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Fritz Pollard Papers

Identifier: harsh-2005-05

Scope and Contents

The papers include clippings and photographs of Fritz Pollard that were collected by Eleanor Towns.


  • 1916-2004, undated


Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection

Biographical / Historical

Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard was born on January 27, 1894 in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Pollard graduated from Lane Tech College Prep High School in 1912 where he participated in many activities and sports including track, football, baseball and the debate team. He went on to play football at Brown University. At Brown, he became the first African American to play in a Rose Bowl game in 1916.

Pollard served in WWI and began playing for the NFL. In 1921 he became the NFL's first African American head coach. Pollard coached for four different NFL teams; the Pros/Indians (1920-1921 and 1925-1926), the Milwaukee Badgers (1922), the Hammond Pros (1923, 1925), and the Providence Steam Rollers (1925). Fritz also spent time in 1923 and 1924 playing for the Gilberton Cadamounts, a strong independent pro team in the Pennsylvania “Coal League.” In 1928, Pollard organized and coached the Chicago Black Hawks, an all-African American professional football team. He died May 11, 1986 in Silver Spring, Maryland. Fritz Pollard was posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.


Carroll, John, Fritz Pollard: Pioneer in Racial Advancement. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992.


1 Linear Feet (in 1 box, includes 2 photographs)

Language of Materials



An early and exceptional football star, Fritz Pollard played for Lane Tech High School and Brown University, and in the National Football League. The papers include newspaper clippings and photographs collected by Eleanor Towns.


Alphabetical by folder title

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Eleanor C. Towns in 2005

Related Materials

Related materials at other institutions:

Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard Collection, Lane Tech Alumni Association


Fritz Pollard Papers
Elizabeth Loch, Archival Specialist
July 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection Repository

Woodson Regional Library
Chicago Public Library
9525 S. Halsted Street
Chicago IL 60628 United States
(312) 745-2080