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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 15:33

All writers disseminate a fair amount of misinformation during our careers. In practical terms, if you do this to raise a family, put food on the table and a roof over the family's heads, it's unavoidable. What, perhaps, separates the men from the boys is that 'the men' grieve over it, and try if the opportunity presents itself to put the record straight.

Over all the years I have been reading about racing the name Russ Catlin has been prominent. His work has regularly been rubbished in these threads, and it just occurred to me that I know precious little about Catlin as a man. I am sure some of you out there know far, far more. What's his story? What was he like? What was he about?

DCN

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#2 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 17:47

My only direct dealings with Russ Catlin were when he was in charge of press relations at Darlington. After Bob Colvin died, in 1967, he became chairman of the Darlington board. I got press credentials personally handed to me several times by Catlin while he was there. This was because I was usually sitting in as the replacement for the UPI man who was supposed to be covering the race, but who wanted nothing to do with it. Even when one of the regular UPI writers went, I always got a press pass as well, being the go-fer for the Writer and filling him in on what was going on.

Catlin seemed nice enough to me and liked it that I had an interest in racing history. At one point I did a short piece on him as part of the race coverage, probably 1967 or 1968. At the time he worked for Darlington, he spent most of the year in Florida, living in Marathon, which is in the Florida Keys. He seemed a nice enough person, ensuring that I got taken care of, despite -- or because of -- my being much younger than the other members of the press.

Catlin was from Pennsylvania, went to Alleghany College on a football scholarship, majoring in journalism because that was where the school "parked" most of its athletic scholarships. He took a summer job as a copy boy at a daily paper and found he liked it and entered the newspaper business after graduation. That was how he wound up at the Speedway doing public relations work and then for the AAA Contest Board.

John Printz can fill in the gaps, but Catlin was loathe to let too many facts get in the way of a good story and his "discovery" of the materials in the AAA files had repercussions which still resonate....

#3 john glenn printz

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 14:32

RUSSELL "RUSS" A. CATLIN (1908-1983). I never actually met or ever had any contact, in any manner whatsoever, with Mr. Russ Catlin. Catlin's real heyday was probably the years 1949 to 1952 when he worked for the AAA Contest Board. So everyone who knew him well, back then, is now probably dead. As far as I can tell, Russ was a friendly person who was very well liked.

I don't really know what else I could say about Russ that I haven't already said. Catlin apparently didn't do, at first anyway, any historical research into any 1909 to 1920 contemporary newspapers or U.S. motor journals; as he thought and assumed that he had all the original AAA race records right in front of him at the Washington, D. C., AAA Contest Board offices or headquarters. (If he had the primary AAA source material at hand, of what use would it be to peruse the secondary and non-AAA official newspaper and motor journal reports?) Hence his early and complete misdating of the Arthur Means/Val Haresnape 1926, 1927, and 1928 computations, putting them back to the years 1909 to 1920, when they didn't exist.

I believe Russ later realized his mistake here, but then decided to try and cover it up with misdirected and deliberate obscurantism. Bob Russo (d. 1999) was certainly Catlin's foremost victim here, if that's the case. Consult the thread "BOB RUSSO AND THE 1920 AAA CHAMPIONSHIP".

I had two or three opportunities to meet Mr. Catlin in the early 1980's, at the Firestone "Old Timer's Banquet", held always the next day, after the Indianapolis race qualifications were concluded. I declined to go however. I could see no point in talking to Russ who was in very bad health and I had concluded in the mid-1970's that his SPEED AGE history of the AAA National Championship 1909-1917 was very misleading and of poor quality. I have never regreted that decision.

Mr. Ken McMaken's and my own reading of the early AAA years 1902 to 1920 is totally at variance with Mr. Catlin. I also believe that Ken and I were the first persons to question it all.

The thread "AMERICAN RACING 1894-1920" gives our, and a very different, version of the AAA history and situation 1902 to 1920.

Sincerely.

Edited by john glenn printz, 21 December 2012 - 15:25.


#4 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 21:23

Thank you for that John, and Don. Human frailty is an all-consuming study, isn't it...a cautionary tale for any of us who believe we have found a mother lode....

DCN

#5 john glenn printz

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 18:57

Here is a description of Russ Catlin, in a local Syracuse newpaper, that I just stumbled across today, written on the eve of the running of the Syracuse 100 miler of September 6, 1952. Quote...

"Russ Catlin, who has been writing publicity and magazine articles about the men of the "roaring road" for many years, showed in the city yesterday to lend Ira Vail the helping hand with Saturday's Fair Ground show.

It is like tapping an oil gusher to launch Russ on his beloved auto racing sport. He can spin yarns by the day, week, or month without a single repetition. Catlin knows them all, starting with the owners, then to the drivers and finally the "grease monkeys." They are all his friends and after meeting the chap you don't wonder why.

He is interested in every minor detail of the game. Everyone connected with auto racing, he argues, is worthy of a feature story. If they were merely commonplace folk they would never have wended their way into the fascinating pastime.

He related so many colorful stories it was difficult to decide the most interesting."

SYRACUSE HERALD JOURNAL, September 3, 1952, page 23.

Edited by john glenn printz, 21 October 2010 - 19:51.


#6 john glenn printz

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 13:40

On the eve of SPEED AGE's publication of Catlin's famous "HISTORY" a one page bio and photo appeared, i.e. SPEED AGE, November 1954, page 27. Some quotes...

"ANOTHER SPEED AGE FIRST!

"Racing enthusiasts for a half century have spent untold weeks and months searching for complete information on AAA automobile competition. It remained for Russ Catlin, for 29 years one of the Nation's best known experts on the sport to compile such a history.

Next month SPEED AGE will offer its readers the first chapter of this exclusive story written by Mr. Catlin. Many of the races he describes he saw himself, and dozens of others will be recounted by him from his exhaustive research into the dusty archives of the sport's early days.

Beginning with the 1909 chapter, SPEED AGE will present the complete point standings of every AAA Contest Board from that date to the present. For the first time in any publication, SPEED AGE will carry Catlin's complete listings of every National championship race ever run.

SPEED AGE readers also will get many heretofore untold anedotes dealing with AAA rulings, individuals and moments of history. The articles will run approximately three years in serial form and will be the first complete history of auto racing as recognized by the AAA.

Catlin has written on racing subjects in practically every publication covering the sport since 1932-and he saw his first championship race at the age of two. He has seen every board track except Playa Del Rey and he covered his first Indianapolis '500' event in 1925. He has not missed one since.

He is the author of the "Life of Ted Horn" and has written more than 100 features for SPEED AGE since its founding in 1947. Catlin is a former National football league player with the Akron team and played (before entering Thiel College College) under the name of Fitzgerald. From 1951 until this summer he was head of the AAA Contest Board news bureau, a position which brought him into intimate contact with the forgotten annals of racing.

