In his 1905 Reflections on History, Jakob Burkhardt warns of the risks attendant with studying a single subject for an extended length of time. “The man who walks one road of limited interest too long may fall by the wayside,” he advises, before adding this truly cautionary tale: “Buckle’s study of the Scottish divines of the seventeenth century cost him paralysis of the brain.” My project has not cost me paralysis of the brain …yet. I have been walking this one road for a very long time, though, and it is only thanks to the advice, encouragement, timely pressure, and tremendous help of a great number of people that I have managed to near its end without having gone the way of Buckle.
First of all, a number of institutions and individuals granted financial, logistical, and intellectual support for my foray into the history of sports in the Weimar Republic, and without them I could not have even begun this project. Two Fulbright Fellowships, an initial award for the academic year 1997–98 and a renewal for 1998–99, enabled me to live, study, and conduct my initial primary research in Berlin. In 2006, the American Council on Germany supported me with a Richard M. Hunt Fellowship so that I could return to Berlin for some critical follow-up trips to the archives. During my initial stay in Berlin and on subsequent trips, the directors and staff of the Sportmuseum granted me unfettered access to their collection of sports magazines and other documents from the 1920s, and they assisted me throughout my searches with friendliness and professionalism. The Staatsbibliothek in Berlin proved an invaluable resource as well, and its staff managed to ferret out some real gems for me from the library’s vast holdings. The Zentralbibliothek der Sportwissenschaften der Deutschen Sporthochschule Köln has proven remarkably speedy, efficient, and professional—just like a Weimar body—in providing me with several of the images that I used for this project, and I particularly wish to thank