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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Sailor Burke: 1911

Sailor Burke: 1911

New York, 1911. "Sailor Burke." The Brooklyn-born welterweight champion known to his mother as Charles Presser, and someone you wouldn't want to meet in a well-lit alley. 5x7 glass negative, Bain News Service. View full size.

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The Great White Nope

He must have been a heckuva fighter because he battled the future heavyweight champ, African-American puncher Jack Johnson, in 1907, despite giving away 20 pounds to his bigger foe. It didn't go well for the Sailor. From the L.A. Herald:


In Six Rounds Negro Floors Opponent Several Times In Fierce Battle

BRIDGEPORT, Conn., Sept. 12.— Jack Johnson, the colored heavyweight, outfought Sailor Burke before the Liberty Athletic club tonight before 5000 spectators. The flght was of six rounds, and the colored man, who outweighed the sailor, landed some terrific blows, flooring his man several times. Burke weighed 165 and Johnson 185.


Well someone should tell "Cholly" to buy a dance belt before getting his picture took. The Sailor demonstrates that his fleet is in harbor and at anchor.

Watch out Lois!

Keep some kryptonite handy. He seems to be in the Superman position ready to take the flying leap necessary to become airborne. He even has the (slightly different) curl on his forehead and he doesn't need a cape, leotards or tights. Pretty intimidating.

Another twilight zone picture.

Something is wrong in this picture, I plainly see an Ipad someone forgot to move out of the picture. (right side resting against the barn.)

You can even see the home button.

[That's the photographer's plate holder. - Dave]

Feel the Pressure of Presser

Judging by his muscle tone, he is definitely not one to mess with in any alley.

I remember my dad's boxing days in the RAF when I was growing up and he had a similar stance when we got naughty.

SHORPY OLD 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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