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Jim Thorpe

Thorpe posing in his football uniform in the late 1910s or early 1920s
No. 31, 2, 1     
Running back
Defensive back
Personal information
Date of birth: May 28, 1888(1888-05-28)
Prague, Oklahoma, USA
Date of death: March 28, 1953 (aged 64)
Lomita, California, USA
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
College: Carlisle Indian
Debuted in 1920 for the Canton Bulldogs
Last played in 1928 for the Chicago Cardinals
Career history
 As player:
Career highlights and awards
Stats at
Pro Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame
Medal record
Men’s athletics
Competitor for the  United States
Olympic Games
Gold 1912 Stockholm Pentathlon
Gold 1912 Stockholm Decathlon
Jim Thorpe
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
April 14, 1913 for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
September 25, 1919 for the Boston Braves
Career statistics
Batting average     .252
Home runs     7
Runs batted in     82
Hits     176

Jacobus Franciscus "Jim" Thorpe (Sac and Fox (Sauk): Wa-Tho-Huk) (May 28, 1888 – March 28, 1953)[1] was an American athlete. Considered one of the most versatile athletes in modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, played American football at the collegiate and professional levels, and also played professional baseball and basketball. He lost his Olympic titles after it was found he was paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the amateur status rules.

Of Native American and European American ancestry, Thorpe grew up in the Sac and Fox nation in Oklahoma. He played on several All-American Indian teams throughout his career, and barnstormed as a professional basketball player with a team composed entirely of Native Americans.

In 1950, Thorpe was named the greatest athlete of the first half of the twentieth century by the Associated Press (AP). In 1999, he was ranked third on the AP list of top athletes of the 20th century.

His professional sports career ended in the years of the Great Depression, and Thorpe struggled to earn a living from then on. He worked several odd jobs, struggled with alcoholism, and lived his last years in failing health and poverty. In 1983, thirty years after his death, the International Olympic Commission (IOC) restored his Olympic medals to his name.


Early life

Information about Thorpe's birth, full name, and ethnic background varies widely.[2] He was born in Indian Territory, but no birth certificate has been found. Thorpe was generally considered born on May 28, 1888,[1] near the town of Prague, Oklahoma.[3] He was christened "Jacobus Franciscus Thorpe" in the Catholic Church.

Thorpe's parents were of mixed-race descent and both were Catholic. His father, Hiram Thorpe, had an Irish father and a Sac and Fox Indian mother. His mother, Charlotte Vieux, had a French father and a Potawatomi mother, a descendant of Chief Louis Vieux. Thorpe was raised as a Sac and Fox, and his native name was Wa-Tho-Huk, translated as "a path lighted by a great flash of lightning" or, more simply, "Bright Path".[2] As was the custom for Sac and Fox, Thorpe was named for something occurring around the time of his birth, in this case the light brightening the path to the cabin where he was born. Thorpe's mother was Roman Catholic and raised her children in that faith, which Thorpe observed throughout his adult life.[4]

Together with his twin brother, Charlie, Thorpe went to school in Stroud, Oklahoma at the Sac and Fox Indian Agency School. Charlie died of pneumonia when he was nine years old.[5] Charlie had helped Jim through school. Thorpe did not handle his brother's death well and ran away from school on several occasions. Hiram Thorpe then sent him to the present-day Haskell Indian Nations University, in Lawrence, Kansas, so that he would not run away again.[6] When his mother died of childbirth complications two years later,[7] Thorpe fell into a depression. After several arguments with his father, he ran away from home to work on a horse ranch.[6]

In 1904, Thorpe returned to his father and decided to attend Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. There he was coached by Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner, one of the most influential coaches in early American football history.[8] Later that year, Hiram Thorpe died from gangrene poisoning after a hunting accident.[7] Thorpe once again dropped out of school. He resumed farm work for a few years and then returned to Carlisle Indian Industrial School, where his athletic career commenced.[6]

Amateur career

College career

Jim Thorpe in Carlisle Indian Industrial School uniform, about 1909

Thorpe reportedly began his athletic career at Carlisle in 1907 when he walked past the track and beat the school's high jumpers with an impromptu 5-ft 9-in jump while still wearing street clothes.[9] His earliest recorded track and field results are from 1907. In addition, he also competed in football, baseball, lacrosse and even ballroom dancing, winning the 1912 inter-collegiate ballroom dancing championship.[10] Reportedly, Pop Warner was hesitant to allow Thorpe, his star track and field athlete, to compete in a physical game such as football.[11] Thorpe, however, convinced Warner to let him run some plays against the school's defense; Warner assumed he would be tackled easily and give up the idea of playing football.[11] Thorpe "ran around past and through them not once, but twice."[11] He then walked over to Warner and said, "Nobody is going to tackle Jim," while flipping him the ball.[11]

Thorpe gained nationwide attention for the first time in 1911.[12] As a running back, defensive back, placekicker, and punter for his school's football team, Thorpe scored all of his team's points—four field goals and a touchdown—in an 18–15 upset of Harvard.[11] His team finished the season 11–1.

