University Libraries University at Buffalo
Digital Collections

Digital Collections News

Mickey Rooney Crashes U.B. Party

Posted on: | by Scott Hollander | No Comments

Ray McKinley and his new musicHighlights of Junior PromWith the recent passing of actor and entertainer Mickey Rooney, we remember his surprise appearance at a U.B. student event back in 1947.

On Saturday, March 22, 1947, the 26th annual University of Buffalo Junior Prom took place at the Hotel Statler main ballroom in downtown Buffalo, NY.

Bandleader Ray McKinley was the musical entertainment for the event. McKinley was one of the most sought-after drummers and most respected band leaders of the day.

Ray was also friends with Hollywood star Mickey Rooney.

Mickey Rooney at Town Casino 1947As luck would have it, Mickey Rooney was also in Buffalo on March 22. Rooney was performing three shows a night at the Town Casino on Main Street.

Late in the evening of the 22nd, those in the Statler ballroom were given an unexpected but pleasant surprise.

Mickey Rooney came over to hear Ray perform. With little persuasion, Mickey joined Ray’s orchestra and sang several songs to the stunned students. Rooney stayed so long that he had to rush back to the Town Casino just barely making it back in time for his own sold-out show!

For details, see “Eight Men Tapped for Bisonhead at Junior Prom” Buffalo Bee, 28 March 1947.

The Buffalo Bee is a part of the University at Buffalo Student Newspapers, 1921-1950 digital collection.


1950s U.B. Grads Become Pro Wrestlers

Posted on: | by Scott Hollander | 1 Comment

In the early 1950′s, Don Beitelman and Bob Leipler, two University at Buffalo graduates and teammates, entered the wild world of professional wrestling. Don Beitelman, who legally changed his name to Don Curtis, had a long Hall of Fame career. In 2012, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Iowa.  Bob Leipler, who at times wrestled under the name Duke Hoffman, also had a successful 15-year career.


Don Beitelman - 1949 Bulls Football

Don Beitelman – 1949 Bulls Football

Don Beitelman a.k.a. Don Curtis

Don Beitelman a.k.a. Don Curtis

Don Beitelman attended the University at Buffalo from 1947 to 1951 and played football and wrestled. Beitelman reportedly went through four seasons of college wrestling competition without having his shoulders pinned.

After graduating, he was offered a contract to play football for the Baltimore Colts but he chose professional wrestling because at that time it paid more money. He made his Buffalo pro wrestling debut on June 29, 1951 in front of 10,000 fans at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. (see “10,402 See Togo Score Over GG in Aud Battle” Buffalo Courier-Express, 30 June 1951)

Beitelman went to New Zealand and Australia where he became a star. When he returned, he changed his name to Don Curtis. In his prime, he formed a formidable tag-team with Mark Lewin. The duo captured several regional and world championships. Don’s dynamic wrestling career lasted until the early 1970s after which he made a successful transition to coach, referee and member of the United States Olympic Committee for wrestling.

In 1980, Curtis was inducted into the University at Buffalo Athletics Hall of Fame for his contributions to U.B. and the sport of wrestling. He died on March 6, 2008.


Bob Leipler - 1949 Bulls Football

Bob Leipler – 1949 Bulls Football

Bob Leipler a.k.a. Duke Hoffman

Bob Leipler a.k.a. Duke Hoffman

Bob Leipler attended the University at Buffalo graduating in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in education. He played mostly football. Leipler did not take up college wrestling until his senior year.

Leipler signed a contract with football’s Chicago Bears in 1951. (see “Leipler of UB Signs With Bears” Buffalo Courier-Express, 19 May 1951)  A back injury prevented him from fulfilling the contract.

He instead followed Beitelman’s lead and pursued a career in professional wrestling. Leipler made his Buffalo pro debut on February 8, 1952 in front of 4,495 fans at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. The Beitleman and Leipler actually wrestled against each other early on as seen by this August 14, 1952 Binghamton (N.Y.) Press newspaper advertisement.

Leipler had a successful 15-year career that took him to venues around the globe, facing off against the sport’s top contenders. Leipler, along with Larry Hennig, won the American Wrestling Association (AWA) World Tag Team Champion in 1962.

