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Burr, John H. Papers (MS 543)

A sepia photograph of John H. Burr in sprint stance.

Finding Aid | Digital Items

Born June 1, 1898, John H. Burr went to Springfield Technical High School where he was a track and field athlete and received the title “the fastest runner in the county.” John H. Burr graduated from the International Young Men’s Christian Association College, now Springfield College, in 1923 and his master’s degree in 1932. He had an amazing professional career at Howard University (1923 to 1958). As well as reaching the position of Director of Physical Education, he acted as the basketball, swimming, and track and field coach, “contributing to Howard’s dominance in Historically Black College and University championships during the 1950s." In 1963, Howard University opened a multi-purpose arena named after Burr, affectionately called “The Burr.”

The collection contains newspaper articles, biographical manuscripts, a thesis, and photographs created and collected from John Burr's time at the Springfield Technical High School, Springfield College, and Howard University (ca. 1917-1960). There are photographs from various athletic teams that he played with or coached, his master's thesis titled "A Survey of Physical Education in Negro Colleges and Universities," and copies of Newspaper articles, yearbooks, and articles from magazines or print documents gathered by family members. Finally, there is a manuscript titled "Family Study", by Margaret Burr.