically underrepresented cultural groups in the American professorate.

Students enrolled in "History 191: Technology for Historians," worked on this digital initiative, preparing the high resolution scans, conducting background research, and preparing the preliminary catalog records.  Most of the images are part of the Peter F. Murphy, Jr. Photographic Collection, preserved in the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at the Raynor Memorial Libraries.  The project was also made possible through the generous financial support of Marquette University's "M Club," an alumni group composed of former student athletes awarded varsity letters.  Archivists plan to expand this digital collection in the future, adding materials about other individuals and teams in the Marquette Hall of Fame.  It is the latest of ten Marquette University digital collections.

Users of the digital collection, built with CONTENTdm software, may search by keyword, browse all images, and conduct advanced keyword searches in selected fields.  Please contact an archivist for information about copyright.

Questions about this collection may be directed to Michelle Sweetser, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, (414) 288-5905.

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