Irmel Fagan Collection of Women's Athletics at Colorado State University
Scope and Contents
The Irmel Fagan Collection of Women's Athletics at Colorado State University consists of documents dated 1923 to 1986, with the bulk falling from 1961 to 1979. The collection consists of material related to the physical education program at Colorado State University, including publications, invitations and announcements, film, reel-to-reel audio recordings, photographs, slides, 35mm negatives, one scrapbook, musical scores, textiles, and artifactual materials, including vertebrae for teaching exercises and a Women's Recreation Association pencil. A manuscript of the history of Ammons Hall written by Elizabeth Forbes is included as are two inscribed master's theses by students that Fagan supervised. Newspaper clippings, programs, event announcements, invitations, and seven banners honoring the Women's Athletic Association are included as well.
- Majority of material found within 1961-1979
- Fagan, Irmel W. (Person)
Restrictions on Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, some items are stored off-site, so advance notice is recommended.
Restrictions on Use
Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.
Irmel Louise Fagan (1913-2010) served at Colorado State University as Director of the Physical Education Department for Women. She began as an instructor at Colorado State University in 1957, becoming the director of the physical education program following the retirement of Elizabeth Forbes in 1959. Fagan was instrumental in the development of the dance program that was started under Forbes' tenure.
Irmel Louise Williams Fagan was born on her family's farm near Tabor, Iowa on October 21, 1913 to Alfred and Emma Williams. The Williams family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska in 1921. Irmel Fagan attended the University of Nebraska and graduated with a degree in physical education with an emphasis in dance. Upon graduation, her first teaching job was in Scotia, Nebraska. She also taught at Kansas State University and Drake University. During this time she participated in advanced studies in dance at Bennington College and the University of Wisconsin.
After these positions and studies, Fagan settled into teaching at a junior college in McCook, Nebraska. There she met and married Robert L. Fagan. Eventually they moved to Estes Park, Colorado and then Lakewood, Colorado. In 1956, Robert Fagan died of heart disease, and Fagan moved to Fort Collins to take a teaching position at Colorado State University in 1957. It was during this time that she also attended Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado), graduating with her master's degree.
In 1959, Elizabeth Forbes, the longtime director of the women's physical education department, retired and Fagan assumed the title. She, like Elizabeth Forbes, encouraged a dance program at the university, with many performances by the dance group "Orchesis." Robert and Irmel Fagan had five children: Robert, Sean, Bridget, Shannon, and Shelah. Irmel Fagan retired after 22 years of teaching in 1979 and died on July 28, 2010.
Women's athletics began at Colorado Agricultural College in the 1890s when a women's basketball team was first assembled by the students. In 1903 the women's basketball team won what could be considered the first athletic championship by winning five out of six contests with neighboring schools, including the University of Colorado.
As early as the 1907-1908 school year, Colorado Agricultural College (now Colorado State University) female students were expected to participate in gymnasium during their freshman and sophomore years. Physical training was established during the 1910-1911 school year. Mrs. Agnes Upson was the instructor in physical culture for women. All female students were required to complete a course in physical culture during their freshman through junior years; seniors and students in the Musical Department were exempt. Exercises included marching, calisthenics, apparatic games, tennis, golf, quoits, basketball, walking, and the use of dumbbells. Elizabeth Forbes was hired to teach physical training for women in 1920. In 1921, the Women's Club Building opened, for the first time giving women on campus their own locker room, gymnasium, and swimming pool.
To encourage women to participate in intramurals such as field hockey, tennis, volleyball, archery, and soccer, Forbes established the Women's Athletic Association (WAA) in May 1922. The Department of Physical Education was established for the 1925-1926 school year, with separate courses for men and women. The Physical Education Majors (PEM) Club was a group open to all women students majoring or minoring in physical education. The club's purpose was to promote good fellowship among women in physical education and extend professional opportunities and knowledge to its members. Women's athletics continued to grow through the years and is a strong program to this day.
10.5 linear feet (1 record carton, 1 oversize box, 2 flat boxes)
Language of Materials
Irmel Louise Fagan (1913-2010) served at Colorado State University as Director of the Physical Education Department for Women. She began as an instructor at Colorado State University in 1957, becoming the director of the physical education program following the retirement of Elizabeth Forbes in 1959. Material types in this collection include papers, bound volumes, one manuscript, musical scores, audiovisual material, and ephemera relating to women's athletics.
The materials in the collection arrived in boxes, large envelopes, and folders in no discernible order. Items were foldered according to subject. The majority of newspaper clippings were placed in one folder and others relating to a specific subject were foldered with that material.
The collection consists of 3 series in 1 record carton, 1 oversize box, and 2 flat boxes:
Series 1: Publications, 1923-1988 and undated
Subseries 1.1: Miscellaneous publications, 1923-1988 and undated
Subseries 1.2: Manuscript and Masters of Physical Education theses, 1979 and undated
Subseries 1.3: Musical scores, circa 1900-1950
Series 2: Visual and audio materials, 1957-1973 and undated
Series 3: Ephemera, 1930-1935, 1959, 1968, 1987 and undated
The Irmel Fagan Collection of Women's Athletics at Colorado State University was donated in 2006 by Irmel W. Fagan.
Processing of the collection was completed in March 2016. Metal paper clips were removed and replaced with plastic clips. Papers and news clippings were removed from envelopes and acidic folders and rehoused in acid-free folders. Loose photographs, slides, and negatives were placed in protective sleeves. The audio tapes and film reels are housed in protective boxes and reels. The vertebrae, banner, and scrapbook are housed in archival boxes.
- Guide to the Irmel Fagan Collection of Women's Athletics at Colorado State University
- Edited Full Draft
- Prepared by Victoria Lopez-Terrill
- Copyright 2016
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository
Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA