Nate Druxman Seattle boxing photograph and ephemera collection (2022)

Freddie Steele

Boxing champion Freddie Steele (born Frederick Earle Burgett), was born in Seattle in 1912, moving to Tacoma (he was later dubbed "the Tacoma Assassin") in 1927. Steele played baseball and basketball in intermediate school before becoming enamored of local Seattle boxer Tod Morgan and trying his hand at boxing at 13 years old. Steele won his first amateur bout in 1926, and did not lose a bout until his 47th fight, to Tony Portillo in December 30, 1930. Steele won the Pacific Northwest Welterweight Title in January 1933 and his first world title in 1936, defeating Babe Risko for the World Middleweight title. With the exception of a loss to Tommy Herman in 1932, Steele went on to win every one of his bouts until Freddie Apostoli defeated him in January 1938. The broken breastbone he suffered in the Apostoli bout, in addition to earlier fight injuries and the effects of a serious traffic accident, essentially ended his career. In pain and unable to lift his gloves to defend against the knockout blow, Steele lost the National Boxing Association World middleweight title fight in the first round to Al Hostak in July 1938. Attempting a comeback, Steele lost his next and last fight three years later to Jimmy Casino in 1941.
Steele also suffered, professionally and personally, from the loss of his manager, Dave Miller. Miller noticed Steele when Steele began boxing at Miller's gym as a young teen; he soon became Steele's manager as well a surrogate father figure. When Miller died suddenly in 1937, his brother Eddie took over management of Steele's career, and according to accounts, failed to pay Steele his ring earnings. In addition to Steele's injuries, Miller's death contributed to the decline of Steele's boxing career.
Freddie Steele also had a career in the film industry between 1941 and 1948, as a fight double, in several uncredited roles, and in more significant roles in a few films, including the 1944 The Story of G.I Joe. After over a decade in California, Steele returned to Washington,opening a restaurant with his wife, Helen, in Westport, which he ran for over 20 years until poor health forced hisretirement. Steele died in an Aberdeen nursing home in 1984.
Freddie Steele is a member of both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Steele's boxing record stands at 125 wins (with 60 knockouts), 5 losses and 11 draws.

circa 1930-1938Box/Folder1/1

1-6: Postcards

6 postcards

Smith , Tacoma (photographer)

National Studios , New York (photographer)

3 standard size postcards by Smith showing Freddie Steele with the caption "Pacific Coast Welterweight Champion, Under Management of Dave Miller"; 3 larger cards by National Studios showing Freddie Steele and Dave Miller, with caption "World's Middleweight Champion" and "Lincolnshire Hotel. Tacoma, Washington."

circa 1933-1936

Freddie Steele in the ring


7: Freddie Steele outside training ring, with Dave Miller lacing hisgloves

circa 19301/2

8-9: Freddie Steele training in ring with another boxer

circa 19301/219361/2

12-14: Freddie Steele posing in ring

circa 19301/2

15: Trainer Jack Connors wiping Freddie Steele with towel

circa 19301/2circa 19301/3

17: Freddie Steele seated in corner of ring, with Jack Townsend, DaveMiller and announcer Charlie Davis

Slim Lynch (photographer)

This photograph is identified as depicting a fight between Steele and Joe Townsend at the CivicArena in Seattle.

1931 May 131/3

18: Freddie Steele in corner of ring with Dave Miller and JackConnors

circa 19301/3

19: Freddie Steele in corner of ring with Dave Miller

circa 19301/3

20-21: Freddie Steele, his oppponent and referee during unidentifiedfight

circa 19301/3

22: Freddie Steele and Dave Miller after fight

circa 19301/3

23: Freddie Steele and Al Hostak before their match, with referee JackDempsey

This is almost certainly a photograph from the 1938 bout in which Al Hostak knocked out reigningchampion Freddie Steele, winning the World Middleweight title.

probably 1938 July 261/3

24: Freddie Steele after a fight

circa 19381/3

25-27: Triptych showing Steele during fight, probably with FrankBattaglia


28: Fight between Freddie Steele and Frank Battaglia, showing Battagliaknocked out, and referee Tommy Clark

