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From the glory days of boxing come these actual trunks worn by "The Great White Hope," boxer James J. Jeffries, who transcended the sport of boxing as an icon of popular culture and social UNawareness. African American heavyweight Jack Johnson took the title and unenlightened America lost its mind. Determined to dethrone the "Big Smoke" and after a succession of bums and pumped up lighter weights (Stanley Ketchel) failed miserably, they lured ex-champion Jeffries out of retirement. Anointed "The Great White Hope," he was to execute the task of silencing the outspoken, socially righteous Johnson. History tells us that Jeffries' enlisted an army of supporters included everyone from John L. Sullivan to Jack Johnson's former mentor Joe Choynski. But it was all for naught. The fight films were even censored and banned to avoid showing this "black supremacy." These trunks are incredible. From an unassailable source: the Helms Sports Museum, these were donated by Jeffries himself and this comes with an 11x14" Type I vintage photo of Jeffries celebrating his birthday with his good friend Paul Helms. The fact that Jeffries kept these shows they were likely from an important event in his career, but the specifics have been lost to the ages. Perhaps with further photo research this importance can be restored. However, they are of the style he wore in the Jeffries-Johnson fight itself except for the red stripes at bottom. They are medium gray colored, knee length knit wool trunks with horizontal red bands knitted on both legs near bottom, and they display extensive use with some small moth holes. There is an elastic waistband visible at front, and a pair of tears in the groin area have vintage repairs. Wright & Ditson Boston Trademark is tag is sewn in back inside of the waistband. Comes with Letter of Provenance from the Helms Athletic Foundation Museum as well as a supporting letter backing the authenticity from Lelands.com.
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Summer 2016 Catalog