The following year, he led Carlisle to the national collegiate championship, scoring 25 touchdowns and 198 points.[8] Carlisle's 1912 record included a 27–6 victory over Army.[3] In that game, Thorpe scored a 92-yard touchdown that was nullified by a penalty incurred by a teammate; Thorpe then scored a 97-yard touchdown on the next play.[13]

During that game, future President Dwight Eisenhower injured his knee while trying to tackle Thorpe. Eisenhower recalled of Thorpe in a 1961 speech, "Here and there, there are some people who are supremely endowed. My memory goes back to Jim Thorpe. He never practiced in his life, and he could do anything better than any other football player I ever saw."[8] Thorpe was awarded All-American honors in both 1911 and 1912.[3]

Football was—-and would remain—-Thorpe's favorite sport.[14] He competed only sporadically in track and field. Nevertheless, track and field would become the sport in which Thorpe would gain his greatest fame. "In the spring of 1912 he started training for the Olympics. He had confined his efforts to the jumps, the hurdles and the shot-put but now he undertook the pole vault, the javelin, discus, the hammer and the fifty-six-pound weight. In the Olympic trials held at Celtic Park in New York, his all-round ability stood out in all these events and so he riveted a claim to a place on the team that went to Sweden."[3]

Olympic career

Thorpe at the 1912 Summer Olympics.

For the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, two new multi-event disciplines were on the program, the pentathlon and the decathlon. A pentathlon based on the ancient Greek event had been organized at the 1906 Summer Olympics. The 1912 edition consisted of the long jump, the javelin throw, 200-meter dash, the discus throw and the 1500-meter run.

The decathlon was an entirely new event in athletics, although it had been part of American track meets since the 1880s and a version had been featured on the program of the 1904 St. Louis Olympics. The events of the new decathlon were slightly different from the American version. Both events seemed a fit for Thorpe, who was so versatile that he alone had formed Carlisle's team in several track meets.[3] He could run the 100-yard dash in 10 seconds flat, the 220 in 21.8 seconds, the 440 in 51.8 seconds, the 880 in 1:57, the mile in 4:35, the 120-yard high hurdles in 15 seconds, and the 220-yard low hurdles in 24 seconds.[3] He could long jump 23 ft 6 in and high-jump 6 ft 5 in.[3] He could pole vault 11 feet, put the shot 47 ft 9 in, throw the javelin 163 feet, and throw the discus 136 feet.[3]

Thorpe entered the U.S. Olympic trials for both the pentathlon and the decathlon. He easily won the awards, winning three events, and was named to the pentathlon team, which also included future International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Avery Brundage. There were only a few candidates for the decathlon team, and the trials were cancelled.

Thorpe competed in his first—and, as it turned out, only—decathlon in the Olympics. Thorpe's Olympic record of 8,413 points would stand for nearly two decades.[9]

Thorpe's schedule in the Olympics was crowded. Along with the decathlon and pentathlon, he entered the long-jump and high-jump competitions. The first event scheduled was the pentathlon. Thorpe was the class of the field, winning four events. He placed only third in the javelin, an event he had not competed in before 1912. Although the competition was primarily decided on place points, points were also calculated for the marks achieved in the events. He won the gold medal.

The same day, Thorpe qualified for the high-jump final. He placed fourth and also took seventh place in the long jump. Thorpe's final event was the decathlon, where tough competition from local favorite Hugo Wieslander was expected. Thorpe, however, easily defeated Wieslander, finishing nearly 700 points ahead of him. He placed in the top four of all ten events. Overall, Thorpe won eight of the two competitions' 15 individual events.