He now is director of public relations for the Darlington Speedway at Darlington, South Carolina, and is serving as racing adviser to SPEED AGE magazine.

SPEED AGE feels that this history by Catlin probably will be the greatest single boon to the racing reader since the start of AAA competition.

Hope you enjoy it."

Edited by john glenn printz, 29 October 2010 - 13:28.


#7 john glenn printz

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 17:38

The following was written by Jan Shaffer in the PREFACE to the 1985 CART NEWS MEDIA GUIDE on page 2 (quote)...

The fragility of Indy Car records is mind-blowing. Historian Bob Russo of Covina, CA tells the story of the rescue of the previous AAA records in 1950.

"Norris Friel, the AAA technical director, discovered all kinds of records in the basement of the AAA building," Russo said. "The basement was part of the Washington, D.C. sewer system.

"The AAA had decided to put the Contest Board into another building, and all the records were 'red-tagged' to be burned. Norris and Russ Catlin went down with gloves and heavy coats to examine the boxes.

"Russ saved the race records and Norris saved the technical records."

If one is interested in Mr. Russ Catlin, you should also consult Phils Harms' remarks posted on July 16, 2003, on the thread WHICH RACES DETERMINED THE AAA NATIONAL CHAMPION.

Edited by john glenn printz, 11 November 2010 - 18:34.


#8 john glenn printz

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 20:07

There is a brief feature article about Catlin contained the FLORENOE MORNING STANDARD issue for September 9, 1964. Here a few more facts can be gleaned. Catlin is described as "easy-going, casual, jovial, and likeable". Russ attented Allegheny College located in Pennsylvania on a football scholarship and majored in jouralism. During one summer he worked as copy boy for a daily newspaper. Russ was a 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Trinity Methodist Church located in Darlington. SC. He was married, lived in a mobile home, and had one daughter.

I originally thought that Mr. Catlin had worked for the AAA Contest Board immediately after World War II i.e. 1946 to 1952, but now up my dating to 1949 as his beginning year of his employment at the AAA. 1949 newspaper info indicates that he was then the editor of SPEED AGE but gives no mention of any AAA connections. I am beginning to surmize that Russ may have only worked for the AAA Contest Board during the years 1949 to 1952. This would partly account for his ignorance about the 1946 AAA Championship season.

I have also updated and enlarged my information about Mr. Catlin, contained in the October 11 and November 19, 2006 postings, contained on the thread THE 1946 AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. Putting it all together I think it all provides a lot of information on Russ. Can anyone add or correct anything?

Edited by john glenn printz, 03 January 2013 - 13:54.


#9 Doug Nye

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 20:32

All interesting stuff John, certainly, but press profiles of the '50s and '60s are commonly mere puff pieces, presenting the subject as a regular guy, God-fearing, convivial pillar of the community, a Mason, Round Tabler, lover of children and kind to small furry animals, etc. I have to say that from an island perspective over here Russ Catlin appears to have been a cheerful bull merchant, writing minimally verified tosh with considerable style and cheery disregard for much more than (probably) contemporary hearsay and gossip. Is this a fair impression? He would certainly not be alone in that category. Many British, French and Italian racing writers were - in retrospect - just as reliable.

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 13 January 2012 - 20:33.


#10 john glenn printz

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 21:11

Well I think Russ Catlin meant well, but just didn't know what he was doing. The real problem was that anyone who was going to write about the past history of AAA National Championship racing before the 1921 season and in a factual manner, would have to deal with Mr. Catlin's erroneous views, which everywhere prevailed in the U.S. after 1955. There was not one word of dissent or disagreement. However Catlin had misread and misconstrued the data put together by Means and Haresnape in 1926-1928; and Russ even added new myths about the 1902-1920 AAA era entirely produced by himself.

As I understand it, a historian is suppose to find out what actually occurred in the past, if he can, and then record "what actually happened" (i.e. Leopold von Ranke's famous dictum).

But rather Catlin created out of whole cloth seven new AAA National Championship Titles for 1902 to 1908 and totally invented a fictional account of what had taken place in 1920. He also accepted the false idea that the AAA had had National Championship seasons for 1909-1915 and 1917-1919 by misinterpreting the Means-Haresnape 1926-1928 materials. Russ also wrote a book about Ted Horn in late 1948/1949 and doesn't know what cars Ted drove in 1946 or that for 1946 the AAA combined the year's six Championship contests with 71 sprint car races into just one AAA National Driving Title. And further, convinced that he is entirely correct, Russ talks the AAA Contest Board itself, in 1951, into officially making Milton the 1920 Titlist instead of Gaston Chevrolet, the real winner. And nobody suspects a thing! Catlin misled everybody even including himself.

What is one to do with such a historian and would-be chronologer?

Edited by john glenn printz, 13 April 2012 - 12:32.


#11 Graham Gauld

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:04



Many years ago a racing friend in Scotland, who was a lawyer, told me of one of his Professors of law who, in a lecture, remarked " If you listen to two people describing a road accident you will never believe in history."



#12 Tony Kaye

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 18:49

To strike a controversional note, my take on Russ Catlin is that as a racing historian he was irreplaceable. Not only did he help to save the AAA records, but by his writings he spawned a generation of later historians. He was the first to put together a detailed record of motor racing in U.S.A. 50 or more years later it’s only too easy to be critical. Whatever his faults, without him it might have taken a lot longer to produce a complete and accurate history. And without him there might be considerably fewer people interested in that history. They say that ‘great men stand on other men’s shoulders’. Instead of criticising him to the total exclusion of his accomplishments, latterday historians should recognize that Russ Catlin had very broad shoulders.

#13 Tony Kaye

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 18:49

To strike a controversional note, my take on Russ Catlin is that as a racing historian he was irreplaceable. Not only did he help to save the AAA records, but by his writings he spawned a generation of later historians. He was the first to put together a detailed record of motor racing in U.S.A. 50 or more years later it’s only too easy to be critical. Whatever his faults, without him it might have taken a lot longer to produce a complete and accurate history. And without him there might be considerably fewer people interested in that history. They say that ‘great men stand on other men’s shoulders’. Instead of criticising him to the total exclusion of his accomplishments, latterday historians should recognize that Russ Catlin had very broad shoulders.

#14 D-Type

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 20:32

To strike a controversional note, my take on Russ Catlin is that as a racing historian he was irreplaceable. Not only did he help to save the AAA records, but by his writings he spawned a generation of later historians. He was the first to put together a detailed record of motor racing in U.S.A. 50 or more years later it’s only too easy to be critical. Whatever his faults, without him it might have taken a lot longer to produce a complete and accurate history. And without him there might be considerably fewer people interested in that history. They say that ‘great men stand on other men’s shoulders’. Instead of criticising him to the total exclusion of his accomplishments, latterday historians should recognize that Russ Catlin had very broad shoulders.

But what is the point if the detailed record is factually inaccurate and fundamentally flawed? Although his writings may have formed the basis for later work, since any diligent later historian would have to double check everything that Catlin wrote surely the task would take longer?

Tales of King Arthur and his knights and stories of Robin Hood and Maid Marian may have inspired people to study the age of chivalry or medieval history, or even the geography, flora and fauna of Nottinghamshire and the surrounding counties but these tales have not in any way added to our knowledge of those periods. The converse is more likely as somehow subconsciously we begin to believe the myths.

Edited by D-Type, 21 April 2012 - 19:38.


#15 ensign14

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 21:11

To strike a controversional note, my take on Russ Catlin is that as a racing historian he was irreplaceable. Not only did he help to save the AAA records, but by his writings he spawned a generation of later historians.

It makes him more of an archivist and a fabulist though...

#16 john glenn printz

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 15:57

SOME OUT OF THE WAY LEARNING. The just recently published IZOD INDYCAR SERIES 2011 HISTORICAL RECORD BOOK on page 6 demonstrates the confusion and havoc that Russ Catlin (1908-1983) is directly responsible for. We read (quote), "AAA had two different listings for the 1920 season. At the start of the year, 11 races were listed as counting for the championship toward the championship, but at the end of the season, AAA determined the championship to be based on the results of five races giving Gaston Chevrolet the championship." This is a very succint statement of Catlin's conspiracy theory about the 1920 AAA Championship season.

The first IZOD sentence would be true for only 1926-1955, but not 1920-1925. The eleven race 1920 schedule or chart was first made on November 26, 1926 by Arthur H. Means, the assistant Secretary of the AAA Contest Board, and didn't exist before that. Actually, to be accurate, Mean's chart is a 10 race reckoning, not 11. The second IZOD sentence is totally in error. The AAA never had a ten or eleven Championship schedule at any time during 1920 itself. The confusion was introduced by Means' production of a 1920 ten race point chart in late 1926. Means merely, in 1926, added five more races to the original and official five. Means' 1920 point chart, made in November 1926, survived and was among the race records that the AAA gave to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1967. Unless it got lost, the Speedway should still own it.

Catlin, later and totally after World War II, mistakenly thought the ten race chart was the original one for 1920 and the five race computation, later and secondary. Here Russ was trying to solve the vexing question as to why there existed two widely variant AAA point charts for the year 1920. His eventual solution was more a wild and surrealist guess, than real or factual history.

According to Russ, the original ten race Championship schedule was in full force until Gaston Chevrolet was killed at Beverly Hills on November 25, 1920. Then AAA Chairman Richard A. Kennerdell gave the 1920 AAA National Championship Title to Gaston Chevrolet immediately after his death and soon substracted five races from the original ten event chart, so that the 1920 point totals would add up to putting Chevrolet at the top. In this manner Tommy Milton was swindled out of his legitimate 1920 AAA National Championship title. Thus Catlin also claims both AAA charts for 1920, i.e. the five and the ten, existed in late 1920. The 1920 five event chart is accordingly an altered and doctored 1920 ten race reckoning, manufactured by the irrational and unstable Richard Kennerdell to justify and officiate his bizarre action in naming G. Chevrolet the 1920 AAA Champion, as a "sympathetic gesture", just after the finish of the Beverly Hills 250 of November 25, 1920. The five race 1920 AAA summary in use officially for the years 1920-1926 and 1929-1951 is in consequence a fake and a contrived phony! This is the Gospel according to Russ Catlin.

This is Catlin's now famous 1920 Kennerdell conspiracy theory. The entire, total, and whole construct here was just an idle fantasy and daydream of Russ' but what a hold it has had on later would-be and uncritical AAA racing historians like Bob Russo! There never was, and does not exist presently, a single particle or scrape of evidence that any of this is true. I had published back in 1988 in INDY CAR RACING the following (quote), "Never has there been a story so wild and so totally ridiculous as Catlin's Kennerdell conspiracy theory relating to late 1920. It is built on absolutely nothing. But what a story! Perhaps it is the greatest and the most fantastic yarn ever spun by Catlin." I take none of it back.

Any single copy of the Beverly Hills November 25, 1920 official race day program would have exploded and imploded Russ' whole narrative. It contains a listing of the current National Championship point standings using only four previous contests, i.e. 1. Beverly Hills 250 (February 28), 2. Indianapolis 500 (May 31), 3. Tacoma 225 (July 5), and 4. Elgin 251 (August 28). Gaston Chevrolet went into the last Championship race, the year's fifth on November 25, with 1030 points and came out of it a dead man but with the same exact point total of 1030, good enough to win the 1920 AAA Title. Gaston won the AAA driving title on the day he died. But the death of Gaston Chevrolet has absolutely nothing to do with the origin and the production of the two variant 1920 AAA point reckonings, which is what Catlin regards as certain.

Russ himself never published a detailed exposition on the 1920 AAA season, but racing journalist and PR man, Bob Russo (1928-1999), was privy to Catlin's ideas on it, and printed an article "PERSPECTIVE, THE 1920 CHAMPIONSHIP" in INDY CAR RACING (January 1987, pages 43-45), which presented Russ' 1920 scenario. Catlin and Russo had both worked for SPEED AGE magazine in the early 1950s and often had chewed the fat. Russo, in his 1987 essay, regards Catlin's 1920 reconstruction as actual historical fact. The only published remarks of Catlin himself about the year 1920 appeared in his article "54 BITTERSWEET YEARS OF THE AAA CONTEST BOARD" in AUTOMOBILE QUARTERLY 1982 Vol. 20, No. 4, pages 408-413.

And in late 1926 Val Haresnape (d. 1930), the Secretary of the AAA Contest Board, was so impressed by Means' new 1920 ten race reckoning that he asked Arthur to construct points charts for the 1909-1915 and 1917-1919 when the AAA didn't have a Championship. They were put together during 1927 and 1928 by Means, not Val Haresnape (another IZOD record book error). They are thus all retrospective projections. They were introduced into the AAA National Championship seasonal division records in 1928 and were soon regarded as both real and AAA official. There were no objections made, in 1928, to these new additions. Mr. McMaken and myself in 1981 were the first persons ever to say they were all historically unreal and totally anachronistic entities. Until then no one suspected that anything was amiss. It was universally believed by 1946 that the AAA National Championship title, based on a point system, started with the 1909 season, and had continued on from there.