International Newsreel , Seattle Bureau (photographer)


29-30: View of ring and crowd at Civic Stadium for Freddie Steele and AlHostak fight

This photograph depicts the crowd and boxing ring at the Seattle Civic Arena. The occasion was aboxing match between Freddie Steele and Al Hostak on July 26, 1938, the biggest bout in Seattle’s boxing history, withover 35,000 in attendance and the middle weight title at stake. In a match refereed by Jack Demspsey, Al Hostak knockedout reigning champion Freddie Steele in the first round, winning the World Middleweight title.

1938 July 26

Freddie Steele in street clothes


31: Freddie Steele running

circa 1930s1/5

32: Freddie Steele with golf club

circa 1930s1/5

33: Studio portrait

National Studios , New York (photographer)

circa 19361/5

34: Portrait of Steele reading old newspapers

Haas-Schreiner Photo , San Francisco (photographer)

circa 1930s1/5

35: Steele with Northwest Welterweight championship belt

Smith , Tacoma (photographer)

circa 19331/5

36: Freddie Steele with his grandfather John W. Steele

Smith , Tacoma (photographer)

Caption on verso: "John W. Steele, grandfather of Freddie Steele, came all the way from Ketchikan,Alaska, to see Freddie fight Gorilla Jones. Here is grandpa Steele presenting Freddie with a chain of Alaska goldnuggets."

circa 19341/5

37: Dave Miller, Freddie Steele and ship officer on deck onship

circa 19361/5

38: Steele and another man (artist?)

circa 1930s1/5

39: Freddie Steele, Dave Miller, Bud Zeller, "Midget" Wolgast, and "Suey"Welch with Mae West

circa 19301/5

40: Steele and boxer Ralph DeJohn, Rochester, New York


41-42: Freddie Steele with six young boys


43-44: Steele in boxing stance


45: Portrait


46: Steele at water fountain


47: Steele running


48: Steele with horse


Photographs by J.R. Eyerman

The Freddie Steele photographs include a large percentage of images by photographer J.R. Eyerman of Tacoma; these have been filed together though subject matter spans that of the other series.


49-52: Posed photographs of Freddie Steele with (probably) Eddie Miller andJack Connors

Eddie Miller was Dave Miller's brother, and became Steele's manager after Dave Miller's sudden deathin 1937.


53-54: Freddie Steele with unidentified men

circa 19311/7

55: Freddie Steele with Bill Connor, Nelson Hong, Elliot Metcalf, NeilEdris and manager Dave Miller


56: Steele in boxing stance posing for sculptor near trainingring


57: Steele and Walter "Popeye" Woods shaking hands near trainingring


58: Steele working with Davey Ward

Steele trained with and coached Davey Ward.


59: Man examining Steele's right arm


60: Steele and Dave Miller in corner of ring

2 copies. One copy inscribed; "To Nate Druxman, the premier promoter of the west. Best wishes alwaysfrom Freddie Steels and Dave Miller."


61: Steele dining outdoors


62-70: Freddie Steele

Images depict Steele swimming, rowing, sawing, in bed, showering, showing his height and reach andother poses.


71-72: Men, including Freddie Steele and Dave Miller, in banquet hall atWinthrop Hotel, Tacoma

Caption on photos: "Steele-Gibbons-Shanklin Civic Banquet, Winthrop Hotel, Tacoma"

1935 September 25Box/Folder1/9

73-80: Miscellaneous

8 photographs

Includes 5 photographs of Steele posing in boxing gear alone or with unidentified individuals; 1 image of Steele, Dave Miller and 3 other boxes identified as Lenhart, Fraser and Britt. Also includes a 1936 photograph of the Civic Stadium captioned on verso: "where Nate staged Freddie Steele-Babe Risko out-door Worlds 15 round middleweight championship. Steele won decision July 11, 1936." Folder also includes an embossing plate showing Freddie Steele in fighting pose.