As was the custom of the day, the medals were presented to the athletes during the closing ceremonies of the games. Along with the two gold medals, Thorpe also received two challenge prizes, which were donated by King Gustav V of Sweden for the decathlon and Czar Nicholas II of Russia for the pentathlon. Several sources recount that, when awarding Thorpe his prize, King Gustav said, "You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world," to which Thorpe replied, "Thanks, King."[15][16](See Sportsperson.)

Thorpe's successes had not gone unnoticed at home, and he was honored with a ticker-tape parade on Broadway.[15] He later remembered, "I heard people yelling my name, and I couldn't realize how one fellow could have so many friends."[15]

Apart from his track and field appearance, Thorpe also played in one of two exhibition baseball matches held at the 1912 Olympics, which featured two teams made up of U.S. track and field athletes. It was not Thorpe's first try at baseball, as the rest of the world would soon learn.

All-Around Champion

After his victories at the Olympic Games in Sweden, on September 2, 1912, Thorpe returned to Celtic Park, the home of the Irish American Athletic Club, in Queens, New York (where he had qualified four months earlier for the Olympic Games), to compete in the Amateur Athletic Union's All-Around Championship. He won seven of the ten events contested, and came in second in the remaining three, garnering a total of 7,476 points, breaking the previous record of 7,385 points set in 1909, (also set at Celtic Park), by Martin Sheridan, the champion athlete of the Irish American Athletic Club.[17] Sheridan, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, was present to watch his record broken, and approached Thorpe after the event. He shook his hand saying, "Jim my boy, you're a great man. I never expect to look upon a finer athlete." Sheridan told a reporter from The New York World, "Thorpe is the greatest athlete that ever lived. He has me beaten fifty ways. Even when I was in my prime, I could not do what he did today."[18]


In 1913, strict rules regarding amateurism were in force for athletes participating in the Olympics. Athletes who received money prizes for competitions, who were sports teachers, or who had previously competed against professionals, were not considered amateurs and were not allowed to compete in the Olympics.

In late January 1913, U.S. newspapers published stories announcing that Thorpe had played professional baseball. It is not entirely certain which newspaper first published the story; the earliest article found is from the Providence Times, but the Worcester Telegram is usually mentioned as the first.[15] Thorpe had indeed played professional baseball in the Eastern Carolina League for Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 1909 and 1910, receiving meager pay; reportedly as little as $2 ($47 in current dollar terms) a game and as much as $35 ($815 in current dollar terms) a week.[19] College players, in fact, regularly spent summers playing professionally, but most, as opposed to Thorpe, used aliases.[8]

Although the public did not seem to care much about Thorpe's past,[20] the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), and especially its secretary James Edward Sullivan, took the case very seriously.[21] Thorpe wrote a letter to Sullivan, in which he admitted playing professional baseball:[15]

...I hope I will be partly excused by the fact that I was simply an Indian schoolboy and did not know all about such things. In fact, I did not know that I was doing wrong, because I was doing what I knew several other college men had done, except that they did not use their own names....

His letter did not help. The AAU decided to retroactively withdraw Thorpe's amateur status and asked the International Olympic Commission (IOC) to do the same. Later that year, the IOC unanimously decided to strip Thorpe of his Olympic titles, medals, and awards and declared him a professional.

Although Thorpe had played for money, the AAU and IOC did not follow the rules for disqualification. The rulebook for the 1912 Olympics stated that protests had to be made within 30 days from the closing ceremonies of the games.[13] The first newspaper reports didn't appear until January 1913, about six months after the Stockholm Games had concluded.[13] However, AAU and IOC officials were ignorant of this rule or chose to ignore it. There also is some evidence that Thorpe's amateur status had been questioned long before the Olympics, but the AAU had looked past the issue until being confronted with it in 1913.

The only positive side to this affair for Thorpe was that, as soon as the news got out that he had been declared a professional, offers came in from professional clubs.[22]

Professional career

A free agent

Declared a rare free agent in the era of the reserve clause, Jim Thorpe had his pick of baseball teams for which to play.[23] He turned down a starting position with the Saint Louis Browns to be a reserve with the New York Giants. One of the immediate benefits of joining the team came that October, when the Giants joined the Chicago White Sox for a world tour.[24] Barnstorming across the United States and then around the world, Thorpe was the unquestioned star of the world tour.[25] Everywhere the teams went, Thorpe brought them publicity and increased the tour's box office receipts. Among the highlights were meetings with the Pope and the last khedive of Egypt and playing before 20,000 in London with King George V in attendance. While in Rome, Thorpe was filmed wrestling with another baseball player on the floor of the Coliseum. No copy of that film exists.