Here Catlin was largely responsible for this myth also, although he himself did not produce or create any of these retrospective 1909-1915 and 1917-1920 AAA point charts. That was the work of Arthur Means during 1926-1928, long before Catlin had arrived on the AAA Contest Board scene c. 1948. Russ didn't know that and believed most of the 1909-1915 and 1917-1920 reckonings were contemporary with season covered, which was another huge and colossal blunder. It was also the case with Means' new 1920 schedule and reckoning, produced as we have seen in late 1926. Russ thought it was real and dated its list of Championship events to early 1920. It was in this anachronistic manner, using Means' bogus point charts 1909-1915 and 1917-1920, that Catlin wrote up his famous and venerated HISTORY OF AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING, 1909 TO 1917, published in 1954-1955 in SPEED AGE magazine. Such was the state of AAA National Championship racing historiography before 1981. The first McMaken-Printz salvos against this Means/Haresnape/Catlin mythological system appeared in the 1981 PPG INDY CAR WORLD SERIES ANNUAL on pages 127, 129, and 136.

Bob Russo never accepted the McMaken-Printz contention that all the 1909-1915 and 1917-1919 point charts and the AAA National Champions for those seasons are retrospective and post-facto creations of Arthur H. Means made in the late 1920s. We were accused in late 1985 by CART's John Evenson of making it all up and having CART print it all unknowingly in the 1985 CART Media Guide. Evenson yelled at me (quote), "You have made the CART organization look ridiculous and we don't allow anyone to do that!" Evenson was hired as CART's bouncer in mid-1985. Evenson claimed that CART had received over 75 letters of complaint about our absurb and inane statements. John also asserted he had personally checked with both Donald Davidson and Chris Economaki and that we, "didn't have a leg to stand on." Bob Russo curiously was never mentioned. I just immediately concluded that John was lying. It's nothing more than the way big corporations run things. Anyway we were out.

The IZOD HISTORICAL RECORD BOOK makes another completely false statement (quote), "AAA accepted Harsesnape's computations as official from 1927-28 and 1952-55." Actually the new Championship seasons were accepted as "official" from 1928 onward, with no gap of 1929 to 1951. This is an absolutely false statement which has never ever been made before. Here the IZOD commentator has confused the problems solely relating to the year 1920 about Chevrolet and Milton, with the AAA seasons/years 1909-1915 and 1917-1919. The AAA officially declared Gaston Chevrolet the AAA National Champion for 1920 during years 1920-1926 and 1929 to 1951. The AAA declared Tommy Milton the 1920 Champ during 1927-1928 and 1952-1955. It was Russ Catlin who made the change again in 1951 from G. Chevrolet to Milton. It was Means and Haresnape who made the original switch from G. Chevrolet to Milton in 1927. Nothing is now known as to why or how G. Chevrolet was restored to his rightful 1920 AAA Title in 1929.

It seems that in 1951 an official presentation was arranged for Milton (1893-1962), who then received a new AAA metal designating him as the 1920 AAA National Champion. Here the old injustice inflicted on him, supposedly by Chairman Kennerdell in November 1920, was finally corrected. It had been a 30 year wait. The three racing Chevrolet brothers were not in attendance as they were all deceased. Gaston died in 1920 (accident), Louis in 1941 (natural causes), and Arthur in 1946 (suicide). Just what Milton himself thought about all this is uncertain and may have varied at times. But Tommy Milton never suspected or knew anything about Kennerdell's 1920 shenanians until Russ told him about it after World War II (1939-1945)! Milton once jokingly asked Catlin as to why he was given a metal for 2nd place in the final 1920 AAA standings, when he had actually placed 1st! An objection like this never phased Mr. Catlin. Maybe Russ just ultimately confused Milton as Tommy once said (quote) "Milton. Milton. I don't know where Milton was in 1920." Regardless, the Catlin episode in Milton's life is an integral part of the Milton story. The two met apparently when Milton served as the chief stewart at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the years 1949 to 1952 and became friends.

The IZOD HISTORICAL BOOK statement (quote), "At the urging of Motor Age, AAA established an official points championship in 1916.", is probably false. After MOTOR AGE for a number of years (1909-1915) had selected the year's motor racing champion driver for the United States, the AAA Contest Board itself decided that since they both sanctioned and staged all the races, why shouldn't they themselves award the Title. So in early 1916 the Contest Board devised a point system for its major contests and for the very first time in late 1916 named an official AAA National Champion, i.e. Dario Resta (1884-1924). The Title was suspended during the period 1917-1919 because of World War I and renewed in 1920. Catlin apparently didn't know that either!

Catlin worked for the AAA Contest Board during 1949-1952 and discovered Mr. Means 1909-1915 and 1917-1920 point charts in the AAA files. Here is another completely false assertion (quote), "It was a common practice for AAA to penalized drivers with a loss of points as well as money for rules violations." No given instance of these practices is known. When Catlin examined Means' ten charts he noticed that some drivers did not get all the points to which they seemingly were entitled. So Russ invented this explanation to account for all these discrepancies. The real explanation is that Mr. Means was very likely just an imprecise and sloppy worker. For instance on Means' 1920 point compilation he neglected to include the 50 mile Beverly Hills heat race won by Jimmy Murphy on March 28, 1920. So what should have been an eleven race 1920 chart, listed only ten events. Here also the IZOD compilers have added a new element, never mentioned before. Catlin only stated a substraction of Championship points, but nothing about the reduction of the prize money.

Catlin also in 1951 changed the traditional 1909 U.S. Championship of Bert Dingley and gave it instead to George Robertson. Dingley had always been regarded as the 1909 U.S. Champion because MOTOR AGE had named him as such in late 1909. However the 1909 chart, compiled by Means in 1927-28, which Russ had pulled out of the old AAA Contest Board files, gave the most points to Robertson. So Russ got the AAA Contest Board to alter the 1909 Championship winner as well, as a minor side issue. At last the AAA Contest Board had a real scholar on its staff who knew what he was talking about or so they thought!

The issues of what actually happened in 1920 and doubtful status of the AAA National Championships 1909-1915 and 1917-1919 were first brought to everyone's attention by McMaken and myself beginning in 1981, both in published articles and much later on the internet. On this very database the most pertinent information is contained on the threads "AMERICAN RACING 1894 TO 1920" and "BOB RUSSO AND THE 1920 AAA CHAMPIONSHIP". The whole 1920 AAA season is covered in the former thread, in detail, as well as data on Catlin's false reconstruction of the 1920 AAA season and his mistaken assertions about the years 1909-1915 and 1917-1920. Note in particular also our posts of February 28, 2010 to March 1, 2010.

