Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Fight of the Century, July 4, 1910

When Jack Johnson battled White Hope James L. Jeffries for the championship of the world at Reno, Nevada on July 4, 1910, former champions, writers and artists from east and west flocked to the small desert town. Canadian Tommy Burns who lost the title to Johnson in Sydney, Australia was there, as was Bob Fitzsimmons, who had fought both Johnson and Jeffries (Jeffries twice). Rube Goldberg, TAD, A.D. Condo and Bob Edgren served as writers and cartoonists.

Edgren had his start on San Francisco newspapers before becoming the sporting editor at the New York World. He studied at the Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco. Edgren “possessed a rare skill in throwing the 16 pound hammer, which brought him fame, medals and many records.” He began newspaper work as a sports illustrator in San Francisco, subsequently turning to text columns and moving to New York.

The San Francisco Call wrote

“A close student of Jeffries and his condition, Edgren can watch the work of the white man and can tell when he is under the stress of ring conditions, whether it is the old Jeff that has come back, or whether a mere muscular shell of a once great fighter is pounding futile blows on the ebony hide of a younger and better man.

Familiar with the work of Johnson, Edgren will watch the Texan’s every motion and will know if the black is showing the “white feather” or the “yellow streak.” Whatever color scheme prevails on next Monday, Edgren the artist will detect it in its incipiency and readers of The Call can follow the battle from the pen of the premier sporting editor of the east.”

Edgren took several photographs of the fight which he sold through advertisements in the New York Clipper.

Archival footage from the famous fight can be seen HERE.

More on Jack Johnson and the Cartoonists HERE.

Bob Edgren’s print showing highlights of the fight courtesy Tony Manning, political cartoonist for the Meriden Record-Journal in Connecticut. Read an article about Tony Manning’s collection HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment