Jim Thorpe, Native American Athlete: Topics in Chronicling America
Jim Thorpe was a Native American multi-sport athlete in track and field, baseball, football, and even basketball. This guide provides access to material related to "Jim Thorpe" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.
Chronicling America is a searchable digital collection of historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Included in the website is the Directory of US Newspapers in American Libraries, a searchable index to newspapers published in the United States since 1690, which helps researchers identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them.
Considered the best all-around athlete of modern times, Native American James "Jim" Thorpe won gold medals in both the pentathlon and the decathlon in the 1912 Stockholm Summer Olympics. Scandal struck in late January 1913 when he was stripped of his titles by the Amateur Athletic Union after admitting he had played professional baseball prior to the Games. Within days of the judgement, however, Thorpe had signed on with the New York Giants and went on to play years of professional baseball, football, and basketball. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
Thorpe wins gold metal in the pentathlon and the decathlon at the Stockholm Olympics.
January 27, 1913
Thorpe surrenders his trophies amidst scandal.
January 31, 1913
Thorpe is courted by at least five baseball clubs, but decides to sign a contract with the New York Giants, with whom he plays for three seasons.
Despite the loss of his Olympic honors, sports writers continue to support Thorpe, reporting on his time with the Giants, his professional football appearances and his exploits on the world tour baseball circuit.
Thorpe is released from a Portland club in the Pacific Coast baseball league, ending his professional baseball career.