Other boxers


81: Dode Bercot


82: Dode Bercot and Abie Israel on fishing boat in Holmes Harbor

1932 March 181/101940s1/10

85: Jimmy Braddock waving from door of plane

Caption on verso: "Heavyweight champ arriving at Seattle to referee fight in 1939."


86: Dave Miller and Jimmie Brett

Smith , Tacoma (photographer)

Inscribed to Joe Waterman.

1931 May 201/10

87: Bobbie Harper

Inscription on photo: "To my pal Nate Druxman From Bobbie Harper, Lightweight Champion of Pacific Coast."

1920 October 61/10

88: Ken Overlin in training gear in ring with Jack Dempsey, in suit, outside ring

circa 1930s1/10

89-90: Maxie Rosenbloom

circa 1930s1/10

91: Barney Ross with Druxman's son Calvin

The photo was probably taken when Barney Ross was in Seattle for an April 9, 1935 bout, sponsored by Druxman, at the Civic Auditorium. Ross defended the Junior Welterweight Title against challenger Henry Woods, winning by decision after 12 rounds.

Caption on verso: "Cal Druxman with Junior Welterweight Barney Ross--World's Champ. Nate Druxman was promoter. Photo taken at 2158 E. Shelby in 1930s."
Photo inscribed on front: "To my little pal Call. My Best Wishes, Barney Ross."

circa 19351/10

92: Boxers Dode Bercot and Bobby Harper shaking hands in ring, with four other men

Four men identified in photo as (left to right) Bert Forbes, Belkin, Jimmy Burke and L. Austin.


93: Arthur "Pinky" Shull

Smith , Tacoma (photographer)

photographic postcard


Jack Dempsey

Nate Druxman promoted Dempsey.


94: Jack Dempsey with Nate Druxman's four sons

Dempsey fought over 100 exhibition bouts in 1931 and 1932 and was signed by Druxman for a tour ofthe Northwest. This photo was probably taken when Dempsey was in Seattle for his exhibition bouts at the Civic Arena inAugust 1931.


95: Jack Dempsey with Nate Druxman's son Ed on his shoulders


96: Jack Dempsey being examined by Dr. J.S. Thomas

Inscribed to Thomas by Dempsey.
Caption on verso: "Dempsey here for exhibition bout. Dr. Thomas often physician for fighters."

1931 August 261/11

97: Jack Dempsey with horse and jockey

Inscription on photo: "Jack Dempsey at Long Acres."
Inscription on verso: "Came to referee fight in 1937."


98: Jack Dempsey at microphone

Inscribed to Ed Druxman by Dempsey

1945 June 4Box/Folder1/12

99: Civic Arena showing ring and crowd at Jack Dempsey exhibition bout

1931 August 26

Boxing promoters and others

All of the photos are inscribed to Druxman on the front of the photograph.


100: Dan Salt

Hartsook , Seattle (photographer)

1923 May 21/13

101: Lonnie Austin

1922 June 231/13

102: Michael S. Jacobs

Jacobs was a fight promoter from New York

1940 May 241/13

103: Lloyd Tanner

Hartsook , Seattle (photographer)

Manager of the Civic Ice Arena and other civic buildings




104: Nate Druxman and other men at picnic table, Sunnydale, Washington

Identifications on verso: Bill Moran, Vic Zednick, Pete Daverso, Royal Brougham, Nate Druxman, Fred Rivers, Pete Rosai, Alex Schultz, George Rosai, Dick Sharp, Bill Hobson, Dutch Ruether, May, Bill Klepper, Lefty O'Doul, Ken Binns.

1935 June1/14

105: Captain Henry H. Bonsall, Jr.

Note on verso: "Seattle POE Officer in war."

circa 1940s1/14

106: Family group with 14 children

Hand colored

Rex Photo Finishers , Victoria (photographer)

Caption on verso: "McClaren?? Victoria fighter and his family."


107: Crystal Pool swim coach Ray Daughters with starting gun and young Ed Druxman poised to dive into pool

circa 19301/14

108: Group of men on sidewalk


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