A founding author of Sports Illustrated, my grandma has been
nominated to join the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Margery Miller Welles -my grandma- witnessed one of the
most important sporting events in American history in 1938 at age 15 when
her father took her to Yankee Stadium to watch Joe Louis fight Max Schmeling.
For her Wellesley College thesis she wrote a bio of Joe titled,
"Joe Louis: American" which was published before she graduated in 1945 and
reviewed by Ring Magazine founder Nat Fleischer and Eleanor Roosevelt.
I received in the mail today a letter from the International Boxing Hall of Fame which stated that Margery Miller Welles has been officially nominated to a list of potential inductees. A selection committee will review my letter and will announce their decision in December 2011.
Below is the letter I wrote:
International Boxing Hall of Fame
1 Hall of Fame Drive
Canastota, NY 13032
I am writing to urge you to include my grandmother, Margery Miller Welles, into the 2012 class
of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Margery Miller Welles saw her first prize fight at the age of 15 when her father took her to see
Joe Louis defeat Max Schmeling in 1938. Although she was a woman, Joe Louis would later instruct the arenas in which he fought specifically to allow my grandma into the locker room along with the rest of the journalists.
Her senior honors thesis was published before she graduated from Wellesley in 1945 at the age of
22. This publication was a biography of Joe Louis entitled Joe Louis: American. To put this subject
matter in perspective, when I wrote my honors thesis on Russian politics, I benefitted greatly from my advisor’s expertise in the field. None of the Wellesley professors knew anything about boxing. My grandma learned by going to the training camps and meeting the boxers.
Two public figures wrote blurbs on the cover of Margery Miller Welles’ book. These two were
the first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Editor of Ring Magazine, Nat Fleisher, to whom my grandma dedicated her book. 20 years before the Civil Rights movement, my grandma’s
account of the life of an African American boxer intrigued Mrs. Roosevelt to the extent that she stayed up half the night reading it. Nat Fleisher, an IBHOF inductee, said that the book would occupy a prominent place in his library. These two people come from very different parts of society and yet they were both able to appreciate the greatness of Joe Louis with the help of my grandma.
Margery Miller Welles was one of the founding authors of Sports Illustrated and she served as its
boxing editor. She edited the Encyclopedia Britannica article on boxing. She also wrote a regular piece for the Christian Science Monitor.
My grandma would be the second woman inductee.
I implore you. When you consider whether or not to induct my grandma into the IBHOF, perhaps
you could ask yourselves, “What would Joe Louis think?”
Humbly and Warmly,
Photos of the cover of my grandma’s book including a picture of her.
A copy of the newspaper article a reporter wrote a few years ago about her when he found her