THE HANK KAPLAN BOXING ARCHIVE: Opening to the public April 1, 2012.
Appraised in 2008 at over $2.94 million, THE HANK KAPLAN BOXING ARCHIVE is inarguably the largest and most comprehensive collection of boxing history in the nation. Kaplan, widely regarded as the nation’s foremost boxing historian, kept the entire collection in his Florida bungalow and two-car garage during his lifetime. Featured among the 2,600 book titles, 500,000 rare prints and negatives, 790 boxes of newspaper clippings from 1890-2007, 300 audiotapes and videotapes, 1200 posters, dozens of scrapbooks, reams of correspondence, and 775 cubic feet of memorabilia, is a heavy bag Cassius Clay punched before renaming himself Muhammad Ali, as well as a gold cigarette case that heavyweight Max Baer gave his trainer. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew tore the roof off Kaplan’s garage, exposing the entire collection to the elements, yet he was able to salvage almost everything. The Hank Kaplan Boxing Archive was bequeathed to the Brooklyn College Library’s Department of Archives and Special Collections onDecember 14, 2007 by its creator and collector, Hank Kaplan, just days before his death.
HANK KAPLAN (1919-2007), boxing historian and collector, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Kaplan was a promoter, public relations consultant, and writer and editor of numerous articles and books on boxing. He founded the Wide World of Boxing Digest, wrote for the London Times and Der Stern and edited Boxing World Magazine. He served as a long time consultant to Sports Illustrated Magazine, ESPN, HBO, and Showtime. Kaplan’s encyclopedic knowledge of the sport made him an indispensible resource for generations of sportswriters and historians.He was honored with the James J. Walker Award for long and meritorious service from the Boxing Writers Association of America (2003) and was elected the first president of the World Boxing Historians Association. Kaplan helped establish the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canasota, N.Y., where he created its research library and served on its nominating committee. Hank Kaplan was inducted into both the World Boxing Hall of Fame (1999) and the International Boxing Hall of Fame (2006).
Hank Kaplan knew many boxing champions: Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Henry Armstrong, Jake LaMotta, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Sugar Ray Leonard. He developed a close relationship with Muhammad Ali, whom he met as an 18-year-old at the Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach (1960).