Book Cover

A History of Physical Education and Athletics at Oberlin College

Lee C. Drickamer with Fredrick D. Shults

272 pp. 6 x 9
98 b&w Illus.
2 Tables
Pub Date: September, 2022

Subjects: Ohio

Imprint: Trillium

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Since the late nineteenth century, Oberlin College has been a leader in training physical education teachers. The skill and mentoring of founders like Delphine Hanna produced a generation of men and women who were among the most important individuals in the structuring of physical education and in the formation of professional societies in the areas of recreation, athletics, and physical education. Lee C. Drickamer and Frederick D. Shults document the full scope of Oberlin’s physical education and athletics programs, beginning with learning and labor in the mid-nineteenth century and chronicling the evolution of virtually every team, facility, curriculum, societal change, and philosophic stance thereafter. Touching on the mind-body duality, New Physical Education, and the ever-increasing emphasis on winning athletic contests, Drickamer and Shults remind readers of Oberlin’s long history of supporting societal changes and innovation. This process is brought full circle with the current emphasis on health and wellness, again focusing on the mind-body connection.

Lee C. Drickamer received his AB from Oberlin college in 1967 and is currently Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. He is the author of A History of the Department of Biology at Oberlin College and has published widely in the fields of animal behavior and mammalogy.

Fredrick D. Shults (1932–2020) received his AB from Oberlin College in 1954 and served as a faculty member in Oberlin’s Department of Physical Education from 1960 to 1994. His articles have appeared in Athletic Journal; Oberlin Alumni Magazine; and Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.


List of Illustrations

Preface and Acknowledgments


Chapter 1        Learning and Labor: 1830s–1870

Chapter 2        Gymnastics: 1871–1895

Chapter 3        New Physical Education: 1896–1925

Chapter 4        Sports as a Cultural Phenomenon: 1926–1950

Chapter 5        Athletics as Competition: 1951–1974

Chapter 6        Title IX, Inclusion of Women, and Sports as Entertainment: 1972–1990

Chapter 7        Worldwide Sports and Winning Dominates: 1991–2010

Chapter 8        The Present and Future Directions: 2011–2021 and Beyond


            Appendix A.1: Timeline for Pertinent National and International Events

            Appendix A.2: Timeline for Physical Education and Athletics at Oberlin College

            Appendix B: Administrators for Physical Education and Athletics

References and Sources


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