After retirement from wrestling, Leipler worked at the Attica Correctional Facility as a physical education teacher from 1973 until his retirement in 1990. He died on December 24, 2002.

For more information on football at the University at Buffalo, visit the UB Sports History Collection website.

10,402 See Togo Score Over GG in Aud Battle10,402 See Togo Score Over GG in Aud Battle

by Ray Ryan

Gorgeous George turned in by far his outstanding Buffalo bout in a vain cause last night in Memorial Auditorium as he bowed to the Great Togo before a remarkable Summer wrestling assemblage of 10,402. Apparently enjoying to the utmost the unique experience of being cheered to the echo, the Pacific Coast showman appeared headed for victory when the end came with startling suddenness at 22:06.

GG had made the Jap wince with flying hip locks, and had countered Togo’s feared chops with flurries of punches. His slams had Referee George Baltz counting over Togo on more than a few occasions. Stealing Togo’s thunder, Gorgeous once bowed mockingly. Then, when Togo stormed at him, GG left him apparently for dead with a right cross.

Togo’s chops keyed George to a high pitch. He clipped the Jap; threw him through the ropes with a hammerlock, and pushed Togo off the apron. Upon Togo’s return, GG rushed him to the other side of the ring, lifted him high and attempted to pitch him over the top rope. But the aim was poor. Togo struck the top rope and rebounded, with Gorgeous retaining the hold. GG fell over backward, and Togo pressed him for the fall.

Gorgeous figured he had the “difference” going in. He sported a robe of gold cloth, a replica of one worn by Emperor Hirohito on state occasions. Togo and Hata, his man Friday, gave it the double take. “Cost me seven and a half bills,” said GG.

Etchison Scores Again

Ronnie Etchison, exploding with a terrific tally for the second straight time, ironed out Zorra, the French Tarzan, in 17:04 of the semifinal. Again, the popular Midwesterner employed the colorful giant swing as the coup de grace. Zorra opened along scientific lines, but branched into hair pulling and punching while locking Etchison’s left arm. Ronnie flung him away, but Zorra came on again with the same tactics. Steaming, Etchison decked him with a straight right; leaped across the ring, grasped Zorra’s ankles and swung him about for the fall.

Don Beitelman, the former University of Buffalo mat and gridiron star, made a sensational Buffalo debut as he trimmed Howard Cantonwine in 1:25, the fastest time of the meeting. Don dashed from the corner with the opening bell, connecting with a solid tackle. Three more flying butts set up the veteran for a bear hug. Beitelman pressed Cantonwine’s shoulders to the rug while the fans tore up the seats.

Sandor Kovacs, using the ropes as bowstrings to twang his opponent’s noggin, decisioned Jim (Bull) Wright in a brisk 20 which saw them mix after the final gong. Kovacs tallied with a flip from a wrist lock, and was putting the piledriver on Bull when the bout reached its official termination.

Dona Lewin, with an Indian suntan, returned in the opening 20 and drew with Dick Trout. Trout tallied with a head scissors as they pinwheeled about the premises, but Lewin retaliated with a right that made it appear Dick was out like Trout.

Buffalo Courier-Express, June 30, 1951

Leipler of UB Signs With Bears

Joins Grid Pros

Bob Leipler
… UB Tackle

Leipler of UB
Signs With Bears

Chicago, May 18 – The Chicago Bears football club today announced the signing of Robert Leipler, former University of Buffalo tackle. Leipler is 24 and an Air Force veteran. He weighs 237 pounds. The Bears also announced signing of veteran Paul Stenn, former Villanova tackle, who has been with then the last three seasons.



Buffalo Courier-Express, May 19, 1951

1915-1916 Buffalo Basketball

Posted on: | by Scott Hollander |

Art PowellWith Buffalo fielding a football team for the first time in over ten years in the Fall of 1915, the school administration decided that basketball should also officially return as a varsity sport.