Baseball, football, and basketball

Thorpe signed with the New York Giants baseball club in 1913 and played sporadically with them as an outfielder for three seasons. After playing in the minors with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1916,[26] he returned to the Giants in 1917 but was sold to the Cincinnati Reds early in the season. In the "double no-hitter" between Fred Toney of the Reds and Hippo Vaughn of the Chicago Cubs, Thorpe drove in the winning run in the 10th inning.[27] Late in the season, he was sold back to the Giants. Again, he played sporadically for the Giants in 1918 and was traded to the Boston Braves on May 21, 1919, for Pat Ragan. In his career, he amassed 91 runs scored, 82 runs batted in and a .252 batting average over 289 games.[28] He continued to play baseball with teams in the minor leagues until 1922.

But Thorpe had not abandoned football either. He first played professional football in 1913, as a member of the Indiana-based Pine Village Pros, a team that had a several-season winning streak against local teams in the 1910s.[29] By 1915, Thorpe had signed with the Canton Bulldogs They paid him $250 ($5,359 in current dollar terms) a game, a tremendous wage at the time.[30] Before Thorpe's signing, Canton was averaging 1,200 fans a game; 8,000 showed up for his debut against Massillon.[30] The team won titles in 1916, 1917, and 1919. Thorpe reportedly ended the 1919 championship game by kicking a wind-assisted 95–yard punt from his team's own 5-yard line, effectively putting the game out of reach.[30] In 1920, the Bulldogs were one of 14 teams to form the American Professional Football Association (APFA), which would become the National Football League (NFL) two years later. Thorpe was nominally the APFA's first president; however, he spent most of the year playing for Canton and a year later was replaced by Joseph Carr.[31] He continued to play for Canton, coaching the team as well. Between 1921 and 1923, Thorpe played for the LaRue, Ohio, (Marion County, Ohio) Oorang Indians, an all-Native American team. Although the team went 3–6 in 1922,[32] and 1–10 in 1923,[33] Thorpe played well and was selected to the Green Bay Press-Gazette's first All-NFL team in 1923 (the Press-Gazette's team would later be formalized by the NFL as the league's official All-NFL team in 1931).[34]

Thorpe never played on an NFL championship team. He retired from pro football at the age of 41,[5] having played 52 NFL games for six teams from 1920 to 1928.

World Famous Indians letterhead

Until 2005, most of Thorpe's biographers were unaware of his basketball career.[35] A ticket discovered in an old book that year brought to light his career in basketball. By 1926, he was the primary draw for the "World Famous Indians" in LaRue, which sponsored traveling football, baseball, and basketball teams. "Jim Thorpe and His World-Famous Indians" barnstormed for at least two years (1927–28) in parts of New York, Pennsylvania, and Marion, Ohio. Although pictures of Thorpe in his WFI basketball uniform were printed on postcards and published in newspapers, this period of his life was not well documented.

Later life

Jim Thorpe

In 1913, Thorpe married Iva Miller,[3] whom he had met at Carlisle. They had four children: Jim Jr. (who died at age 2), Gale, Charlotte and Grace.[3] Thorpe was a chronic alcoholic in his later years.[36] Miller filed for divorce from Thorpe in 1925, claiming desertion.[37]

In 1926, Thorpe married Freeda V. Kirkpatrick (b.September 19, 1905, d. March 2, 2007). She was working for the manager of the baseball team on which he was playing at the time.[38] They had four sons: Carl, William, Richard and John "Jack".[3] William, Richard and Jack survived their mother, who had divorced their father in 1941 after 15 years of marriage.

After the end of his athletic career, Thorpe struggled to support his family. He found it difficult to work outside sports and never kept a job for an extended period of time. During the Great Depression in particular, Thorpe held various jobs, among others as an extra in several movies, usually playing an Indian chief in Westerns. He also worked as a construction worker, a bouncer, a security guard, and a ditch digger, and he briefly joined the United States Merchant Marine in 1945.[39][40]

By the 1950s, Thorpe had no money left. When he was hospitalized for lip cancer in 1950, he was admitted as a charity case.[41] At a press conference announcing the procedure, Thorpe's wife wept and pleaded for help, saying, "[W]e're broke.... Jim has nothing but his name and his memories. He has spent money on his own people and has given it away. He has often been exploited."[41]

