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Karpovich, Peter V. (MS 501)

Finding Aid | Digital images and documents

Peter V. Karpovich (1896-1975) was born in Luga, Russia. He attended the State Military Academy of Medicine in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) where he studied under Ivan Pavlov and graduated early in December 1919. Karpovich fled Russia for Riga, Latvia in 1922 because of political and professional turmoil. While there he acted as a consulting physician for the YMCA until 1925 before leaving to conduct research at Springfield College. He enrolled as a special advanced student and earned a Master’s Degree in Physical Education in 1929. In 1927, while completing his studies, he became a professor of physiology at Springfield College and remained in that position until his retirement from teaching in 1961. During the Second World War, he served as Chief of the Laboratory of Physical Fitness for the Army Air Force at the School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field, Texas. Around this time, he met and married his second wife, Josephine Rathbone, an acclaimed scholar of physical education and relaxation. From 1946 to 1948, Karpovich lectured at Columbia University in New York. Karpovich returned to Springfield in 1961 and served as the director of Springfield College’s Physiology Research Lab until 1969. During his directorship, Karpovich conducted numerous research projects in physiology and kinesiology and published many reports, articles, and several seminal books in the field. Along with his wife Josephine, he was a founding member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He acted as a consultant to the federal government and many private and public educational organizations. The most important by-product of his research was to bring physical education into the realm of science. Karpovich was an internationally recognized pioneer in physical education, and was writing and researching up until his death in 1975.

This collection documents the personal and professional life of Peter V. Karpovich, a well-known figure in the field of physical education. The bulk of the collection contains research materials, though there is a wealth of personal materials in the form of scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, correspondence, telegrams, photographs, negatives, large format negatives, contact prints, speeches, and unpublished memoirs. Research materials in this collection contain project data, reports, published articles, photographic prints, slides and negatives, film and audio resources, physical artifacts, scrapbooks and newspaper clippings.