International Institute for Sport History
Library and Museum

The IISOH is a Pennsylvania non-profit, educational, literary and research corporation
under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code and is organized to operate a Library and Museum
devoted to the History of Sport, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, Sport in Art and the Olympic Games.
Donations are tax deductible
Federal Tax ID# 41-2041155

Developing the IISOH Gymnastics Collection
Gymnastics Endowment

Portrait of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, German educator
considered to be the "father of gymnastics."
Lithograph by Georg Ludwig Engelbach circa 1852.

The IISOH is a Pennsylvania non-profit educational, literary and research corporation.

The Institute plans to build a large Gymnastics training facility to support the educational, literary and research mission of the Institute. Our facility will be unique in the nation because it will serve as both a museum for the history of the sport and also as a modern training facility with the newest and best available equipment.

The IISOH Gymastics collection and the facility is designed for multiple purposes including:
  • to collect artifacts related to the sport of gymnastics
  • to study and promote the history of Gymnastics
  • to conduct and support scholarly research in the arts and humanities as it relates to Gymnastics
  • to increase public awareness and appreciation in the arts and humanities as it relates to Gymnastics,
  • to educate school children and the public in general about the historical, social and cultural aspects of Gymnastics,
  • to publish academic works on the topic of Gymnastics and
  • to organize other activities which supports these objectives.
  • to plan and develop an educational program to teach the history, evolution and modern techniques of gymnastics to athletes for current and future elite competition.

Daniel rings Johannes rings

The IISOH plans to collect historical pieces of apparatus and gymnastics equipment that can illustrate the evolution of the sport as well as the sporting goods industry that supports Gymnastics.

The IISOH plans to fill a modern training hall with the world's most up-to-date equipment to fulfill both our educational and research missions, especially into the safety issues in Gymnastics.

New Gymnastics Hall, Netherlands

The Librarycollectionseeks to acquire every book that has ever been printed on the sport of gymnastics - in every language of the world! That is a lot of books... French, Russian, German - everything!

gymbook1 gymbook2 gymbook3
gymbook4 gymbook5

Items that are desired for the Museum collection include posters, original artwork in all media, films, stamps and coins, uniforms and all types of memorabilia.

gymposter2 Gymnastics Poster 1946

To promote the subject of SPORT IN ART
and to promote the sport of Gymnastics worldwide

One of our ongoing projects is the SPORT IN ART Poster Series. We try to promote the subject of SPORT IN ART and SPORT PHOTOGRAPHY. Posters were originally intended to promote a product - like coffee, chocolate or beverages. They were also produced to advertise travel, ships, trains and cars. Some of the best advertised bicycles - the newest rage of the late 19th century. We are using posters to promote sport worldwide.

This is our first GYMNASTICS poster, one of six that are planned. This design has been completed and was printed in an open edition of 5,000 copies in 2016. A limited edition of 100 copies (signed and numbered) has also been printed on heavier paper. The poster is available from the IISOH wholesale to clubs, teams and retail outlets. We are happy to make this available to the gymnastics community as a fund-raiser for your group and to promote the sport of gymnastics worldwide.

An international collaboration, this poster was designed by Harvey Abrams (IISOH, USA), with photography by (Czech Republic) and illustrates the talent of young gymnast Julius Neuber (Austria). "GYMNASTICS" is printed within the design in ten (10) different languages. The suggested retail price is $5.00 to $8.00 - so it can be a real profit-maker for your group. Wholesale prices to all gymnastics clubs and organizations worldwide are published in the brochures (available in multiple languages).
1st printing 2016.
Printed size: 24 x 36 inches.
Open edition of 5,000.

Julius Gymnastics Poster

click to see the BIG version of the GYMNASTICS POSTER 2015

After the poster was printed we created a slideshow to illustrate how the photo was selected. We viewed about ten thousand images before narrowing the selection down to a single athlete. Different images were considered with different text, including some attempts at humor. In the end we were conservative and remained focused on using the most exciting action image. You can see other versions of the poster that were considered. Watch Julius perform in various gymnastics competitions over the years as we select the best images for a poster. Here is our YouTube Video (Slideshow) - Sport in Art Poster Series, Number 2, GYMNASTICS, Julius of Austria....

Gymnastics posters number 2 and 3, boy's Gymnastics, are on the drawing board and should be ready in 2021. Then we will design the three girl's Gymnastics posters for 2022.

We are searching for volunteers or interns to help us create a GREAT video for promoting the IISOH project on YouTube and Public television. Interested? Contact the IISOH.

See our YouTube Video (Slideshow) that was created as a test to promote the sport of GYMNASTICS

We are searching for volunteers or interns to help us create a GREAT video for promoting the IISOH project on YouTube and Public television. Interested? Contact the IISOH.

Naming Opportunities

- $ 10 million names the Gymnastics facility in the Sports complex
- $ 1 million names the Library room housing the Gymnastics collection
- $ 1 million names the Gymnastics Endowment for collection development.
- $ 1 million names the endowed chair for a full-time Gymnastics Librarian specialist.
- $ 1 million names the endowed chair for the Gymnastics Coach.
- $ 1 million names the Gymnastics travel fund (to support the team's travel expenses)

With a minimum donation of one million Dollars
the Donor may name the endowment
subject to the approval of the IISOH Board of Directors.

The endowments become a permanent trust fund that is invested by the Institute with only the quarterly earned interest being used for the endowment purpose.

For more details about the comprehensive IISOH endowment program,
please click here

YOU can help to develop the Gymnastics collection...

YOU can make a contribution TWO WAYS....
CASH donations
MATERIAL donations


Cash donations IN ANY AMOUNT are always welcome...
and are gratefully appreciated

The Board of Directors would like to thank ALL donors for their support.