The correct solution of all these issues was published by McMaken-Printz in INDY CAR RACING magazine in two articles published on January 15 and 29, 1988. I had been investigating all these problems for 33 years by 1988. Ken also had been working for decades on the history of AAA National Championship racing. After Catlin died in late 1983 Bob Russo came out of the woodwork and became the outraged defender of all of Catlin's mistaken views. I say it now and I said it back then, the Catlin-Russo ideas about the AAA National Championship before 1921 are in gross error. By repeating the Catlin-Russo views, probably largely by pure inadvertence, the 2011 IZOD RECORD BOOK is now in error also. As it is presently, the IZOD RECORD BOOK combines these two contradictory viewpoints, i.e. Catlin-Russo and McMaken-Printz. But in actual fact, the IZOD 2011 RECORD BOOK (and the later 2012 RECORD BOOK, on pages 55, 56, 89-93), largely repeats and supports the McMaken-Printz solution of all these historical problems made back in 1988. Hallelujah! I am greatly heartened, gratified, and even surprized that the IZOD record books (2011 & 2012) both recognize Gaston Chevrolet as the 1920 AAA Champion on the basis of five contests and that the 1909-1915 and 1917-1919 AAA Champions were post-season awards made in the late 1920s. All this, I believe, is entirely correct.

Actually the 2011 IZOD RECORD BOOK is a very splendid book and I offer congratulations to its creators but the information contained on pages 6, 43, 44, and 73 is confused, contains gross errors of fact, and should be corrected. I just became aware of this book two weeks ago and do not even own a copy. The struggle continues. I thought the war, now lasting over 30 years, was over. What a fool am I. The whole situation and controversy, generated and spread over many decades, involves in fact very few individual actual persons, just Means, Haresnape, Catlin, Russo, and if you will, McMaken and Printz.

Your comments or questions please. I am at your service.

Edited by john glenn printz, 03 January 2013 - 14:01.


#17 john glenn printz

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 13:53

I guess I'm behind the times. The IZOD INDYCAR SERIES 2011 RECORD BOOK I now gather is more than a year old. A new 2nd and 2012 revision is now available. The 2012 version is a big, big book and contains 384 pages. It is a tome that anyone with an interest in the history of National Championship or Indy Car racing will want to own. It's retail price is $30. I just received one yesterday from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Tim Sullivan after an inquiry about it.

It is my understanding that Randy Bernard was behind this record book project. If so he is on the right track. If Indy Car is going to maintain that it is a major league sport it is going to have to put both its past history and its statistics in order.

In a quick perusal of the 2012 RECORD BOOK (pages 83-84) I noticed further that its compilers do not know what an Indy "roadster" is, but many were already confused about this term and misused it even in the mid-1960s, when newcomers to the sport thought it meant just a front engined car. This is quite incorrect-it meant a special type of a front engined car. To wit...

The roadster was a new design introduced at the Speedway in 1952 by car builder Frank Kurtis. Before its appearance almost all Indy Cars had the drive shaft running between the drivers legs. This prevented the car from being as low off the ground as it could be otherwise. The pecularity of the "roadster" was that the drive shaft from the engine was now placed BESIDE the driver. This meant the driver and the entire car could be lower and have a lower center of gravity. I believe that two such vehicles ran at Indy in 1952 race, i.e. the pole winning Cummins/Kurtis (Agabashian) and Bill Vukovich's Fuel Injection Special, a Offenhauser/Kurtis type KK500A. In the 1952 race Bill led a 150 laps but retired with steering failure after 191 laps completed. In 1953 this same car, with Vukovich in it, led 195 laps and won. I was present on that occasion, at age 12, and it was the first Indianapolis 500 that I witnessed.

Thereafter the roadsters ruled at Indianapolis until the rear engine car revolution in the mid-1960s made them all obsolete fossils. Kurtis was the king of the roadsters constructers until c. 1956, when the A. J. Watson designed roadsters took over and put Frank out of the racing car business. Frank, by the way, told me that himself. Kurtis, I might add, had already made such a car with the drive shaft located at the side in 1947, i.e. the Ross Page Offy. All the front engined cars that started the Indianapolis 500, beginning in 1957, were of the roadster design. No car constructed before 1952 is properly or correctly called a roadster.- Printz

The entry for the August 28,1948 Milwaukee race on page 84 is incorrect. The distance was 200 miles, not 100. Fohr was entered in the car, qualified it, took the green flag, and was driving it when the checkered flag fell. Bettenhausen drove relief for Fohr for laps 113-179. The entry should read "Fohr/Bettenhausen" not "Bettenhausen/Fohr".

Edited by john glenn printz, 15 May 2012 - 18:27.


#18 David McKinney

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 15:19

Thanks JGP

I always new the term "roadster" didn't simply mean a front-engined car, but was never sure what the correct definition was

:up:


#19 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 09:34

Similar to Tony Kaye’s view, I see Russ Catlin in a more positive light. But first I agree with Mr. John Glenn Pritz that Catlin’s intentional distortions of the US racing history are deplorable and unforgivable. With this awfull fabrication published, how can I trust the correctness of his many other accounts? “Who really won the first Indy 500?” (A.Q.Vol.7 No.4 p382-385) True or false? Does anyone know? Or “The Harry Stutz Era” (A.Q. Vol.8 No.3) or “Bittersweet Years of the AAA Contest Board” (A.Q. Vol.20 No.4) or “The Wooden Wonders” (A.Q. Vol.9 No.3) or “Sheepshead Bay Speedway” (A.Q. Vol.14 No.1). So, which of these stories are corrupted? Does anybody know? Or do we just remain skeptical?

I agree with Tony that Russ Catlin was irreplaceable, just alone for his involvement in saving the AAA racing records. He will remain an important historian, tainted or not. At the Mills Building, housing the AAA offices, Catlin worked with his co-worker Norris Friel beneath the structure where all the old Contest Board records were stored from the first year on. These records were ordered to be destroyed. Catlin wrote (A.Q. Vol.22 No.2 p223) that the rooms were filled with boxes to the ceiling. The poorly lit place required them to use flash lights. They had to put on coveralls and had a club to fend off aggressive rats. They worked every weekend for almost half a year. I thank him for that. Tainted or not.

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#20 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 19:13

Well said Hans. Heart in the right place...even if the head wasn't always screwed on the right way round.

DCN

#21 luckytampa

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 01:13

I am not quite so sure that those who have had to clean up Catlin's mess would be very quick to agree with some of the latest statements.


