Archival Adventures in Small Repositories
Football Season at the King of Prussia Historical Society
It's still a few months before football starts, but if you can't wait that long, remember that archival research is always in season! Youth football in King of Prussia "kicked off" in 1956 when the King of Prussia Indians team was formed by Mary and Dave Vannicelli. Still going strong nearly 60 years later, the story of the sports organization, now known as the Upper Merion Viking Youth Football Association, is told in the Mary and Dave Vannicelli collection on the King of Prussia Football Association. The collection can be found at the King of Prussia Historical Society in Montgomery County, Pa.
The main objective of the King of Prussia Football Association, as stated in its constitution, was "to implant firmly in the boys and girls of our community the principles of good character development; i.e. courage, responsibility, sportsmanship, fair play, leadership, and respect for rules and regulations, as well as to foster high achievement in scholastic activities." Initial practices were conducted in a cow pasture, although over time the group became much more organized, with improved facilities, championship wins, and some participants going on to illustrious college and even professional football careers.
Impressive, right? Not that I would recommend stealing plays, of course, but if you want to repeat the Indians' success you might find some "inspiration" in this playbook.
A play from the King of Prussia Indians' playbook
Of course, the main purpose of the King of Prussia Football Association was not to win games, it was to foster character development in the boys and girls who participated. To learn about the association and its mission, you might be more interested in the various administrative and financial records that form part of the collection, such as board minutes and by-laws, as well as publicity materials and issues of the Football Association's newsletter. The collection also includes game programs, photographs, and team yearbooks. The information you need to "score a touchdown" in your research could be waiting for you at the King of Prussia Historical Society!
About the Author
Unless otherwise noted, all images in this blog post are property of the organization profiled, not the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. To reproduce any image or obtain a higher quality version, please contact the organization directly.