Goldie Burke, Pickles Martin, and Dynamite Murphy


Al Delmar was a middleweight boxer from San Francisco. His first professional fight took place on June 23, 1920 against Earl Biddle. Delmar won this fight in a knock out and went on to win twelve more, losing seven, and had nine end in a draw.

Eddie McGovern, alias Iron Man, was a light heavyweight from San Francisco. He boxed from 1920 to 1932, winning sixty-two matches (thirty-four in a knock out), lost thirty-four, and finished in a draw thirty-four times.

These are only two of the nearly 1100 boxers whose photographs are preserved in an album recently acquired by graphic arts. Each portraits is numbered in the negative and, happily, a previous owner has gone to the trouble of listing the names of the boxers who could be identified. Goldie Burke, Pickles Martin, and Dynamite Murphy are among the men represented in these oddly criminal-looking mug-shots.


In the early 20th century, San Francisco was known as The Cradle of Fistic Stars, because of the number of boxers living there. Many began their training at the San Francisco Olympic Club, the oldest athletic club in the United State. It is curious that the use of photographic mug shots also began in San Francisco, where Chief of Police James Curtis established the practice in 1857.