#22 john glenn printz

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:07

I wish to ask a few questions. Where are presently all the "boxes and boxes" of the pre-1931 AAA Contest Board archives that Mr. Catlin saved in 1950 by repeat visits to an unhealthy sewer, while battling and defending himself from aggressive, unrulely, and vicious rats? Do these documents still exist? If they are still extant, where precisely are they presently located? Or is it the case that unfortunately, after Mr. Catlin saved them, they have all subsequently been been lost and destroyed? I don't know, but no person or historian has ever seen them, since being saved in 1950, so far as I'm aware, except Mr. Catlin himself and Bob Russo.

As to these pre-1931 AAA Contest Board records, it was long believed that Russ Catlin and Norris Friel had rescued them in 1950, after the AAA was going to dispose of them when moving into brand new headquarters in Washington, D.C. So Russ led everyone to believe. It was assumed for years (c. 1954-1981) that Catlin's HISTORY OF AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACING 1909-1917 (i.e. SPEED AGE, December 1954-August 1955) was based on the official AAA documentation, which Russ had rescued in 1950. James Robert "Bob" Laycock (1914-1995), the man in charge of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway pressroom, informed me c. 1980, that Catlin had promised the Speedway, that in his will and after his death, all the saved pre-1931 AAA material would be given to the Speedway. The Speedway, after Russ' death in late 1983, received nothing and were never contacted about this matter. This information also I also got from Mr. Laycock, during 1984 and 1985.

What racing historian, except Mr. Russo, has ever actually seen or been allowed to use the pre-1931 AAA documents that Catlin and Friel rescued in 1950? Are these files now in private hands? I would like to see some definite and accurate answers to my questions. Remember we are talking about "boxes and boxes" of genuine pre-1931 AAA Contest Board documents. Can someone come forth with the desired information? I would be most appreciative!

Very Sincerely-John Glenn Printz

P.S. I may add that the AAA Contest Board itself was not located in Washington, D.C. until 1925, before that it resided in New York City.

Edited by john glenn printz, 25 April 2012 - 17:35.


#23 luckytampa

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:45

Dr. Joe Freeman of RaceMaker Press in Boston is supposed to have the Bob Russo material that Russo apparently got from Catlin.

Although I have spoken with Joe several times, I have been unable to take Joe up on his offer to make the trek to Boston to actually let me eyeball and, perhaps, even use the material.

This, of course, also leads us back to the material at the IMS that Gordon White had microfilmed about 30 years ago....

However well-intended Catlin may or may not have been, he definitely created a huge mess for historians.

Pity the poor historian, indeed!

Edited by luckytampa, 23 April 2012 - 12:45.


#24 john glenn printz

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 19:35

After Catlin's death, Bob Russo told me that he now had, and owned all the ex-Russ Catlin racing material. This was in late 1984, when Bob was the publicity director for the Riverside International Speedway. Apparently Russo got the pre-1931 AAA material, instead of it going to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After Russo's death in 1999 the said material (whatever it was) passed to his daughter. She in turn sold it to RACEMAKER PRESS about two years ago.

The lineage and genealogical line of the pre-1931 AAA files is thus perfectly clear: i.e. (1.) AAA Contest Board to (2.) a Washington D.C. sewer to (3.) Mr. Russ Catlin to (4.) Mr. Bob Russo to (5.) Russo's daughter to (6.) RACEMAKER PRESS. There are no breaks and no missing links!

So I ask the final and most important question of all: Does the RACEMAKER PRESS now own all the genuine pre-1931 AAA Contest Board files or documents ("boxes and boxes" of it) that Catlin and Friel saved in 1950 or does it not? Yes or No? I don't know myself, but would like to fine out. I've been searching for them for over half a century.

Your humble servant-John Glenn Printz

Edited by john glenn printz, 23 April 2012 - 20:07.


#25 helioseism

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 20:07

So I ask the final and most important question of all: Does the RACEMAKER PRESS now own all the genuine pre-1931 AAA Contest Board files or documents ("boxes and boxes" of it) or does it not? Yes or No? I don't know myself, but would like to fine out.


At the risk of asking the obvious, have you contacted Racemaker press? Here's the Link

#26 john glenn printz

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 20:12

No. I think any reply should be entirely public and available to all.

#27 helioseism

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 20:13

No. I think any reply should be entirely public and available to all.



Well, you could post it here when you receive it.

#28 E1pix

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 20:19

All writers disseminate a fair amount of misinformation during our careers. In practical terms, if you do this to raise a family, put food on the table and a roof over the family's heads, it's unavoidable. What, perhaps, separates the men from the boys is that 'the men' grieve over it, and try if the opportunity presents itself to put the record straight.
DCN

I know nothing about Russ I'm afraid... but recognize a proper comment about the creative arts when I see it.

Brilliant, Doug, full respects to you. :up:

#29 luckytampa

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 22:48

At the risk of asking the obvious, have you contacted Racemaker press? Here's the Link


As mentioned, I did speak with Joe, at least twice directly, the latter while attending the SAH annual dinners at Hershey. We shared a table both years -- last year with Gordon White and Joel Finn. Joe did not go into a lot of detail regarding the material, there were many other things going on, of course, but he was willing to show it to if I came to Boston. He mentioned on one occasion the idea of digitizing the material, but I have no idea as to what happened to that idea. Or my offer to edit the material, for that matter....

As JPG states, any response from Joe should and will be shared.

What I gather from Gordon is that material in Indianapolis was a bit of a hodge podge of material kept in file cabinets that they were allowed access to on a limited time basis so it was almost shoot-and-scoot.

#30 john glenn printz

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 13:19

The Racemaker Press description of their acquired Catlin-Russo materials, posted on line, is as follows: "The Bob Russo/Russ Catlin Collection - Bob Russo and Russ Catlin were two of the best known racing writers and historians both before and after WW II, contributing articles and information to Speed Age, Automobile Quarterly, Open Wheel, and numerous other publications. Their combined collection contains a large number of racing photographs, American racing statistics, correspondence, race programs and other materials."

I see no mention here of "boxes and boxes" of genuine pre-1931 AAA Contest Board files or archives, which were saved and preserved by Catlin and Friel in 1950.

An automobile racing fan club in the early 1980s got permission from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to copy on microfilm reels, all the post-1931 to 1955 Contest Board materials given to the Speedway by the AAA. These reels are still available and are for sale by Gordon E. White. However some of the copying was poorly done and is unreadable. The AAA did not give their remaining AAA Contest Board files to the Speedway in 1955/1956, when they got entirely out of racing, but rather these records were turned over to the Speedway in 1967. A lot of stuff for the 1931 to 1955 seasons was then missing.

NOTE: The Catlin-Russo AAA Contest Board material would cover 1909-1930 if it exists. The White microfilm reels deal mostly with the National Championship years of 1931-1955.