In early 1953, Thorpe suffered his third heart attack while eating dinner with his third wife, Patricia Askew, in his trailer home in Lomita, California. Artificial respiration briefly revived him, and he was able to speak to those around him, but lost consciousness shortly afterward and died on March 28.[3]

Grace, a tribal judge and an anti-nuclear activist who participated in the occupation of Alcatraz,[42][43] was also a World War II veteran, having served as a Women's Army Corps in the Philippines and Japan. She was awarded a Bronze Star for her actions at the battle of New Guinea. She died in 2008.[44]


Thorpe's accomplishments occurred during a period of racial inequality in the United States. It has been often suggested that his medals were stripped because of his ethnicity.[45] While it is difficult to prove this, the public outcry at the time largely reflected this view.[46] When Thorpe won his gold medals, not all Native Americans were even recognized as citizens. (At one time the US government had wanted them to make concessions to receive such recognition. In 1924, American Indians were granted citizenship.)[47]

While he attended Carlisle, Thorpe's and other students' ethnicity was openly used as a marketing tool. It made a story to link his prowess to the racial stereotype of Native Americans as fierce warriors.[48] A photograph of Thorpe and the 1911 football team emphasized the racial split between the competing athletes. The inscription on the football reads, "1911, Indians 18, Harvard 15."[49] Additionally, the school often categorized sporting competitions as conflicts pitting Indians against whites. Newspaper headings such as “Indians Scalp Army 27-6” or “Jim Thorpe on Rampage” made stereotypical journalistic play of the Indian nature of Carlisle's football team.[48] The first notice of Thorpe in The New York Times ran with the headline "Indian Thorpe in Olympiad.; Redskin from Carlisle Will Strive for Place on American Team";[12] his accomplishments were described in a similar racial context by other newspapers and sportswriters throughout his life.[50]


When Thorpe's third wife, Patricia, heard that the small Pennsylvania town of Mauch Chunk was desperately seeking to attract business, she struck a deal with the town. Mauch Chunk bought Thorpe's remains, erected a monument to him, and renamed the town in his honor (see Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania), despite the fact that Thorpe had never set foot there.[51] Thorpe's monument, featuring the quote from Gustav V, can still be found there.[7] Thorpe also received great acclaim from the press. In 1950, an Associated Press poll of nearly 400 sportswriters and broadcasters voted Thorpe the greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th century.[52] In 1999, the Associated Press placed him third on their list of top athletes of the century, behind Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan.[53] ESPN ranked him seventh on their list of North American athletes of the century.[54] President Richard Nixon, as authorized by Senate Joint Resolution 73, proclaimed Monday, April 16, 1973 as "Jim Thorpe Day."[55]

  • In 1950 the Associated Press named Thorpe the "greatest American football player" of the first half of the century.[56]
  • He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. He is often said to be the first player inducted, although the first person inducted was Chicago Bears founder, owner, coach and player George Halas. He is memorialized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame rotunda with the larger-than-life Jim Thorpe statue.
  • Thorpe was inducted into halls of fame for college football, U.S. Olympic teams, and national track and field competition.[8]
  • In 1986 the Jim Thorpe Association established an award in his name. The Jim Thorpe Award is awarded annually to the best defensive back in college football.

Thorpe was memorialized in the film Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951) starring Burt Lancaster and directed by Michael Curtiz (who also did Casablanca). Although Thorpe was listed as a consultant in the credits, he did not earn any money for the movie. He had already sold the film rights to MGM in 1931 for $1,500 ($21,400 in current dollar terms).[57] The movie—titled Man of Bronze when released in the UK—-included archival footage of the 1912 and 1932 Olympics as well as a banquet in which Thorpe was honored. Thorpe was seen in some long shots in the film; one scene had Thorpe as a coaching assistant.

Olympic awards reinstated

Over the years, supporters of Thorpe attempted to get his Olympic titles reinstated.[58] US Olympic officials, including former teammate and later president of the IOC Avery Brundage, rebuffed several attempts, with Brundage once saying, "Ignorance is no excuse."[59] Most persistent were Robert Wheeler and Florence Ridlon. They succeeded in having the AAU and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) overturn their decisions and restore Thorpe's amateur status prior to 1913.[60]

In 1982, Wheeler and Ridlon established the Jim Thorpe Foundation and gained support from the US Congress. Armed with this support and evidence from 1912 showing Thorpe's disqualification had occurred outside the 30-day time rule, they succeeded in making the case to the IOC.

