About This Exhibit

The nomination of Frederick Douglass (“Fritz”) Pollard to the Professional Football Hall of Fame provides the opportunity for Brown University to remember one of its all-time heroes. This exhibit honors an African American who was a true pioneer in every sense of the word — an athlete at both the collegiate and professional levels, a promoter of athletic and artistic talent, a successful business strategist, an activist for racial equality, and a mentor to the young. Pollard’s recent election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame is, indeed, the capstone to a marvelous career in, and outside of, sports.

Brown University was always close to Pollard’s heart, and he expressed great pride that both his son and grandson later entered the University. He remained actively involved with the Brown Alumni Association and with the Class of 1919, of which he was a member. He served as Class Marshall at the 50th Reunion of his class in 1969, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (LLD) in 1981. His long and full life ended in 1986 at age 92. With this digital exhibit, we commemorate his legacy both at Brown and beyond.

The items shown in this exhibit comprise part of the Edward North Robinson Collection of Athletics at the Brown University Archives. Edward North Robinson, Class of 1896, returned to Brown as football coach in 1900 and led his teams to 17 winning seasons in the subsequent 19 years. Indeed, it was “Robbie” Robinson who coached Fritz Pollard through two winning football seasons at Brown in 1915 and 1916. The Collection was established in 1943 by Robinson’s friends, who purchased the library of the Boston Athletic Association for the Brown University Archives and added their own scrapbooks, photographs, and other memorabilia. In December 2000, the Collection was endowed by Robbie’s grandson, Jackson Robinson ‘64.

Top image: Fritz as Class Marshall at the 50th reunion of the Class of 1919.
Right image: Three generations of Pollards. Left to right: Fritz III, Fritz, Fritz Jr.