Art Powell, a Buffalo product who starred in basketball, track, baseball and football at Syracuse University in 1903-1907 and served as the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers basketball for one year (1913), agreed to take over as the head coach of the University of Buffalo basketball team in December of 1915. (see “U.B. Basketball Team Should Be Topnotcher” Buffalo Evening News, 10 December 1915)

Incredibly, Powell was the head coach of both the University of Buffalo AND the University of Rochester varsity basketball teams during the 1915-1916 and 1916-1917 seasons.  At the time, coaching jobs were part-time contract positions and Powell took any assignment he could get.  After the 1917 season, Powell severed his relations with the University of Rochester and devoted his time to the U.B. basketball.  He spent the next 27 years as the head coach of the U.B. basketball program from 1915 to 1943. Powell also coached the U.B. football team from 1916-1921.

Not having a gymnasium anywhere on campus, the team was forced to practice in the gymnasium of the Buffalo Turn Verein, a social/cultural club located at 385-387 Ellicott St., Buffalo. Most home games were played at Orioles Hall, 566 Genesee St, Buffalo, NY. The hall was built in 1914 for the Fraternal Order of Orioles, a social and charitable organization, by prominent Buffalo business leaders of German descent. The building still stands today.

The 1915-1916 season started slowly as U.B. lost four straight games. In mid-February of 1916, Coach Art Powell’s training finally took hold and Buffalo went on a roll winning their last seven games. The University of Buffalo capped the season with a best of three series against Canisius College.  The series was called the “city collegiate basketball championship” and was played at the Elmwood Music Hall. Buffalo won the first game beating Canisius College narrowly by two points 27-25.  U.B. wrapped up the city championship the next game with a convincing 40-23 victory. Buffalo’s first official basketball season was a success. (see “U.B. Basketball Five Makes Good Record for Year” Buffalo Evening News, 8 April 1916)

When his career ended, Art Powell had coach men’s basketball for 38+ seasons at the University of Rochester, University of Indiana, University of Buffalo and Canisius College. He died in Kenmore, NY at the age of 85 in 1969. In 1984, he was inducted into the University at Buffalo Athletics Hall of Fame.

For more information on basketball at the University at Buffalo, visit the UB Sports History Collection website.

1915-1916 Buffalo Basketball Season

Date Home Team Score Visiting Team W-L-T Location
1/14/19161 Carnegie Tech 38 – 22 Buffalo L Pittsburgh, PA
1/15/19162 Duquesne 33 – 19 Buffalo L Pittsburgh, PA
1/17/19163 Geneva College canceled Buffalo Beaver Falls, PA
1/29/19164 Buffalo 29 – 50 Niagara University L Buffalo, NY
2/13/1916 St. Lawrence University 21 – 17 Buffalo L Canton, NY
2/14/1916 Clarkson 18 – 26 Buffalo W Potsdam, NY
2/19/19165 Buffalo 36 – 19 Carnegie Tech W Buffalo, NY
2/26/19166 Buffalo 57 – 17 Hobart W Buffalo, NY
3/4/19167 St. Bonaventure 18 – 51 Buffalo W Olean, NY
3/11/19168 Hobart 16 – 24 Buffalo W Geneva, NY
3/25/19169 Buffalo 27 – 25 Canisius College W Buffalo, NY
4/3/191610 Buffalo 40 – 23 Canisius College W Buffalo, NY

Home Court: Orioles Hall, 566 Genesee St, Buffalo, NY
Arthur Powell

  • 1 – “U.B. Could Not Hold Lead in Second PeriodBuffalo Evening News, Buffalo, NY, 15 January 1916.
  • 2 – “U.B. Falls to Duquesne Five in Scrappy ContestBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 16 January 1916.
  • 3 – “U.B. Did Not Play at Geneva Last NightBuffalo Evening News, Buffalo, NY, 18 January 1916.
  • 4 – “U. B. Boys Lost to Falls CollegiansBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 30 January 1916.
  • 5 – “U.B. Teams Beats Carnegie on CourtBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 20 February 1916.
  • 6 – “U.B. Overwhelms Hobart College on Court, 57-17Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 27 February 1916.
  • 7 – “St. Bona Five is Easy For U.B. TeamBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 5 March 1916.
  • 8 – “U.B. Hands Another Defeat to Hobart FiveBuffalo Evening News, Buffalo, NY, 13 March 1916.
  • 9 – “Capt. Burns Saves Game For U.B. in Canisius BattleBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 26 March 1916.
  • 10 – “Canisius Beaten By U.B. For TitleBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 4 April 1916.


