Extent: 1 box
The collection on the New York City Marathon is an artificial collection compiled by museum staff from two separate gifts from the 1996 and 1997 New York City Marathons. The primary formats represented in the collection are registration card for the New York City Marathon, New York City Marathon Program, runners’ numbers, letter and certificate of completion, a medal of completion, newspapers, coupons given to participants, and brochures about health issues.
The first New York City Marathon was organized by Fred Lebow and Vince Chiappetta in 1970, and the course ran exclusively through Central Park. The entry fee at the time was $1 and the total event budget was $1000. There were 127 entrants for the first marathon, with only 55 men finishing the race; the sole female dropped out. In 1976, Lebow and the 2,090 entrants ran the New York City Marathon through all five boroughs, including five bridges.
The marathon is known as an event that brings out community spirit, and has proven to be especially true during time of struggle for the city. In November of 2001, less than two months after the September 11 terrorist attacks the race became a symbol of hope and renewal for participants, spectators, and all New Yorkers. It once again held this significance in 2012, following Superstorm Sandy, when the marathon was cancelled due to the damage of the storm, yet thousands still gathered in Central Park in order to run. The New York City Marathon is sponsored by the New York Road Runners, a running group founded in the Bronx in 1958, for which marathon co-founder Fred Lebow held the presidency from 1972 through the early 1990s. In 2003, the Marathon began partnering with title sponsors, including ING global financial services and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
Scope and Content
The Museum of the City of New York’s collection on the New York City Marathon is a collection compiled by the museum staff. The primary formats in the collection include memorabilia from the 1996 marathon and the 1997 marathon.
The materials from the 1996 marathon are comprised of items sent out to the runners before the day of the marathon and those sent out after the marathon. Pre-race materials include a 1996 New York City Marathon drawstring plastic bag, a thermal reflective blanket, final instructions pertaining to the day of the marathon, how to obtain the results, a brochure and order form for photos and videos of the marathon, a special advertising section for the 1996 New York City Marathon presented by Runner’s World, a 1996 New York City Marathon Program, a runner’s number tag, registration card, an advertisement brochure for Gatorade, promotional items for companies such as Dannon Yogurt, Aunt Millie’s, New York Road Runners Club and American Express. There are also health brochures pertaining to prostate cancer and toenail fungus.
Post-race materials include a New York City Marathon medal, a form pertaining to engraving the medal, a postcard with unofficial results for Daniel A. Carlson, an certificate with official results for Daniel A. Carlson, a promotional brochure from The King Group, a brochure with instructions on how to apply to the 1997 Marathon, a letter honoring Daniel A. Carlson’s completion of the marathon from the President of the New York Road Runners Club, Allan Steinfeld and a promotional order form for the New York City Marathon 1996 Official Lithograph.
The materials from the 1997 marathon include a 1997 New York City Marathon drawstring plastic bag, a thermal reflective blanket, a New York City Marathon Special Preview Section from the October 28, 1997 edition of the New York Times, coverage of the November 2, 1997 New York City Marathon from the November 03, 1997 edition of the New York Times, a brochure for the 1997 New York City Marathon race application of U.S. Residents, a “No Parking” sign and a runner’s number tag.
The Museum is grateful for the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities; this collection was reprocessed as part of the NEH project Illuminating New York City History through Material Culture: A Proposal to Process, Catalog, Digitize, and Rehouse the Ephemera Collections of the Museum of the City of New York.