In October 1982, the IOC Executive Committee approved Thorpe's reinstatement.[19] In an unusual ruling, however, they declared that Thorpe was now co-champion with Bie and Wieslander, even though both athletes had always said they considered Thorpe to be the only champion. In a ceremony on January 18, 1983, two of Thorpe's children, Gale and Bill, were presented with commemorative medals.[19] Thorpe's original medals had both ended up in museums but were stolen and still have not been recovered.[61]



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    * Gerasimo and Whiteley. pg. 28
    * "World-Class Athlete Jim Thorpe Was Born May 28, 1888,", accessed April 23, 2007.
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  13. ^ a b c Jim Thorpe,, accessed April 26, 2007.
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    * Jim Thorpe,, accessed April 23, 2007.
  15. ^ a b c d e Flatter, Ron. Thorpe preceded Deion, Bo,, accessed April 23, 2007.
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  17. ^ "Indian Thorpe is Best Athlete — Olympic Champion Wins All-Around Championship and Breaks Record."The New York Times, Sept. 3, 1912.
  18. ^ Wheeler, 118.
  19. ^ a b c Anderson, Dave. "Jim Thorpe's Family Feud," The New York Times, February 7, 1983, accessed April 23, 2007.
  20. ^ Schaffer and Smith. p. 50.
  21. ^ Schaffer and Smith. p. 40.
  22. ^ Rogge, Johnson, and Rendell. pg. 60
  23. ^ Thorpe is to Play Ball with Giants; Famous Indian Athlete Accepts McGraw's Terms Over the Telephone., The New York Times, February 1, 1913, accessed April 2, 2007.
  24. ^ Sox and Giants on World's Tour; Comiskey-McGraw Party Leaves Chicago Oct. 19 and Arrives in New York March 6., The New York Times, , accessed April 23, 2007.
  25. ^ Elfers. pg. 210
  26. ^ Jim Thorpe's Speed Big Hit In A.A. The Janesville Daily Gazette , July 10, 1916, accessed February 19, 2008.
  27. ^ Daley, Arthur. Baseball's 'Ten Greatest Moments', The New York Times, April 17, 1949, accessed April 23, 2007.
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  29. ^ "NFL History by Decade, 1911-1920". National Football League. Retrieved September 7, 2009. 
  30. ^ a b c Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 18
  31. ^ Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 20
  32. ^ Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 34
  33. ^ Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 40
  34. ^ Neft, Cohen, and Korch. pg. 41
  35. ^ Jim Thorpe Ticket (PDF),, accessed April 23, 2007.
  36. ^ Jeansonne. pg 61
  37. ^ List of marriages, divorces, births, and deaths, TIME, April 6, 1925, available online via, accessed May 21, 2007.
  38. ^ Associated Press (March 7, 2007). "Freeda Thorpe, former wife of Jim Thorpe, dies at 101, Seattle Post-Intelligencer"]. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  39. ^ O'Hanlon-Lincoln. pgs. 144–5
  40. ^ Briefs, TIME, February 22, 1943, available online via, accessed May 21, 2007.
  41. ^ a b Associated Press. "Thorpe Has Cancerous Growth Removed From Lip in Hospital at Philadelphia," The New York Times, November 10, 1951, accessed April 23, 2007.
  42. ^ Zinn, Howard (2003), A people's history of the United States: 1492-present, New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., p. 528, ISBN 0-06-052842-7, 
  43. ^ Occupation 1969 Alcatraz is not an island, PBS, retrieved October 27, 2009
  44. ^ "Daughter of Olympic great, Oklahoma native Jim Thorpe, dies". Indian Country Today. 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  45. ^ Watterson. pg. 151
    * Elfers. pg. 18
  46. ^ Schaffer and Smith. pg. 50
  47. ^ Lincoln and Slagle. pg. 282
  48. ^ a b Bloom quoted in Bird. pg. 97
  49. ^ Jim Thorpe Photo Collection,, accessed May 14, 2007.
  50. ^ Demaree, Al. Thorpe, the Indian, Best All-American, Los Angeles Times, November 24, 1926, accessed May 12, 2007.
    * Jim Thorpe Dies of Heart Attack at 64 Chicago Tribune, March 29, 1953, accessed May 12, 2007.
    * Buffalo Courier columnist Billy Kelly quoted in Miller. pg. 66
  51. ^ O'Hanlon-Lincoln. pg. 148
  52. ^ "Jim Thorpe",, accessed April 23, 2007. Archived October 3, 2009.
  53. ^ Associated Press. Top 100 athletes of the 20th century, USA Today, December 21, 1999, accessed March 15, 2007.
  54. ^ "Top N. American athletes of the century,", accessed March 15, 2007.
  55. ^ Richard Nixon: Proclamation 4209 - Jim Thorpe Day
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  57. ^ O'Hanlon-Lincoln. pg. 145
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  60. ^ Wethe, David and Whiteley, Michael. "Legends lunches begin this fall with Bob Lilly," Dallas Business Journal, July 19, 2002, accessed April 27, 2007.
  61. ^ O'Hanlon-Lincoln. pg 132


