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Old 02-03-2023, 01:02 AM
G1911 G1911 is offline McCl.@y
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 5,597

Originally Posted by G1911 View Post
Circling back to the original subject, which is frankly less interesting than this investigation into the ATC/AL partnership, I started digging into Mike Donovan as well, for some reason his card may be so oddly difficult.

Donovan was a fascinating guy on his own, about 1910 he was in his 60's and still prominent in sporting circles. He was a personal friend of Theodore Roosevelt and appeared routinely in the press as an expert on sport, fitness, health in old age, and all-around manliness. He was at that time, as his T220 notes, the boxing director of the New York Athletic Club, the prominent sportsmen organization that Fullgraff was also an active and dedicated member of, and still active in sparring.

Donovan appears to have been anti-tobacco. In a 1918 book compiling issues of a journal titled "Good Health", is a section featuring anti-tobacco statements from authorities on grounds "physical, mental, and moral". this includes a statement from Mr. Donovan (page 533,

"Mike Donovan, formerly athletic director of the New York Athletic Club:

'Anybody who smokes can never hope to succeed in any line of endeavor, as smoking weakens the heart and lungs and ruins the stomach and affects the entire nervous system.

Physicians who have had much to do with alcoholic inebriates realize that there is a direct relationship between alcohol addiction and tobacco abuse. The first effect of tobacco smoking is stimulating, with a rise of blood pressure; and if the smoking be continued, the nerve cells are depressed. The depression is cumulative in the system of the smoker, and after a varying interval (of days, weeks or months) it creates an instinctive demand for the antidote to tobacco poisoning - and that is alcohol. The intemperate use of tobacco thus explains 75 per cent of all drink-habit cases. The alcoholic thirst is engendered and inflamed by smoke.

The real danger in smoking consists largely in the habit of inhalation whereby the volatilized poisons are brought into immediate contact with at least 1,000 square feet of vascular air-sac walls in the lungs, and are thus promptly and fully absorbed to be diffused into the blood and carried on their disastrous errand to the several organs of the body.

The world of today needs men, not those whose minds and will power have been weakened or destroyed by the desire and craving for alcohol and tobacco, but instead men with initiative and vigor, whose mentality is untainted by ruinous habits.

Every young man should aspire to take advantage of the opportunity which at some time during his life beckons him, and he should be ready with the freshness of youth and not enveloped in the fumes of an offensive and injurious cigarette.'"

There is hardly room for equivocation in this statement, 8 years after the T220 set was issued. If Donovan was passionately against smoking, it makes sense he would not want his image used to sell them. It also makes sense he would sign a general release for a club friend, that like Hyland's may not have mentioned tobacco at all. And it makes sense that this club friend may have persuaded him to reconsider and allow the use of his image, reinstating him in t220-2 white borders. And it makes sense that, as the boxing instructor at the club of which the architect of the card set was an active and dedicated member and apparently made friends everywhere he went, it is Donovan alone who gets two cards in that second issue.

Still does not explain the bizarre background change between the two issues of T220 to his card's artwork, but perhaps this has something to do with why he is so difficult.

On a completely unrelated note, this journal is fascinating as an insight into the leading health theories of a century ago on a whole host of issues. Perhaps I am simply easily entertained and sidetracked.

Found some more after reading Alpheus Greer/Marshall Stillman's 1918 biography of Donovan "Mike Donovan: The Making of A Man" which contains a chapter printing the comments of Donovan's many students about him (always full of praise, the man was either a Saint or these are awfully biased). Mr. E.W. Kearney reported:

"Abstaining from, I may say abhorring, both liquor and tobacco, he was never afraid to declare his principles in that direction, and I know he exerted great influence over many young men in causing them to do likewise. In short, he was a wonderful power for good, apart from his professional boxing capacity." (page 239).

Donovan is also quoted in the 1923 book "The Church and Tobacco" published by the "No-Tobacco Army" in its section of quotes form famous people. For those who believe Connie Mack's distaste of tobacco relates to Eddie Plank's T206 card, he is quoted right after Donovan's "A boy who smokes can never hope to succeed in any line of endeavor" (121). This quote also appears in other anti-tobacco works.

The 1917 Practical Education repeats an extended version of this Donovan quote, alongside assaults on smoking (The "little white slaver") from Frank Baker, Hughie Jennings, Walter Johnson, Clark Griffith, Ty Cobb, Connie Mack, and Red Dooin (pages 480-482). All but Mack sure didn't seen to have an issue with signing image rights away for big tobacco, and Cobb's hypocrisy in the harshness of his comments considering that he had his own brand is just absolutely astounding.

Several variations of Donovan's op-ed that I originally sourced in Good Health were published in other works for a number of years in the early 20th century. He is an oft-cited criticizer of smoking from the people very upset by the practice.

Greer's book makes frequent reference to Donovan's social life in the NYAC, the club for which Fullgraff served on a number of committees and was an active member of its social affairs. I highly doubt I will ever find a primary source document saying it to prove it beyond doubt, but Donovan's SP'ing and then reinstating into the set (with 2 cards even after reinsertion) seems best explained and most likely to be a combination of his distaste for tobacco and his probable friendship (at minimum, a club acquaintance) with the man making those cards.

I am not surprised there is a probable reason for the strange rarity (pulled, and put back again is not the normal pattern), but I am still surprised that the sheet layout is clearly not Donovan and Corbett being together on the sheet, but far apart. Deductively there is almost certainly a separate reason that Corbett was very short printed, and then reinstated also. Corbett I can find almost nothing relating to tobacco at all. Late in life he even had a radio show dedicated to health, but he never mentioned tobacco at all (Fields, "James J. Corbett", page 229).
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