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Dave Kindred Papers

Identifier: KINDRED

Scope and Contents

The Kindred Papers span the mid-1960s to mid-2000s. The collection includes correspondence, columns, and reporter’s notebooks from Kindred’s sixty-year career. The largest series consist of reader correspondence, reporter’s notebooks, research materials related to Kindred’s two most popular books, Sound and Fury (2006) and Morning Miracle (2010), and clippings of Kindred’s columns. The special formats series contains scrapbooks on the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal created for Kindred by his wife Cheryl. Special formats also includes sports memorabilia such as Kindred’s press passes from the Super Bowl, World Series, PGA Tour, Kentucky Derby, Democratic National Convention, etc.; and a sweatshirt and boxing trunks worn by Muhammad Ali. The research files are primarily made up of articles, clippings, and notes on various people and topics, which Kindred frequently annotated. The primary and secondary source materials support his published books and columns and also include sources for future works.

The collection is organized into the following series:

    1. Correspondence

    2. Written works

    3. Research files

    4. Special formats


  • The date range 1965-2021 represents the oldest to newest items identified during processing.


Biographical / Historical

Dave Kindred’s legacy as a sportswriter was cemented when he became the recipient of the Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement in sports journalism in 1991. He was the youngest winner of the prestigious award at just 50 years old. Other awards that he has received include the National Sportswriter of the Year (1997), The Curt Gowdy Media Award (2000), The Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism (2011), The Nat Fleischer Memorial Award (2012), the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award (2013), the Dan Jenkins Medal for Career Achievement in Sportswriting (2018), and the PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing (2018).

Only Frank Deford and Dave Kindred have won the Smith, Jenkins and PEN/ESPN awards--the three highest awards in sports journalism.

Dave Kindred was born on April 12, 1941 in Lincoln, Illinois to Marie Maloney (later Marie Cheek) (1914–2008) and John D. Kindred ( –1963), and grew up in Atlanta, Illinois. His journalism career began in the summer of 1959 with an internship at the Daily Courier in Lincoln, where he “did everything from proofreading to writing wedding reports to lifting papers off the press as one of America’s last ‘flyboys’” and was paid $32 a week in “crisp, new one-dollar bills every Friday afternoon.” That same year, he started a job at The Pantagraph in Bloomington, Illinois as sports copy desk chief and began attending Illinois Wesleyan University on a scholarship provided by the newspaper.

Kindred wed his high-school sweetheart, Cheryl Liesmen, on February 24, 1962, and graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) in 1963 with a B.A. in English, minoring in political science. He continued working for The Pantagraph until 1965 when he was hired as a copy editor and golf writer for the Louisville Times and the Louisville-Courier in Kentucky. It was in Louisville in 1966 that Kindred first met native son Muhammad Ali, whom he would go on to cover in over one dozen fights and interview numerous times. In 1969, he was promoted to sports editor at the Louisville Times, a position he retained until 1976.

Kindred left the Louisville Times for The Washington Post, an experience that would later lead him to write Morning Miracle: Inside the Washington Post: The Fight to Keep a Great Newspaper Alive (2010), a book about the decline of print newspapers. After leaving the Post in 1984, he became a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution until 1989, returning to the paper from 1993 to 1997 to write columns in both the metro and sports sections. In 1989, he co-founded The National (formally the The National Sports Daily) and signed on as a columnist and associate editor. The ambitious and short-lived daily paper, which ran from January 1990 to June 1991, was described in one headline as “The Greatest Paper That Ever Died.” When The National folded, Kindred signed on as a columnist for The Sporting News where he remained until 2006. He also wrote for Golf Magazine and Atlanta Magazine in the early 1990s. Since 1997, he has been a senior writer at Golf Digest.

In addition to the awards listed above, Kindred was named to the US Basketball Writers Hall of Fame in 1996 and elected to the National Sportscasters and Sportswriter Association Hall of Fame in 2017, the only living Illinoisian of four in the Hall and the only one to work anywhere but Chicago and in the 21st century. Kindred received IWU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998 and shared his talents by teaching opinion writing at IWU and Bradley University from 2009 to 2012.

During his sixty-year career, Kindred has, in his own words, “written from 22 countries on four continents, doing 9 Olympic Games, 2 America’s Cups, 1 World Cup, 37 World Series, 46 Masters, 36 Super Bowls, 17 Muhammad Ali fights (10 for the heavyweight championship), 11 other world championship fights involving Larry Holmes, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, 41 Kentucky Derbys, 35 NCAA Final Fours, 15 Indianapolis 500s, 13 Daytona 500s, as well as the NBA Finals, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Wimbledon, US Open (golf and tennis), British Open, Arctic Open golf in Akureyri, Iceland, rugby in Alice Springs, Australia, boar hunting in Mauritius, bocci in Singapore, and one King Charles Spaniel’s neighborhood birthday party in suburban Atlanta, Georgia …”.

In addition to Morning Miracle, Kindred has authored twelve books, including Basketball: The Dream Game in Kentucky (1976); A Year with the Cats: From Breathitt County to the White House (1977); Theismann (1987), co-authored with Joe Theismann; Heroes, Fools and Other Dreamers: A Sportswriter's Gallery of Extraordinary People (1988); Kentucky Derby: The Chance of a Lifetime (1988), co-authored with Joe Hirsch and Jim Bolus; Around the World in 18 Holes (1994), co-authored with Tom Callahan; Colorado Silver Bullets: For the Love of the Game: The Women Who Go Toe-To-Toe With the Men (1995); Sound and Fury: Two Powerful Lives, One Fateful Friendship (2006); and Glove Stories: The Collected Baseball Writings of Dave Kindred (2010). Kindred’s three most recent books—Mighty in Heart, True Grit, and The Unbelievables—follow the state championships of the Morton Lady Potters, a high school basketball team from Morton, IL whose games he has faithfully attended and written about since moving back to Illinois in 2010.


60 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


  • -Duplicate proof copies of Morning Miracle and Sound and Fury (2) -Published books with no apparent relevance to Kindred or his works -Duplicate articles -Articles, clippings, and other secondary print resources used in articles that Kindred wrote or intended to write, but with no strong evidential value or annotations* -Binder clips and other office supplies -Personal effects, like empty camera case -Commercial CD-ROMS, sports-related but with no direct connection to any Kindred content -Photocopy articles (not Kindred) about Lincoln Beachey; two aviation books—some related ms. notes from Kindred, but no apparent connection to any realized article or book -Manuscript from Thornton “Terry” Price: Adventure Golf in Thailand (2006) -Betsy P. Graham. Magazine Article Writing: Substance and Style (1980); no annotations from Kindred -Press packet regarding benefit for jockeys from Dennis Dillon of The Sporting News -Folder titled “College Athletics: The Problems”: Retained original notes and slightly obscure ephemeral publications, but deaccessioned newsprint and magazine articles written by authors other than Kindred which were not annotated by him -Book proposal (Black in Selma: The Uncommon Life of J.L. Chestnut, Jr.) by Dave’s friend Julia E. Cass, which Dave said in an email dated 7/9/18 that she wanted him to read. Book was published in 2007 by University of Alabama Press. Dave did not annotate Cass’s 103-page proposal. *many of these fall into Dave’s self-described “Notes / Ideas” category
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Illinois Wesleyan University Special Collections Repository

P.O. Box 2899
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington IL 61701 US