Fritz Pollard Papers

Dates: 1916-2004, undated
Size: 1 linear foot
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, 9525 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, Illinois 60628



Provenance: Donated by Eleanor C. Towns in 2005
Access: No restrictions
Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Fritz Pollard Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature
Processed by: Elizabeth Loch, Archival Specialist, July 2021

Biographical Note

Frederick Douglass "Fritz" Pollard was born on January 27, 1894 in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Pollard graduated from Lane Tech College Prep High School in 1912 where he participated in many activities and sports including track, football, baseball and the debate team. He went on to play football at Brown University. At Brown, he became the first African American to play in a Rose Bowl game in 1916.

After his Army service in World War I, Pollard joined the Akron (Ohio) Pros in 1920. He and Bobby Marshall were the first two Black players in the National Football League (NFL). In 1921 he earned another distinction becoming the first African American head coach in NFL history when the Pros named him co-coach of the team.

Pollard coached for four different NFL teams; the Pros/Indians (1920-1921 and 1925-1926), the Milwaukee Badgers (1922), the Hammond Pros (1923, 1925), and the Providence Steam Rollers (1925). Fritz also spent time in 1923 and 1924 playing for the Gilberton Cadamounts, a strong independent pro team in the Pennsylvania “Coal League.” In 1928, Pollard organized and coached the Chicago Black Hawks, an all-African American professional football team.

He died May 11, 1986 in Silver Spring, Maryland. Fritz Pollard was posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.


Scope and Content

The papers include clippings and photographs of Fritz Pollard that were collected by Eleanor Towns.


This small collection is organized alphabetically by item title.

Related Materials

Related materials at other institutions:

Container List

Box 1 Folder 1 Articles [newspaper, magazine, web] about Fritz Pollard, 1971-2004, undated
Box 1 Folder 2 Brown University’s Rose Bowl varsity team photograph [on paper], 1916 January 1
Box 1 Folder 3 Obituary of Fritz Pollard, 1986 May
Box 1 Folder 4 Photograph [on paper] of the first all-Black, All Star football team to play in Chicago [Pollard pictured], 1921 December 7
Print this page