Edited by john glenn printz, 24 April 2012 - 20:39.


#31 luckytampa

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 22:08

I see no mention here of "boxes and boxes" of genuine pre-1931 AAA Contest Board files or archives, which were saved and preserved by Catlin and Friel in 1950.


That was pretty much the impression that I got, that it may not be exactly what was implied by Catlin's story about the dramatic rescue of the material. It seemed more a matter of a a number of boxes, but not the large number that would have been required to hold the records and files implied. I would hope to be mistaken regarding this, but I have a feeling that there might be less than meets the eye. If so...

As often poorly reproduced, spotty, incomplete, and frustrating as the material on the Gordon White reels of microfilm might be, it is pretty much a large part of what we have to work with, for better or worse.


#32 Lemnpiper

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 02:04

That was pretty much the impression that I got, that it may not be exactly what was implied by Catlin's story about the dramatic rescue of the material. It seemed more a matter of a a number of boxes, but not the large number that would have been required to hold the records and files implied. I would hope to be mistaken regarding this, but I have a feeling that there might be less than meets the eye. If so...

As often poorly reproduced, spotty, incomplete, and frustrating as the material on the Gordon White reels of microfilm might be, it is pretty much a large part of what we have to work with, for better or worse.



Hi Folks,


My questions are these :

How big a collection of boxes would there have been to hold all the info that was supposed to have been originially created covering the pre 1931 era? (garagefull? , small storage shed? etc.)

Did the AAA toss stuff at the end of each season ?

Could it be much of what was saved in fact was only bare bones minimum of all that once existed?


Somehow it seems til we get a definite idea of how much now exists vs what once existed we will never figure out who has what and how great it details the past racinf eras.




paul


#33 luckytampa

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:07

My questions are these :

How big a collection of boxes would there have been to hold all the info that was supposed to have been originially created covering the pre 1931 era? (garagefull? , small storage shed? etc.)

Keep in mind that the AAA was founded in 1902 and had a Racing Committee/Board from that year until the beginning of 1909. The Contest Board that came into existence in early 1909 as part of the agreement with the Manufacturers Contest Association and ceased operations at the end of 1955 generated quite a paper trail. From what we know and can extrapolate to the material in general is that sanctioned events were given a folder in which all the appropriate information for that event was kept: sanction request, entry forms, payout sheets, and any other pertinent correspondence or other information such as protests and so forth. The number of events for which the AAA issued sanctions beginning in 1909 was thousands. Add to that all the other information such bulletins, contest rules books, AIACR/FIA correspondence, the usual correspondence necessary to communicate with Zone personnel, financial records, and so forth and so on, you begin to have a lot of material to deal with, whether it is in file cabinets or boxes.

Did the AAA toss stuff at the end of each season ?

This, to the best of our knowledge, is unlikely as a normal matter of routine. However, this a possibility that cannot necessarily be ruled out or dismissed, at least in some part due to turnover of personnel, the move from New York to Washington and the usual lack of appreciation for the value of such records.

Could it be much of what was saved in fact was only bare bones minimum of all that once existed?

This is certainly one probability that cannot be dismissed. Pilferage of materials and lack of concern about their disposition are other possibilities.



#34 john glenn printz

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 11:45

Mr. "luckytampa" is an acute and informed man. He seems to know what's up. I myself have had grave doubts about Catlin's rescue of all the pre-1931 AAA Contest Board files and archives since 1984 and 1985, i.e. when the Indianapolis Motor Speedway failed to obtain anything at all from the Catlin estate.

And why are Catlin and Russo so much in error about the pre-1921 AAA racing history when they are sitting on piles of 1902-1920 genuine "prime rib" AAA Contest Board source material?

Catlin's history of the AAA years 1909-1917 is very different from the McMaken-Printz account "AMERICA RACING 1894 TO 1920" on this very data base. The McMaken-Printz narrative is not based on any AAA official records dating from 1902-1920. I couldn't find any. So I went ahead without them. I had no choice.

Edited by john glenn printz, 25 April 2012 - 12:33.


#35 luckytampa

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 13:26

An often overlooked aspect of the IMS material that Gordon White had microfilmed is that much of the pre-1921 material is tainted. By that, I mean that one will find references to "championship" events and drivers for years where there was no championship. Therefore, one must exercise caution and disregard that aspect of the material. The White material does contain some bulletins and other material from the pre-1921 period that are very helpful, but certainly not the depth or type of material one would expect to be kept by the Contest Board. Interesting, one finds some (many) of those errors reflected in the Catlin version of things.

While the Gordon White material is invaluable, its use by those unaware of the Means/ Haresnape/ Catlin/ Russo issues can lead (and has) to significant errors in scholarship.

If I might be so bold, I would humbly suggest that if there is anyone who should ring up Joe Freeman and chat about the Russo material is Mr. Printz. He is the leading expert in the field and I am sure that he and Dr. Freeman would have a nice chat about the material.

#36 john glenn printz

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 14:22

I am now trying to get in touch with Mr. Joe Freeman. We have never met or had any previous contact. It should be a very interesting exchange! I expect to learn a lot. I have sent the RACEMAKER PRESS both my phone and e-mail address.

#37 Doug Nye

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 15:50

Joe's OK - A Good Guy. I have spent quite a bit of time with him at various Collier Symposia and Goodwood events, etc. His own knowledge is immense and as a hands-on enthusiast he's worth listening to...as long as you appreciate any conversation is longhaul! Absolutely nothing wrong with that when such good gen pours out. I have emailed him and await a response concerning the archive, but I do know that he has many demands upon his time.

DCN

#38 sramoa

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 17:13

Interesting topic and very interesting things come out.At us for all documents - there may be anything quasi- his copy immediately the it is necessary to carry a load into archives,the man is looking for anything at us until the 1700s years certainly so can be searching.

I don't know onto how much cutting question but what Phil Harms database was born from and from where it's starting?

#39 carl s

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 19:55

I am now trying to get in touch with Mr. Joe Freeman. We have never met or had any previous contact. It should be a very interesting exchange! I expect to learn a lot. I have sent the RACEMAKER PRESS both my phone and e-mail address.


Just a suggestion, if you travel the 370 miles from Detroit to the July Millers at Milwaukee Event, you may want to discuss meeting there where Joe is a regular. Usually running high in the groove with the Hunt Magneto Roadster
http://s1011.photobu...nt=_DSC5034.jpg
Last year I read somewhere that he was preparing to bring the AAA Records out into the light of day.

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#40 D-Type

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 21:19

The right home for these records is the International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen. The same applies to the data that the late Phil Harms accumulated.

#41 luckytampa

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 23:16

I don't know onto how much cutting question but what Phil Harms database was born from and from where it's starting?


