A special collection of Drake Athletics history is moving into the University Archives in Cowles Library. The Paul F. Morrison Collection showcases decades of Bulldog achievement and spirit.
Paul “Mr. Drake” Morrison says we make history every day but do a poor job recording it. That conviction, combined with his lifelong love affair with Drake, was the genesis of what grew to be a substantial collection housed in the Fieldhouse.
For years, Morrison has quietly amassed and maintained pieces of Drake Athletics history—newspaper clippings, photos, yearbooks, footage of games, and physical artifacts. He saw each as a memory of a successful Drake Bulldog. Even as items piled up in an old racquetball court, Morrison the historian continued his work, coming to his Bell Center office to compile news clippings and keep records.
Morrison kept a folder for every single letter winner that crossed his path, and a folder and scrapbook for each team’s season. Some items pre-date him, including a trophy from the 1900 track and field team and a program from a 1900 football game.
It is not uncommon for a university athletics department to keep such a collection, but many fall short of completeness due to time or space constraints. What makes Morrison’s effort unique is that he single-handedly maintained the collection for decades—his steady leadership guiding it the entire way.
Saturday, July 22
4 – 7 PM
Shiver’s Basketball Practice Facility, Courtside Club Join Morrison for his 100th Birthday Bash! Stop by at any time to enjoy cake and congratulate Mr. Drake on this milestone. In lieu of gifts, Morrison asks that you instead consider making a donation to the Paul Morrison Excellence Fund.
In celebration of Morrison’s 100 birthday on July 25, Archives and Athletics staff are moving hundreds—HUNDREDS—of boxes into Cowles Library. The new Paul F. Morrison Collection, made possible in part by the Paul Morrison Excellence Fund will preserve artifacts in a climate-controlled environment and greatly expand access.
“We’ve already started to get reference requests from people who want to know more about their family members who once played here,” says Political Papers Archivist and Assistant Professor of Librarianship Hope Bibens, who is working with staff to secure grants to digitize old film, some dating back to the 1950s.
Students have also been involved in the project—and amazed by Morrison’s treasures.
“You could really tell he was dedicated to his work,” says alumnus Sean Summerfelt, AS’17, who worked on the archives last spring. As a history major, Summerfelt found it fascinating to see the transformation of the materials throughout the years.
SAVE THE DATE: Plan to attend an open house in the Archives on Friday, July 21, 2–4 p.m. in Cowles Library archives. Root beer floats, Morrison’s favorite, will be served.