Every donation over $25.00 will be recognized permanently with a LIFETIME ACKNOWLEDGEMENT in our publications and/or web site pages.

Donations over $250 will be honored by the Board of Directors with an engraved brick to be placed on the patios or walkways that will surround the cafe and sculpture gardens.

Larger donations will be acknowledged with larger plaques in marble, stone or bronze and displayed on designated walls of honor inside or outside the buildings in accordance with the instructions of the Board of Directors.

Support the GYMNASTICS collection today.
Become a CHARTER MEMBER with a single donation of $25.00 or more....a once-in-a-lifetime donation....we will never ask for a second donation. We are grateful for your first donation...and we ask you to recruit two friends to donate also.

Become a Charter Member...

click here


The Library and Museum eagerly accept donations of material that are within the scope of its collections. Collectors are encouraged to send us books, monographs, theses & dissertations, magazine and subscription collections for the library, as well as medals, pins, torches, posters, artwork and collectibles for the Museum.

Examples of desirable donations to the IISOH LIBRARY:
  • Material in ANY language, including but not limited to English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Flemish, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Latin, Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Serbo-Croatian, Hebrew, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Farsi, Sanskrit and dozens of others. The scope of the collection is international and comprehensive.
  • Books, Monographs, Theses & Dissertations
  • Bound and unbound serials (magazines, journals, etc) and Newspapers (hard copies or microfilm)
  • Juvenile literature
  • Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Reference books
  • Manuscripts, Archives of organizations
  • Original letters of correspondence
  • Maps
  • Ephemera (pamphlets, booklets, folders, flyers, tickets, etc).
  • Miscellaneous paper items that do not fit into the above categories

Examples of desirable donations to the IISOH MUSEUM:
  • Gymnastics Posters
  • Antique Gymnastics equipment
  • Statuary in bronze, resin, plaster, terracotta, etc.
  • Paintings, Serigraphs, Drawings, etc.
  • Photographs, prints, negatives, glass plates, etc.
  • Films, movies, videos, dvd's, especially older films in need of archival preservation
  • Music, records, tapes, sheet music
  • Graphics, 16th - 19th century lithographs & prints
  • Gymnastics-related medals, awards, trophies
  • Gymnastics commemorative medals, participation medals, badges, etc.
  • Gymnastics pins
  • Gymnastics flags, banners, advertising
  • Gymnastics-related memorabilia
  • Philatelic items, stamp collections, illustrated postcards on Gymnastics
  • Numismatic items, coins, exonumia with Gymnastics themes
  • Uniforms, clothing, textiles, fashions
  • Physical education, recreation and play equipment related to Gymnastics
  • Games, especially antique items

These lists are not comprehensive and are limited only by your imagination!

Are you interested in being a GYMNAST?
Have you ever wanted to do handstands and flips?
Eager to learn new skills and build great strength and flexibility?
Then watch this video hosted on Youtube and be INSPIRED to join a club near you.
Produced by of Prague, Czech Republic and inspiring to Gymnastics worldwide.

Gymnastics is an international sport and is extremely popular in many countries including Russia, Germany, Romania, Great Britain, Japan, Sweden, Canada as well as the United States and many others. It is one of the most important sports in Germany and neighboring countries in Northern and Central Europe. In the USA the subject of Physical Education became part of the curriculum in the late 1800's. At the time teachers argued ferociously about how to teach Physical Education. The main argument was to chose between between the Swedish and German styles of gymnastics. This debate was over which form of gymnastics was better suited for educational use in American schools. In the end -- both were rejected in favor of American sports such as baseball, football, basketball and volleyball. The use of gymnastics in physical education was a European idea and was very closely related to military training and discipline.

However the British educational system emphasized character building with sports such as rugby. American education leaned towards the British version and concentrated on playing games and team sports with an emphasis on competition. Hence -- gymnastics did not gain popularity in the USA until the mid-20th century.

Gymnastics took a huge leap in popularity when Olga Korbut (photo below), of the Soviet Union, won the hearts of fans worldwide with her magnificent performance in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

Then in 1976 a Rumanian athlete, Nadia Comaneci, (photo below) thrilled the world with her perfect performances at the Montreal Olympic Games.

The sport became immensely popular with clubs and camps established all over the USA. But in the late 1990's participation declined as schools began to cut athletic team budgets in order to field more women's athletic teams such as softball. Intercollegiate competition dropped dramatically as dozens of universities dropped the sport in order to save money. Today gymnastics is a strong club sport and one of the most popular events in the Olympic Games.

The IISOH intends to help promote the sport of gymnastics both in the USA and worldwide. GYMNASTICS is a great sport to teach both kids and adults how to use their body in space, how to build strength and how to increase flexibility. The skills that are learned in GYMNASTICS can be adapted to every other activity so it is a great sport to start with as a child. AND...GYMNASTICS is an activity that can be practiced for a lifetime.

The Institute's long-term goal is to develop the most comprehensive gymnastics research collection in the world.
Please donate generously to this project.

For additional subject areas that we seek to endow, click here to see SUBJECT list

The IISOH is a Pennsylvania Non-profit
Educational, Literary and Research Corporation
under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code

The IISOH is organized to operate a library and museum for:

History of Sport
Physical Education
Sport in Art
Olympic Games

Donations are tax deductible

Links to pages about the International Institute for Sport History.

Contact via US Mail:

Mr. Harvey Abrams, President
International Institute for Sport History

PO Box 175
State College, PA, USA 16804

via email:

via telephone:

(814) 321-4018

This page was created February 23, 2002
This page was updated December 11, 2009
This page was updated December 23, 2011
This page was updated May 20, 23, 24, 31, 2015
This page was updated January 3, 2016
This page was updated October 4, 2017
This page was updated September 16, 2020