As in the case of Ken McMaken and J.G. Printz and others, Phil Harms did this the old-fashioned way: the sort of hard, never-ending research that was necessary prior to the appearance of the Internet and the Web.

From my discussions with Phil, he generated most of his data from the contemporary automotive journals and newspaper articles of the day as well as hunting down documents and so forth from no end of sources. One source was, of course, the Gordon White microfilm. Phil also unearthed lots of material in the various libraries in the Southern California area as well as the materials he found such as Motor West in the California State Library. He simply dug up material in the course of his research and then shared with just about everyone.

He generated at least one or two guides to the periodicals that he used in his work.

I do not disagree with Duncan as to where both the Harms and Russo material might truly belong, but to echo Doug, Joe is one of The Good Guys, and there are far, far worse fates than having Phil's collection end up at the Ford museum.


#42 Doug Nye

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:00

Oh I suspect that whatever records survive are already in pretty darned good hands. This just received from Joe Freeman, one of whose interests is Racemaker Press, and which clarifies this matter immensely.

Hi Doug - 

I do have the Russo/Catlin Archive, such as it is. I acquired it several years ago from Terry Freeman, Bob Russo's daughter. From what I can gather, a lot of people thought that 
Bob Russo claimed to have all the AAA records that Russ Catlin got out of that organization's Washington Office when the Contest Board was discontinued in 1956. 

The story Catlin put out was that he hurriedly filled the trunk of his car several times over to clean out the basement of the AAA, and had the great majority of the AAA records. 
Well, he may have done so, but what has surfaced contains significant gaps we have never been able to fill. The fabled treasure is I believe something of a myth. 

A number of records are contained on microfilm that Gordon White has, but when it came time to do serious race records, I believe Bob Russo collaborated with Phil Harms to put together the "race sheets" that are now on the internet.  From what I can see from the material I have, Russo did a lot of this work himself, never really getting credit for it, but I have never seen earlier records: i.e. actual AAA data sheets of the sort we have from late 1931 through 1941 and after the War. We do have some summary sheets done by Catlin from the Teens and the Twenties, but these we believe were done by Catlin later on.

In sum, I wish to dispel the myth that I am sitting on some sort of treasure trove of original AAA material.  I will say, however, that I do have a great deal of wonderful early material from collections such as Tommy Milton's and Peter Helck's, which we will use to publish authoritative works.  In particular, I would call your attention to our newest book (now featured on Dave Greenlees' The Old Motor website) on Frank Lockhart, by Jim O'Keefe and Sarah Morgan Wu (both longtime associates), which is the first in what we are calling the Racemaker Press American Racing History Series. 

In closing, I would say that regarding any discussion on the Nostalgia Forum Website (which I have not seen), please let
folks know that I will provide a list of what I own (as the Collier Collection/Revs Institute is now doing) when we get the time to compile it here. However, disabuse any and all that I am the primary source for original AAA material.

All the Best,

 Joe

PS  I too have authored some interesting recent projects soon to appear, including Fateful Eight: the Story of the Duesenberg Single Overhead Cam engines and Cars  and with Gordon Kirby and Tom Saal, Second to One: The Histories of All the Amazing Drivers Who Came Second But Never Won the Indy 500 (a title which will be shortened, for sure!)
 
The Racemaker Press
39 Church Street
Boston, MA  02116


DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 26 April 2012 - 09:01.


#43 D-Type

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:19

Is there any chance of persuading Joe Freeman et al to sign up here?

#44 ensign14

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:15

...which is the first in what we are calling the Racemaker Press American Racing History Series. 

:)

#45 john glenn printz

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 13:41

IT'S OVER!

The story of Catlin's rescue of the pre-1931 AAA Contest Board records is from Catlin himself. It is posted on the thread "AMERICAN RACING 1894 TO 1920". It is post 278, typed in on March 1, 2010 by myself, and is at the bottom of the post. It comes from an issue of AUTOMOBILE QUARTERLY.

It is the very source (i.e. AUTOMOBILE QUARTERLY) of Mr. Hans Etzrodt's information posted above on this very thread.

What Catlin says here is untrue. It is just another Catlin created yarn.

Now I wonder, which tall tale is the more interesting? The Kennerdell's conspiracy story or Mr. Catlin's rescue of all the pre-1931 Contest Board racing files and archives made from day one (i.e. 1902), from dangerous rats? What do you think? Both stories prevailed everywhere for decades and had everyone in thrall.

As Caspar Guttman says to Sam Spade, "We need straight talk and clear understanding."

Edited by john glenn printz, 26 April 2012 - 13:46.


#46 carl s

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 13:52

All the makings of a cozy, protracted journey of the principals on The Orient Express.
Poirot

#47 Doug Nye

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 16:48

Fogive me for being only a thick headed Brit, but I don't quite understand why Mr Printz sounds as if he has just unearthed the most earth-shattering scam since Bernie Madoff became a Ponzi fan...? Catlin seems to have been in essence just another enthusiast, who got swept up by his enthusiasm and simply went too far. If his long-suspected falsification (or fabrication) of the historical record went too far, surely within the great scheme of things it's merely a misdemeanour - not a capital offence?

DCN

#48 john glenn printz

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 17:14

Dear Mr. Nye;

I may be dense but it took me 33 years (i.e. 1955-1988) to figure it all out. I believe that Milton would still be listed as the 1920 AAA National Champion and that no less than ten AAA Championship would still be considered as valid for the years listed when there was no Championship. Exposing the Kennerdell swindle was not easy and Catlin's claim of saving all the AAA racing records from 1902 to 1931 was even more difficult. Do we want to set the U. S. racing records straight or not. Mr. McMaken also spent two decades on investigating these matters. What are historians suppose to be doing?

Best regards

Edited by john glenn printz, 30 April 2012 - 12:43.


#49 sramoa

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 18:56

I would not want to break this distinguished investigation - but I believe it already the result known - but would interest yet one two things.

Phil Harms database only in Ford museum can be reached,or for somebody got it?

Not tightly for Mr. Catlin owes , on the other hand to the sport : Get it lost in truth IMCA before 1938 big car division results ?

Were they the own researchers of other "championships" furthermore? For example :About Gene Heeter(and his papers) think in connection with CSRA

Edited by sramoa, 27 April 2012 - 17:26.


#50 Doug Nye

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 19:00

JGP - Well...perhaps not getting excited might be a reasonable start? I for one would like my absolute respect for your specialist research to survive undented. Yes, really.

sramoa - yeeesss, as you said... Does anyone else remember Professor Stanley Unwin? (Brits only might follow this, for which I apologise in advance).

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 26 April 2012 - 19:06.