December 1992 – February 1993

Soon after James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891, he wrote to his good friend Henry Kallenberg, who was Physical Director of the University of Iowa YMCA, sending him a copy of the rules he had devised and asking him to try the game out. Kallenberg complied, thus making Iowa City one of the first, if not the first, places outside of Springfield, Massachusetts, where basketball was played.

In 1900 basketball became an official sport at the University of Iowa. The history of the sport is traced, featuring the Big Ten champions of “Pops” Harrison in 1945, the “Fabulous Five” of 1955-57, Ralph Miller’s undefeated Big Ten champions of 1970, and the successes of the last fifteen years under Lute Olson, George Raveling, and Tom Davis.

The first reference to women playing basketball appeared in a March 1895 issue of the student newspaper, the Vidette Reporter. Formal intramural competition began in 1927, with intercollegiate competition beginning in 19555. In 1981, Big Ten competition became a reality, and today the University of Iowa women’s program, under the leadership of C. Vivian Stringer, is one of the finest and most successful in the nation.

Using books, yearbooks, and photographs from the Libraries collections, along with sports memorabilia, the exhibition features starts of the past, men and women, and highlights from the past century.