The Bentley Historical Library will be closed November 23, 24, & 25 in observance of Thanksgiving

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Building a Culture of Sport on Campus

A new Bentley exhibit showcases how Michigan built its athletic traditions beginning in 1860.

In conjunction with U-M’s Sport and the University theme semester, the Bentley Historical Library is pleased to present a new exhibit, “Building a Culture of Sport on Campus.”

For many of its earliest students, U-M could not be considered a great university until its teams could compete on equal footing with the Harvards and Yales of the East. Not until, as one writer put it, “our colors, ‘the azure-blue and maize,’ shall never dip, e’en though the Red and Blue frown on us.”

By the mid-1880s, men’s intramural and intercollegiate athletics had become an important part of student life. By the first decade of the next century, women students would develop their own culture of sport as well.

Come peruse photos, letters, programs, medals, and more from our collections, all showcasing how the earliest sporting traditions arose at U-M.

The Bentley Historical Library is located at 1150 Beal Avenue, on U-M’s North Campus. For a full map and directions, please click our Visiting page.