Vintage Sports Autographs

Stars of the Past

Gloria Callen  (1924-2016)

Olympic Games 1940   [AP Athlete of the Year 1942, held over 30 national records; International Swimming Hall of Fame 1984]

The single factor that has helped me most is practice . . . . It’s hard to combine social activities with swimming, because swimming comes first.  What makes it worse is that our meets are held on Sundays, and the best dances are on Saturday nights when I have to rest.
    Gloria Callen



Gloria Callen Jones autographed this 1941 Alan Maver cartoon. I also have a 1942 Tom Paprocki and a 1945 Al Pierotti cartoon.

"Glorious Gloria" Callen was voted the USA's Outstanding Woman Athlete of 1942. As a junior in high school, she set six American records in one day in March at the Madison Square Boy's Club, breaking one of Eleanor Holm's records among others. She went on to win the Indoor Nationals in Detroit (April) and the Outdoor Nationals for the third successive year, this time at Neenah, Wisconsin. That June she became the first woman to be elected president of the senior class at Nyack (N.Y.) High School. She also won New York's Fashion Academy Award as one of America's 13 best-dressed women.  Gloria Callen captured the hearts of American sportsmen while setting 35 American swimming records. She won 13 national Titles and set one World Record. Her first championship was in the National Long Distance Three Mile Swim in 1938 at Clemonton Lake, N.Y. shortly after this, she changed from freestyle to backstroke where she was undefeated until she retired for lack of goals and competition. She wanted to get a crack at World Record holder Cor Kint of Holland and she, like Kint, and other great young swimmers of the war years, never got a shot at world travel or at the Olympics. She made the 1940 U.S. Olympics team with stopwatch time to spare, but the team was a mythical honor with no place to go. Gloria's swimming career was over when she enrolled at Barnard College and joined the American Women's Voluntary Services. 

Eleanor Holm  (1913-2004)

1928 Olympic Games: 5th Place 100 meter backstroke; 1932 Olympic Games: Gold Medal 100 meter backstroke; 1936 Olympic Games: removed from team on charge of alcoholism and gambling   [actress, International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame 1980, International Swimming Hall of Fame 1966]

With all the hoopla around me in those years, when I see all the athletes I knew, I almost wish I had not been the glamour girl, that I had not been in the movies and in the nightclubs, that I had never had all those headlines. They were the true athletes, not me. I 've never thought of it that way before, but I wish I could have just been an athlete like they were. And yet I guess it was all that tinsel and Brundage that makes me still known.  But don't ask me to give the money back.  See, a wise guy again.  I wanted to prove that the girl singing in the nightclubs with Art's band could win another gold medal.  My custom was to have a glass of wine now and then. Anybody with any sense would know I wouldn't get loaded or drunk. On the S.S. Manhattan going over, all the athletes were in steerage, but I went up to first class every chance I got. One night, I had some champagne with my buddies the sportswriters - Alan Gould, Paul Gallico and Joe Williams.  The next day, the Olympic officials decided I had broken training, and they decided whatever the blah- blah words were in announcing I was off the team.  One theory is that Brundage had a little sneaker for me, but that I had ignored him  I don't remember him ever giving me the eye. But what really bothered him was that when we got to Berlin that year, I was bigger than he was.  Whenever we were together at a function, all the photographers were around me instead of him.  Hitler was fascinated by what happened to me.  He told me the Americans were not very bright to dismiss me, a sure gold- medal winner.  Especially for something like drinking champagne. He told me that wine was on the German Olympic team's training table. Through his interpreter, he kept asking me, “But what else did you do?”  When I kept telling him all I did was drink some champagne, he couldn't believe it.  Hitler also told me that if I had been a German, any punishment like that would have come after the Olympics, not before.  I was sitting right there when Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal and Hitler walked out.  I think he just got tired of Jesse winning so many gold medals. It was time to shake hands and Hitler just didn't want to shake hands.  I had a contract to play all the theaters if I won a gold medal.  Being off the team, I couldn't win. So that contract didn't hold. But because of all that happened, I got a new contract for more money. And later on, I swam in Billy Rose's Aquacade in 1939 and 1940 at the New York World's Fair. After my divorce from Art, I married Billy.  I had been on the 1928  team at Amsterdam when I was 14, a little girl from Brooklyn who had learned to swim in the surf at Long Beach where my mother put water wings on me. General Douglas MacArthur headed that 1928 team. I had a picture of me sitting on his lap. But after I divorced Billy Rose, his home burned down and there went my picture.  I was hardly dry at those Olympics when I was whisked from one studio to another - Warner Brothers, MGM, Paramount - to take movie tests. In the years before the next Olympics, I took diction lessons and drama lessons but as it turned out, I was only in one movie. I was Jane in a Tarzan movie. Glen Morris was Tarzan.
    Eleanor Holm Jarrett




