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Guide to the James P. Sullivan Collection AIA.048

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Rebecca Altermatt

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 29, 2017
Description is in English

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Archives of Irish America
Title: James P. Sullivan Collection
Dates [inclusive]: 1905-1908
Abstract: James P. Sullivan was the third of six children born to Irish immigrants Jeremiah Sullivan, a grocer, and his wife Elizabeth Flynn Sullivan. Young J.P., or Jim, was born on February 28, 1885 and spent his early years in Manhattan where he attended P.S. 14 on East 27th Street and joined the track team of the St. Bartholomew Boys Club and, later, of the 22nd Regiment. By that time, six foot tall Jim could run a mile in 4:50. In September 1905 at the New York Metro Senior American Athletic Union Championships, Sullivan ran the mile in 4:22 creating a new American record. After impressive showings at the Canadian Championships and the New York Athletic Club Games that same month, he became known in the press as “4:22 Jim” and by March 1906 had been selected for the American Olympic team. The collection consists of items from the Sullivan family scrapbook. Included are photographs, newspaper clippings, correspondence and membership cards for the Irish-American Athletic Club.
Quantity: 0.25 Linear Feet (1 CD - 56 digital images from scrapbook)
Language: Materials are in English
Call Phrase: AIA.048

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Historical/Biographical Note

James Paul [sometimes listed as Patrick] Sullivan was the third of six surviving children born to Irish immigrants Jeremiah Sullivan, a grocer, and his wife Elizabeth Flynn, who arrived in the United States in 1870 and 1875 respectively. Young J.P., or Jim, was born on February 28, 1885 and spent his early years in Manhattan where he attended P.S. 14 on East 27th Street and joined the track team of the St. Bartholomew Boys Club and, later, of the 22nd Regiment. By that time, six foot tall Jim could run a mile in 4:50. In September 1905 at the New York Metro Senior American Athletic Union Championships, Sullivan ran the mile in 4:22 creating a new American record. After impressive showings at the Canadian Championships and the New York Athletic Club Games that same month, he became known in the press as “4:22 Jim” and by March 1906 had been selected for the American Olympic team.

Athens, Greece was the site for a special international athletic meeting known as the Intercalated Games scheduled between the 1904 and 1908 Olympic years. The American Olympic team sailed from New York City on the S.S. Barbarosa on 31 March 1906 with James P. Sullivan aboard, on leave from his position as a junior clerk with the Department of Education’s Bureau of Buildings.

In Athens, Sullivan competed in the 800 meter race but did not qualify for the final. He also ran in the 1500 meter race, finishing fifth. His second place win at the Olympic Trials in Philadelphia in June 1908 made him one of thirteen members of the Irish American Athletic Club selected to represent the United States at the 1908 Olympic Games in London.

But, once again, Jim Sullivan did not bring home an Olympic medal. Nevertheless, he was part of an historic track-and-field team competing under the American flag – IAAC teammates Martin Sheridan, John J. Hayes, and Mel Sheppard, for example, brought home the gold in discus throw, Greek discus, the marathon, and the 1500 meter respectively – a team that was fêted upon their return to New York with a parade down Fifth Avenue and a reception at Sagamore Hill on Long Island with President Theodore Roosevelt.

Jim Sullivan continued running competitively until 1912, despite surgery for a tendon injury and times for the mile – like 4:24 or 4:29 – that never beat his personal best. In 1910 and 1911 his image was selected for two series of tobacco cards (Hassan and Mecca) featuring Champion Athletes and Prizefighters.

He married Grace Burke in 1913 – the daughter of Irish immigrants, Richard (a broker at the Custom House) and Mary – and they raised two children, Richard and Elise, on his job as a clerk for the Kings County Court, a position he held until 1958. James P. Sullivan died on 9 April 1965 at age 79.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of items from the Sullivan family scrapbook. Included are photographs, newspaper clippings, correspondence and membership cards for the Irish-American Athletic Club. Also part of this collection is the Mecca Cigarette card with Sullivan's image as part of the Mecca Cigarette Champion Athlete and Prize Fighter Series.

Images are available for viewing in a Flikr exhibit at http://www.flickr.com/photos/27630285@N07/3240069844/in/set-72157613167342984/. A copy of the images is also available in the Archives on a Cd-Rom.

Arrangement

Collection is arranged into one series in the order items appear on the CD.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Sullivan, James P., 1885-1965

Document Type

  • Digital images.
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Articles.
  • Black-and-white photographs.
  • Cigarette cards.

Subject Organizations

  • Irish American Athletic Club

Subject Topics

  • Irish Americans -- Societies, etc.
  • Olympics.

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Administrative Information

Provenance

All images are from James P. Sullivan’s scrapbook, loaned for to the Archives of Irish America, New York University, by his grandsons Brian and Terry Sullivan.

The images were used for an online exhibit. The collection consists of 56 digital images.

Originals were returned to the family.

Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the:
Archives of Irish America, Tamiment Library
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2630
Fax: (212) 995-4225
E-mail: tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Archives of Irish America, Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

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Container List

Inventory

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_001 Newspaper Clipping: 4:22 Sullivan "One Record by Which Sullivan is Alone"
circa 1905
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_002 Photograph: J.P. Sullivan, Track Captain 13th Artillery AC
undated
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_003 1900 Census - 12th Census of the United States, New York County: Page with Sullivan Family information
1900
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_004 Newspaper clipping: "Finish of the One Mile Run J.P. Sullivan 1st, Harvey W. Cohn 2nd
1905
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_005 Letter from American Committee of the Olympian Games at Athens Greece regarding 1906 games, informing Sullivan he was chosen unanimously to represent the United States; first page only
Mar 8 1906
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_006 1910 Census - 13th Census of the United States, Kings County, Sullivan Family information, 1 page
1910
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_007 Photograph: James Sullivan at Acroplis, Athens with two unidentified men
1906
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_008 Photograph: James Sullivan at the Porch of the Maidens, the Acroplis, Athens
1906
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_009 Newpaper clippings: The [Globe and Commercial] Advertiser, New York "Olympic Stars Peform To-Day at Celtic Park"
Sep 7, 1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_010 Cartoon "Uncle to the Fore!" by J. Campbell Cory, unidentified publication
Apr 27, 1906
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_011 Cigarette Card: James P. Sullivan, color; Mecca Cigarettes Champion Athlete and Prize Fighter Series
circa 1911
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_012 Cigarette Card Verso: James P. Sullivan, color; Mecca Cigarettes Champion Athlete and Prize Fighter Series; contains biographical and competition information on Sullivan
circa 1911
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_013 Newpaper clipping: "Irish Heroes of Olympia Honored at Great Feast", unidentified source
Sep 22, 1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_014 Military Honorable Discharge document from the State of New York to James Sullivan
Nov 25, 1910
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_015 Newspaper Clipping: "Marathon Winner Gets Big Welcome"
Aug 20, 1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_015 Irish American Athletic Club Document: "One Year's Record of the Irish-American Athletic Club"
circa 1905
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_016 Irish American Atheltic Club Document: "Winners of National Championship at St. Louis Exposition"
circa 1905
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_017 Irish American Athletic Club Photograph: Group
circa 1906
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_019 Irish American Athletic Club Membership Card
1905
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_020 Irish American Athletic Club Membership Card
1906
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_021 Irish American Athletic Club Membership Card: Verso
1906
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_022 Irish American Athletic Club Membership Card
1909
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_023 Newspaper Clipping: "Irish-Americans Lead World in Athletic Skills"; unidentified source, part 1
undated
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_024 Newspaper Clipping: "Irish-Americans Lead World in Athletic Skills"; unidentified source, part 2
undated
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_025 Photograph: J.P. Sullivan
undated
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_026 Letter: from Meyer to Sullivan, page 1
1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_027 Letter: from Meyer to Sullivan, page 2
1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_028 Letter: from Meyer to Sullivan, page 2 (additional image)
1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_029 Newspaper clipping, fragment: Story about the IACC
1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_030 Newspaper clipping "Will Decorate City in Honor of Athletes"
1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_031 Newspaper clipping: New York American "Irish Club Defeats the New York A.C., 87 to 48"
Aug 27, 1907
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_032 Newspaper clipping: New York Herald "Yankee Athletes Triumph Abr[oad]"
Jul 14, 1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_033 Newspaper clipping: New York Press "Training-Camp Life of the Men Who Battle for the Winged Fist" page 1
Jul 14, 1907
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_034 Newspaper clipping: New York Press "Training-Camp Life of the Men Who Battle for the Winged Fist" page 2
Jul 14, 1907
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_035 Picture, New York [City] Parade "The Athletes Come Down Fifth Avenue in Automobiles Preceded by the Marathon Trophy on a Float"
1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_036 Newspaper clipping, fragment: New York Times "Pay Final Tribute to Victors"
Sep 22, 1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_037 Certificate Olympic Games 1908: James Sullivan placed 2nd in 1500 meter trials
1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_038 Newspaper clipping: New York Press "Crack Distance Runners of Irish-American A.C."; depicts Harvey W. Cohn and James P. Sullivan
Jan 7, 1906
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_039 Letter, Department of Correction Commissioner, John Coggey to Egerton L. Winthrop, Jr., President Board of Education offer to give James Sullivan a raise
Jun 29, 1907
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_040 [Minutes?] Department of Education noting James Sullivans request of leave from his position to participate in the 1906 Olympics (granted)
Mar 26, 1906
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_041 Correspondence: Paul Thompason, Manager, The Article Synidcate to J.P. Sullivan, Esq. Irish-Americna Athletic Club requesting photograph of Sullivan
Jun 9, 1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_042 Article: Running Times "4:22 Jim" page 1 of 3
Dec 1985
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_043 Article: Running Times "4:22 Jim" page 2 of 3
Dec 1985
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_044 Article: Running Times "4:22 Jim" page 3 of 3
Dec 1985
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_045 Picture: Sagamore Hill 1908 with headline "The Athletes Coming Down Fifth Avenue...."
1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_046 Newspaper clipping, fragment: Sullivan interview 1958 "U.S. First No. 1 Miler Still Keeps in Shape"
1958
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_047 Article and picture of Sullivan running "Athletes who Race at 22nd Regiment Armory To-night" Pictured: Cohen, Banderman, Sullivan and Freeman
circa 1905
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_048 Photograph: Sullivan in a race
circa 1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_049 Newspaper clipping: The Globe and Commercial Advertiser, New York "Olympic Stars Perform To-Day at Celtic Park"
undated
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_050 Page from The Graphic "American Triumps at the Olympic Games" p. 1
Jul 25, 1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_051 Page from The Graphic "American Triumps at the Olympic Games" p. 2
Jul 25, 1909
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_052 Newspaper clipping: The Sun "Col. Roosevelt as He Appeared When He Greeted Olympic Team"
Sep 1, 1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_053 Newspaper clipping The World "Olympic Team Chosen, They're World Beaters" p. 1
Jun 9, 1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_054 Newspaper clipping The World "Olympic Team Chosen, They're World Beaters" p. 2
Jun 9, 1908
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_055 Newspaper clipping fragment, The World, Pictures of Melvin Shephard and Jas. P. Sullivan
Jan 25, 1912
Cd: 1 Item : aia048_056 Photograph: Winning Mile
circa 1905

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