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  • Hoxie, Frederick E. Encyclopedia of North American Indians New York: Houghton Mifflin Books, 1996 ISBN 0395669219
  • Jeansonne, Glen. A Time of Paradox: America Since 1890. Rowman & Littlefield, 2006 ISBN 0742533778
  • Landrum, Dr. Gene. Empowerment: The Competitive Edge in Sports, Business & Life, Brendan Kelly Publishing Incorporated, 2006 ISBN 1895997240
  • Lincoln, Kenneth and Slagle, Al Logan. The Good Red Road: Passages into Native America, University of Nebraska Press, 1997 ISBN 0803279744
  • Magill, Frank Northern. Great Lives from History. New York: Salem Press, 1987 ISBN 0893565296
  • Miller, Jeffrey J. Buffalo's Forgotten Champions, Xlibris Corporation, 2004 ISBN 1413450059
  • Neft, David S., Cohen, Richard M., and Korch, Rick. The Complete History of Professional Football from 1892 to the Present. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994 ISBN 0312114354
  • O'Hanlon-Lincoln, Ceane. Chronicles: A Vivid Collection of Fayette County, Pennsylvania Histories, Mechling Bookbindery. 2006 ISBN 0976056348
  • Rogge, M. Jacque, Johnson, Michael, and Rendell, Matt. The Olympics: Athens to Athens 1896–2004, Sterling Publishing. 2004 ISBN 0297843826
  • Schaffer, Kay and Smith, Sidonie. The Olympics at the Millennium: Power, Politics and the Games, Rutger University Press, 2000 ISBN 0813528208
  • Watterson, John Sayle. College Football: history, spectacle, controversy, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000 ISBN 080187114X
  • Wheeler, Robert W. Jim Thorpe, World's Greatest Athlete, University of Oklahoma Press. 1979 ISBN 0806117451

Further reading

  • The Best of the Athletic Boys: The White Man's Impact on Jim Thorpe, by Jack Newcombe, 1975. ISBN 0385061862
  • Jim Thorpe, the Legend Remembered, by Rosemary Kissinger Updyke, 1997 ISBN 1565545397
  • In the Matter of Jacobus Franciscus Thorpe, published in The 1912 Olympic Games — Results for All Competitors in All Events, with Commentary by Bill Mallon and Ture Widlund, 2002. ISBN 0786410477
  • The Complete Book of the Summer Olympics (Sydney 2000 Edition) by David Wallechinsky, 2000. ISBN 1585670464
  • Jim Thorpe: The World's Greatest Athlete by Robert W. Wheeler, 2003 ISBN 0806117451
  • Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs by Tom Benjey, 2008 ISBN 9780977448678 devotes a chapter to Jim Thorpe

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
President of the National Football League
Succeeded by
Joseph Carr

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Jim Thorpe is a borough in Carbon County, near Lehighton, Allentown and Lehigh Valley, in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States of America.

Get in

The closest airport is Lehigh Valley International Airport, near Allentown. It's booking code is ABE. Lehigh Valley International is roughly a thirty-minute drive from Jim Thorpe.

By plane

Domestic flights arrive from Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Charlotte and other Mid-west and East coast hubs. Airlines serving Jim Thorpe inclue US Airways, Delta, Northwest, United, Allegiant, and Pace.

Philadelphia and Newark

If you are more interested in a better fare, you may chose to fly into Philadelphia International Airport (booking code PHL) or Newark Liberty International Airport (booking code EWR). US Airways operates a large hub in Philadelphia and Continental operates a hub in Newark, so there is a good chance you have a direct flight to and from your home airport.

If you are looking for low fares, Southwest flies into Philadelphia as does AirTran. Finding low fares into Newark and Philadelphia is much easier than finding lower fares into Allentown. though Allentown is more closely situated.

