Preserving Our Club’s History with the SCCA Archives

By Jeff Jacobs and Jim Weidenbaum, SCCA Foundation Board of Directors

The 80th anniversary of the Sports Car Club of America® provides an occasion to appreciate the rich history of the Club and the way we preserve the record of that history in the SCCA Archives. Funded by the SCCA Foundation, the SCCA Archives at the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) in Watkins Glen, NY, preserves and makes available for future generations information about the Club and its members, events, cars, rules, and Regions through a broad spectrum of historical material.

Every SCCA member can play a role in the preservation of the Club’s history by contributing materials to the SCCA Archives that may otherwise be unrepresented in the existing collection. Arctic Alaska Region’s Cheryl Babbe identified a mission to recover and preserve “lost recordings” from past SCCA National Conventions and awards presentations. Perhaps you have VHS or camcorder tapes of key award presentations from past SCCA National Conventions sitting in a box in an attic?

Cheryl writes that during a visit last fall to the IMRRC, she was “thrilled to spend time with Duke Argetsinger, IMRRC Archival Assistant, and the IMRRC research team.” While IMRRC Historian Bill Green was able to give Cheryl a personal tour around the old Watkins Glen road course, the icing on the cake was when the long-lost videos of the late Ed Jacobus were found on the shelves at the IMRRC! Duke then gave Cheryl a challenge to continue to support the preservation of SCCA videos.

Cheryl took up the challenge and created a webpage spreading the word about the need and ability to preserve video recordings of key moments in our Club’s history. She also initiated a fundraising campaign to dedicate funds for converting these analog video records to digital format.

Digitizing images is mandatory, as analog media (e.g., VHS tapes) degrade over time, yet IMRRC still wants to archive original media whenever possible. In fact, SCCA Foundation was recently able to secure professional shelving specifically built for storing videos and film at IMRRC.

Additional information about this program has been added to the SCCA Archives section of the SCCA Foundation webpage. And, most importantly, members can financially support this effort by making a tax-deductible contribution to the SCCA Foundation through the SCCA member account portal – even designating the donation for use in the SCCA Archives project – by clicking on this link: support SCCA Foundation.

SCCA Foundation very much appreciates the many facets of our SCCA history IMRRC is working to preserve. We also appreciate the enthusiasm of members like Cheryl who identify a need and set an example for spreading the word about the importance of the SCCA Archives.

Photo caption: The SCCA Archives at the IMRRC contains many motorsport gems, like this one. The handwritten note on the back of the photograph reads: “Start-1968 USRRC-Watkins Glen Mark Donohue takes the green from ‘Tex Hopkins.’
Photo by Bill Reber / SCCA Archives