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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Battling Mantell: 1911

Battling Mantell: 1911

The boxer Battling Mantell in November 1911. View full size. George Grantham Bain Collection. So who can tell us about old Bat? He served in World War I.

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Benjamin Baer Mantell

This appears to be Benjamin Baer Mantell.

Searching through Veterans Records on I found Benjamin B. Mantell at the Soldier's Home in Virginia in 1931 - 1932. It says that he was a Physical Instructor for his occupation, so this seemed like a good place to continue the search.

It says he was 5' 4 1/2" tall with brown hair and eyes and was of the Hebrew faith. He enlisted on February 14, 1914 as a Private in Company C, 15th U.S. Cavalry and was discharged on June 4, 1920.

The cause of his admission to the home says, "Mental Questionable," and what looks like, "Cebro Spinal Cervrio" (probably cerebro-spinal in current language).

Searching further records I found he was born on November 25, 1890 and died on November 2, 1959. He was buried in Long Island National Cemetery, Section V, Site 6732. He appears to never have been married.

The 1930 U.S. Federal Census shows him at 246 Keap Street, Brooklyn, NY. It lists his profession as a Pugalist, Professional, and it also shows him as a WWI Veteran.

His father was Russian and his mother Austrian, but I have not been able to find their names. His grandmother was Rebeca (Bessie) Mantell an aunt was Fannie Loefkowitz.

The boxing site below lists three Battling Mantells. It seems very unlikely that you would have three professional boxers all using the same name. Looking at the fight dates, only two of the fights are on consecutive dates so conceivably this is all one person fighting in two primary locations (usually New York and Pennsylvania). All of the fights are before he enlisted with the exception of three: one on the day he enlisted; one on May 11, 1914; and one on May 27, 1915. He could have been in the fight on May 11, 1914 prior to leaving for his enlistment, and he could have been in the fight on May 27, 1915 while on leave.

The Stars and Stripes, France, for Friday, May 10, 1918 states, "Before the main bout, Battling Mantell, New York lightweight now a cavalryman, was introduced." Note it does not say that he fought anyone that night.

With a middle name like "Baer" I'm surprised he didn't have a different fighting name.

What a Jock

As an athletic supporter, I wonder where's his punching bag and medicine balls.

Battling Mantell's record -- 20 fights, just one victory

He went on to become a referee.

[I think that's an incomplete record. - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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