U.B. Basketball Team Should Be TopnotcherU.B. Basketball Team Should Be Topnotcher

With High Class Material Local Varsity
Should Develop Splendid Aggregation
Art Powell to Coach.

Manager Tommy Atkins of the University of Buffalo basketball team announced yesterday the appointment of Art Powell, the diminutive former star of Syracuse, as coach of the local seminary’s quintet of basket shooters. Incidentally the schedule for the season was made public and the names of several men, who are fighting; for positions on the local aggregation.

Taking everything, including Art Powell, the candidates for positions on the five and the schedule arranged for the season, into consideration it looks as though the University of Buffalo will get recognition before the year has progressed very far. Powell up to last year was coach of the University of Rochester basketball team. The Dead City teams beat the best of them under his tutelage.

Material Is Promising.

There is daily practice in the Turn Verein hall, which is not far from the university in High street. If the material, which has turned out during the past few days, is any criterion, the local quintet will be an all-star aggregation. Among the candidates are three members of last year’s victorious Canisius team, which nearly completed the season without a defeat. They are Lyons, McMullen and Cotter.

Other candidates are: Burns, University of Pennsylvania; Lavin, Rochester; Cooper, Auburn High school; Bates, State college, Albany; Smith, Cornell freshmen; Drexilius, St. Joseph’s; Siegel, Hutchinson H.S.; McGill, Olean High school; Hayes, Tonawanda; Ryan, Syracuse H. S.; Burns, Albany; Eastman, Hamburg; Lawrence, South Carolina; Kerns, Olean H.S.; Ripley, Syracuse; Merchant, Ravena H. S.; Stowell, Waterman, Patterson, Manchester, Jones, Dobson, Scott.

Buffalo Evening News, December 10, 1915


U.B. Basketball Five Makes Good Record for YearU.B. Basketball Five Makes Good Record for Year

Local Varsity Boys Playing Strong Teams Capture Majority of Games Played.

Winning seven out of 11 games is the record of the University of Buffalo basketball team for the 1915-16 season. The local collegians hold victories over Hobart, Carnegie Tech, St Bonaventure, Clarkson Tech and Canisius College, having defeated Hobart and Canisius on two occasions. Their losses were the Carnegie Tech, Duquesne, Niagara Falls and St. Lawrence.

The local intercollegiate basketball champions brought their season to a most successful close with the victories over Canisius. The team was off to a very weak start, losing its first four games but after a few weeks of practice under the teachings of Art Powell showed the class of the big college teams.

Manager Atkins, Siegel, Lyons, Burns, Manchester and Scott will receive sweaters at the smoker to be held April 20. Arthur C. Flentge was elected manager for the next season with Tex Anderson assistant manager

The following is U. B.’s court record for the 1915-16 season:

U. of B. …………… 22 Carnegie Tech ……………38
U. of B. ……………19 Duquesne ……………33
U. of B. ……………29 Niagara ……………50
U. of B. ……………17 St. Lawrence ……………21
U. of B. ……………26 Clarkson Tech ……………18
U. of B. ……………57 Hobart ……………17
U. of B. ……………51 St. Bonaventure ……………18
U. of B. ……………24 Hobart ……………16
U. of B. ……………36 Carnegie Tech ……………19
U. of B. ……………27 Canisius ……………25
U. of B. ……………40 Canisius ……………23

Buffalo Evening News, April 8, 1916

Polish Peace Posters

Posted on: | by Molly Poremski |

We are happy to announce our newest digital collection: “Polish Peace Posters”. This collection of 23 Polish posters were originally printed for the World Peace Council, an international organization that advocates universal disarmament, ranging in dates from 1948 to 1978. Our collection came from a set of reproductions selected by Karol Małcużyński published by Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza around 1978.

Polish Peace Posters