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Black Cat Crosses the Path of Revered Athletic Club

(March 2007) posted on Wed Mar 21, 2007

Historic Olympic Club called on Black Cat Studio to digitize and reproduce archives.

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By Kacey King

When the San Francisco-based Olympic Club chose to remodel its downtown clubhouse location, it decided early on that one of the important aspects to its new look would be to better showcase its history.

After all, the Olympic Club is the oldest private athletic club in America. It was established in 1860 and, since that time, members have included some well-known names in athletics, including boxer "Gentleman Jim" Corbett (1887 heavyweight champion), tennis player Art "Tappy" Larsen (1950 US national champion), water polo player Maureen O’Toole (silver medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games), and others. Today, its roster includes more than 5000 active members from around the world, and those members regularly participate in athletic and social events wearing the Club’s internationally recognized "Winged O."

As you might guess, with that kind of history, the club had managed to archive quite a few items from years gone by-from black-and-white photographs representing just about every sport to architectural drawings, event announcements, ticket stubs, and even membership applications from folks like Ty Cobb. In addition, it had a collection of offset lithographic prints of The Olympian, a color magazine that served as the club’s newsletter dating back to 1925.

To digitize and reproduce some of its oldest archives into large-format prints for display on its walls, the club called on local print provider Black Cat Studio.

Image management
Black Cat jumped in with all four paws during the 3 months it would take to turn around the project. "It was our job to take this wide range of imagery and funnel it all into a workflow so the final output was pretty much homogenous," says Jay Daniel, Black Cat’s owner and primary photographer.

The Olympic Club’s in-house archivist began the process by going through all the organization’s materials and choosing just what was to be scanned. Bill Callan, acting archivist, says the club chose the selected items because they showed the heritage of the club from its inception to the present, and were a representation of the club’s classics-both sports and non-sports.

The selected materials were then separated into two groups: what would be scanned in by Black Cat and what would be done by the Olympic Club itself.