Released in 2008, Ralph Metcalfe: The Olympic Years, is a digital initiative completed by students enrolled in History 191 Technology for Historians. One of several courses offered in Marquette University's interdisciplinary public history program, its students prepared a majority of the digital scans featured in the collection. Students also received instruction in CONTENTdm (the Raynor Memorial Libraries digitization platform) and prepared the preliminary catalog records.
The majority of images featured in this digital collection are part of the Peter F. Murphy, Jr. Photograph Collection, preserved in the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at the Raynor Memorial Libraries. During the 1930s Peter Murphy (1905-1993) routinely traveled to major track events in the Upper Midwest, photographing many of the elite track athletes of the era. Perhaps at the request of Marquette's track coach, Conrad M. Jennings, Murphy became Ralph Metcalfe's unofficial photographer during the years 1932-1935, when the Marquette Meteor was dubbed The World's Fastest Human. There is some indication that Murphy may have made several negatives by photographing prints from Ralph Metcalfe's personal collection. In addition, a limited number of photographic prints within this digital collection were made by photographers employed by The Milwaukee Journal and The Milwaukee Sentinel. Please contact an archivist for information about copyright.
Project developers have also included halftone images of Ralph Metcalfe published in The Hilltop, Marquette's student yearbook, and select pages from The Marquette Tribune, the student newspaper.
Many consider the Olympic medalist Marquette's all-time greatest athlete. Indeed, in 1972 Metcalfe was one of four members of the inaugural class of inductees of the Marquette University Hall of Fame. Archivists have created a separate online collection documenting all individuals and teams enshrined in the Marquette Hall of Fame.
Project developers appreciate the contributions made by students from the Spring 2008 History 191 course in preparing this online collection. The Marquette University M Club also provided generous financial support.