Eleanor Holm autographed this 1929 Jack Sords cartoon.

Watch a video clip of Eleanor Holm parading with a group of hopeful Hollywood starlets.  Watch a video clip of Holm in scenes from a 1938 Tarzan movie.

Chet Jastremski  (1941-    )

Breaststroke—Olympic Games 1964: Bronze Medal 200m breaststroke  [International Swimming Hall of Fame 1977]




Chet Jastremski autographed this 1963 Tom Paprocki cartoon in November 2010.

Adolph Kiefer  (1918-2017)

Backstroke—Olympic Games 1936: Gold Medal 100m backstroke [International Swimming Hall of Fame 1965]

I can't say that I'm a better athlete than anyone else.  I can say that I've probably always been more determined.
    Adolph Kiefer



This 1945 Alan Maver cartoon autographed by Adolph Kiefer is one of three signed cartoons in my collection.

Watch a video clip of Adolf Kiefer discussing his career, swimming equipment company, and benefits of swimming to health.

Lenore Kight Wingard  (1911-2000)

Freestyle—Olympic Games 1932: 400 Meter Freestyle Silver Medal; 1936: 400 Meter Freestyle Bronze Medal [International Swimming Hall of Fame 1981]

I was a late starter.  But in those days, there weren't many people who really knew how to swim.  I just liked what I was doing . . . and kept on going.
    Lenore Kight Wingard



This 1935 Tom Paprocki cartoon autographed by Lenore Kight Wingard and Adolph Kiefer is one or three autographed by her in my collection.  The others are a 1935 Jack Sords and a 1935 Tom Paprocki (entitled "Berlin Bound"). 

George Kojac  (1910-1996)

Freestyle—1928 Olympic Games: 4th place 100 meter freestyle, Gold Medal 100 meter backstroke, Gold Medal 4x200 meter freestyle relay   [International Swimming Hall of Fame 1968]


George Kojac autographed this 1927 Jack Sords cartoon.

Watch a brief video clip of Kojac doing the backstroke in 1927.

Billy Smith  (1924-2013)

Freestyle—Olympic Games 1948: 400-meter freestyle—gold medal and 800-meter freestyle relay—gold medal   [All-American 1941-49,  International Swimming Hall of Fame 1966]

I went back to America to go to university in Boston and there I was coached by Billy Smith.  If I said I was feeling tired on Tuesday he'd say, “See you on Thursday, then,” Billy had no mercy.  He worked on the physical side of my performance . . . .  Billy was incredibly insightful in picking the right workout for the day that would fit in with my progression and suit my body's capabilities. He could read me on the track, and if I seemed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed he'd suggest a tougher workout than if it was the morning after I'd written a paper through the night.
    Pamela Coleman



Bill Smith autographed this 1941 Jack Sords cartoon. 

Jeanne Wilson Vaughan (1926-    )

Breaststroke— Olympic Games 1948: 200 Meter Breaststroke DNF



Jeanne Wilson Vaughan autographed this 1945 Jack Sords cartoon.

A four-time All-American, Wilson participated in the 1948 London Olympics, competing in the 100-meter breaststroke and on the U.S. medley relay team that won the event. Wilson was a holder of 10 American AAU records. 

Chris von Saltza  (1944-    )

Freestyle—Olympic Games 1960: 400 Meter Freestyle Gold Medal, 4x100 Meter Freestyle Relay Gold Medal, 4x100 Meter Medley Relay, 100 Meter Freestyle Silver Medal    [International Swimming Hall of Fame 1966]



Chris von Saltza autographed this 1958 Tom Paprocki cartoon.