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Everyone's a Critic

The Observer's culture blog

Friday, September 22, 2017

A FAMILY STORY IN THE DIGITIZED MICHIGAN DAILY, by Tim Athan

Northwestern University fullback Rich Athan, 1950

The Michigan Daily was founded in 1890 as a voice for U-M students. Recently it was announced that its 125 years have been digitized. That means researchers can quickly search over 200,000 pages of information written for students living in Ann Arbor.

My father, Richard Athan, was a star fullback at Northwestern in 1950. A search immediately found this summary from a Big 10 game:

NU SINKS NAVY (October 8, 1950)

Baltimore. Navy was torpedoed by the smashing of Rich Athan and bombarded by Dick Flowers' passing in a 22-0 shellacking dealt out by Northwestern before 22,000 spectators yesterday…

Athan ripped through for two touchdowns after teaming with Dick Alban to tear the Navy line apart…

The busy and tireless Athan took the ball 25 times through Navy's line to gain 140 yards...

I sent an email to my 87-year-old father with this information, and soon he had found in a Daily a 67-year-old picture of his young self literally leaping over a fallen player on his way to major yardage against Michigan.

This digitization provides a treasure trove to researchers. It provided me with a glimpse into my family's past, and maybe you will find local history of interest to you.


posted by John Hilton at 5:22 p.m. | 0 comments


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