Our Mission

The International Institute for Sport History (IISOH) is a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation organized to operate a Library and Museum for the History of Sport, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, Sport in Art and the Olympic Games. Our goal is to establish a major research facility for scholars, researchers, students, the media and the general public in order to preserve the wealth of history relating to sport and human physical expression throughout time. We visualize a modern “Library of Alexandria” with an emphasis on Sports and all the related subject areas with a worldwide theme.

There is no comparable facility in the United States although many great libraries exist. There are some very outstanding special collections in such libraries as Harvard (sports archives), Notre Dame (football), University of Illinois (Avery Brundage Collection) but nowhere is there a collection comparable to the Carl Diem Institute (Cologne, Germany) or the IOC Library (Lausanne, Switzerland). The British Olympic Committee had an excellent collection until a flood caused serious damage in recent years. The IISOH is the result of decades of research in Olympic Games and Sport History by founder Harvey Abrams who traveled to 19 countries to do research and found that such a need existed and was possible.

The IISOH would like to build a sports complex around the Library and Museum buildings that would serve the practical needs of the educational and research programs of the Institute. Visitors would be able to experience the original form of every sport by actual participation and learn how each sport evolved into its present form through participation. The facility could also serve the current and future needs of sport as a host to both educational seminars, lectures and conferences as well as competition venues.

Finally, the IISOH will establish a subsidiary corporation as the first special high school in the USA with a sport major, the Pennsylvania Sports Academy. This will be a private high school for boys, grades 9-12, with a curriculum designed specifically to earn both a high school diploma and the International Baccalaureate (IB). The program will be based upon a classical liberal arts education as opposed to the more common science/math emphasis in most American schools. The goal is to educate youth with a broad liberal arts background in history, philosophy, civics, language and culture combined with a major in Physical Education and Sport. The main goal is to train aspiring young athletes in gymnastics, wrestling, judo, swimming, diving and track & field to an elite level of competition in order to achieve their goal of university, professional or Olympic competition.

To Increase Literacy

To publish books, monographs, academic works and other literature, to produce videos and films in these subject areas and engage in activities that further promotes the mission of the Institute.

To Further Education

To educate youth and to increase public awareness and appreciation in the arts and humanities in these subject areas through a variety of programs including, historical, social and cultural exhibitions, programs and events which further promotes these educational objectives.

To Conduct Research

To conduct and support scholarly research in the arts and humanities in the History of Sport, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, Sport in Art and the Olympic Games.


The IISOH was founded in 2001 by Harvey Abrams with current Board members Art Donahoe, Paula Donahoe and Josh Henson. We are very excited about some new members who are being invited in 2016 and we will let you know who they are later this year. Jon Riggall serves as a researcher and Sam Hofkins will serve as the Restaurant Manager.