Get around

Once you land, you must have a car. Jim Thorpe and the surrounding region have no significant means of public transportation.

Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia and Newark airports have most major rental car agencies on-site. There is also an Enterprise location in Lehighton.

  • The Number 9 Mine and Museum, Lansford, [1]. Travel into a real coal mine and learn about the area's coal mining past.
  • Asa Packer Mansion, Downtown, [2]. An mansion built in the late 1800s by an influential family.
  • Pocono Whitewater Rafting, [3]. This takes place April through October. Rates start at $31.95. Water on the Lehigh River is very shallow during most of the year.
  • Blue Mountain Ski Area [4] is just a few minutes from Jim Thorpe and features several ski hills and a snow tubing area. An all day lift ticket is $39. Check out the ski package in conjunction with Mahoning Inn.
  • Sales tax. The state's 6% sales tax does not apply to most clothing.
  • Lehighton has a small mall with a Deb, food store, drug store and a gift store, among a few other shops.
  • The Lehigh Valley mall is about forty minutes away. Anchored by a JCPenney, Boscov's and Macy's, the mall is home to many more specialty stores and is undergoing expansion at the moment. A multitude of other stores, like TJ Maxx, Kohl's, Sears, Best Buy, Borders, Barnes and Nobles surround the mall, as do more restaurants, especially mid-level chains.
  • Tannersville Outlets [5] are also about forty minutes away, home to outlet stores run by various designers and companies.
  • The King of Prussia mall is one of the biggest malls in the country, and just about an hour and a half down the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The King of Prussia is anchored by Nordstrom, Macy's, JCPenney, Sears, Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor, as well as many specialty stores.
  • Through the Looking Glass, [6]. Romantic atmosphere, live entertainment and interesting eclectic decor. Their breads are all homemade. They offer 6 varieties of soup daily. There are board games and Internet access. This is also a very romantic venue, with dim lights and oil lamps on the tables. Please beware that the service is slow (they admit this) and the management may be hostile should there be a need to manage a problem with your order.
  • Platz's, just off of the Mahoning Valley exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike immediately off of Route 209 outside of Lehighton. Platz's is a restaurant similar to Ruby Tuesdays or Applebee’s. The decor and the menu options are similar, however it is not a chain and maintains some local charm. They are well known within the area for their dry buffalo wings.
  • Pizza Hut Located in Lehighton. If you have a craving for pizza, you may want to try Pizza Hut, although there are several independent pizza shops in the area. This location also has a salad bar.
  • Pepper Jack's Tex-Mex Grill, located in the central Jim Thorpe business district. Expect a cozy, clean atmosphere and friendly staff. However, be wary of the "nachos", which consist of little more than cold velveeta and corn chips tossed on a plate. Nachos aside, the rest of the menu is suspect at best and is far from authentic Tex-Mex.
  • Macaluso's, at the Lantern Inn off of Route 209 between Jim Thorpe and Nesquehoning, [7]. A bit more expensive and much more elegant than the above mentioned restaurants, Macaluso's serves Italian food. Highly recommended if you are looking for a more upscale dining experience while in the area.
  • Trainer's Inn, Route 209 outside of Lehighton. Upholds a very high reputation with local residents and many tourists. According to many opinions, it has great food.
  • Emerald Restaurant/Molly Maguires Pub, Broadway within The Inn at Jim Thorpe. The upstairs, Emerald, is a more traditional dining atmosphere versus Molly Maguires Pub, which is in the basement and offers pub fare. Pricing is average and food is above average.
  • The Inn at Jim Thorpe, [8].
  • Mahoning Inn, [9]. (Lehighton)
  • Country Inn and Suites, [10]. (Lehighton)
  • Hampton Inn, [11]. (Lehighton)
  • The Lantern, [12]. (Nesquehoning)
  • Angel of the Morning Bed and Breakfast, +1 888 325-2961.  edit
  • Alexander House, [13]. Located in the small town of Andreas, this bed and breakfast is further away from Jim Thorpe than other lodging offerings, a twenty to thirty minute drive.
  • The Guest House, Lehighton, (610) 377-1857.
  • Suites on Broadway, [14]. Located in the center of Jim Thorpe's Historical District. Features private suites for two adults. (570) 325-3570.
  • Trans-Bridge Lines [15] New York/Atlantic City side trips. The area is only about two hours away from both [New York] and [Atlantic City]. Trans-Bridge offers frequent trips into New York from Allentown, with occasional trips into Atlantic City.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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