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Ira Berkow Papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-900

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the work of Ira Berkow. This collection contains correspondence and photographs of Ira Berkow documenting his relationship with leaders in sports, politics, religion, and the arts. The collection also contains selected articles and appearances on television and radio made during his career.

Dates

  • undated, 1956-2014

Creator

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at mmeyers@ajhs.org.

For reference questions, please email: inquiries@cjh.org

Biographical Note

Ira Berkow, an American sportswriter. Berkow was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 7, 1940 and attended Roger C. Sullivan High School in the Rogers Park section of Chicago, where he graduated from in 1957. His college career began at Miami University (BA, 1963) and ended at Northwestern University (MSJ, 1965). His first post as a sportswriter was with the Minneapolis Tribune (1965-1967). He then moved on to the syndicated news service Newspaper Enterprise Association where he worked as a columnist and writer from 1967-1976. In 1981, he started as a sports feature writer and columnist for the New York Times. He remained at the New York Times until his retirement in 2007. Since retiring, he has continued writing books and documentary films about sports.

The book Rockin' Steady: A Guide to Basketball and Cool, which he wrote with Wilt Frazier, was named by the American Library Association as one of the Best Books for Young Adults in the last 75 years. His 1987 book, The Man Who Robbed the Pierre: The Story of Bobby Comfort, was awarded the Edgar Award for Best True Crime Book of the Year. In 2001 he won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for his article, "The Minority Quarterback" in a New York Times series titled, "How Race Is Lived in America." Other accomplishments include being the only sportswriter featured for five decades (since 1969) in the highly regarded publication, Best American Sports Writing; and was featured in David Halberstam's 1999 edition of The Best American Sports Writing of the Century. Additionally many of his other works have been distinguished with awards. In 2005, Berkow was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. In 2009, the Roosevelt University in Chicago honored him with an Honorary Doctorate.

Although primarily a columnist, Berkow authored and coauthored numerous books. Here is a list of his works:

Published Works

  1. Oscar Robertson: The Golden Years. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall (1971)
  2. with Wilt Frazier, Rockin' Steady: A Guide to Basketball and Cool. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall (1974)
  3. Beyond the Dream: Occasional Heroes of Sports. New York: Atheneum (1975)
  4. Maxwell Street: Survival in a Bazaar. Garden City, NY: Doubleday (1977)
  5. The DuSable Panthers: The Greatest, Blackest, Saddest Team from the Meanest Street in Chicago. New York: Atheneum (1978)
  6. with Rod Carew, Carew. New York: Simon and Schuster (1979)
  7. Red: A Biography of Red Smith. New York: Times Books (1986)
  8. The Man Who Robbed the Pierre: The Story of Bobby Comfort. New York: Atheneum (1987)
  9. Pitchers Do Get Lonely, and Other Sports Stories. New York: Atheneum (1988)
  10. with Hank Greenberg, Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life. New York: Times Books (1989)
  11. with Jackie Mason, How to Talk Jewish. New York: St. Martin's Press (1990)
  12. with Jim Kaplan, The Gospel According to Casey: Casey Stengel's Inimitable, Instructional, Historical Baseball Book. New York: St. Martin's Press (1992)
  13. To The Hoop: Seasons of a Basketball Life. New York: BasicBooks (1997)
  14. Court vision: Unexpected Views on the Lure of Basketball. New York: Morrow (2000)
  15. The Minority Quarterback, and Other Lives in Sports. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee (2002)
  16. Full Swing: Hits, Runs, and Errors in a Writer's Life. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee (2006)
  17. Summers in the Bronx: Attila the Hun and Other Yankee Stories. Chicago: Triumph Books (2009)
  18. The Corporal was a Pitcher: The Courage of Lou Brissie. Chicago: Triumph Books (2009)

References

  1. International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. "Ira Berkow." Accessed on August 17, 2010. http://www.jewishsports.net/BioPages/IraBerkow.html
  2. Encyclopedia Judaica. Volume 3, 2nd Edition. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2007.
  3. Berkow, Ira. Maxwell Street: Survival in a Bazaar. Garden City, NY: DoubleDay, 1977.

Extent

1.7 Linear Feet (2 manuscript boxes and 1 SB1 box)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

This collection documents the work of Ira Berkow, an American sportswriter. Berkow was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 7, 1940 and attended Roger C. Sullivan High School in the Rogers Park section of Chicago, where he graduated from in 1957. His college career began at Miami University (BA, 1963) and ended at Northwestern University (MSJ, 1965). His first post as a sportswriter was with the Minneapolis Tribune (1965-1967). He then moved on to the syndicated news service Newspaper Enterprise Association where he worked as a columnist and writer from 1967-1976. In 1981, he started as a sports feature writer and columnist for the New York Times. He remained at the NY Times until his retirement in 2007. This collection contains correspondence and photographs of Ira Berkow and documents his relationship with leaders in sports, politics, religion, and the arts. The collection also contains selected articles and appearances on television and radio made during his career.

Arrangement

This collection is divided into four series determined by document type. Series I: Correspondence, is arranged in alphabetical order by the last name of the correspondent. Content in Series II: Writings has been arranged in alphabetical order by folder title. Series III: Photographs, consists of a single folder. The items in the folder have been arranged by size. Series IV: Audio-Visual Material, has been arranged according to media type.

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Related Material

Several of the works of Ira Berkow can be found in the holdings of the American Jewish Historical Society at the Center for Jewish History.

The Special Collections Department of the Library of the University of Illinois at Chicago maintains an Ira Berkow Collection pertaining to his research on the Maxwell Street Market in Chicago.

Creator

Title
Guide to the Ira Berkow Papers, undated, 1956-2014   *P-900
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Michael D. Montalbano and Marvin Rusinek
Date
© 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
Processed as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation

Revision Statements

  • 2015-11-25: Updated with AVC box number for audiovisual materials. KS
  • November 2020: RJohnstone: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States