Joe Roark's

The HUGE library of Iron History compiled by Joe Roark.


Welcome to Iron History with Joe Roark!  

Joe Roark has been studying the iron game since 1957, and by 1970 began a systematic gathering of information on index cards. By the time his first computer was acquired, there were several hundred thousand references to be typed into it.

For a few years he published his own newsletter called MuscleSearch: The Roark Report. By 1992 he was appointed as the IFBB Men's Bodybuilding Historian, and began writing about history for FLEX in his column Factoids. For ten years he contributed to Iron Game History from the U of Texas at Austin. Recently he also began writing All Our Yesterdays for FLEX.

His passion has always been the period between 1880 and 1920, with particular emphasis on the oldtime strongmen of that era. Joe will be offering bits of history for Cyberpump once per week, and the text will be relevant to the dates of the calendar for those events of yesteryear relevant to the coming week.

In this column, readers will also be able to ask Joe questions or comment on his posts.  Note: The comments are solely for interaction between Joe and the readers only -- not reader to reader.

10/29/04: Letter from Charles A. Smith to Joe Roark January 8, 1987

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Thanks for your letter post dated January 4th which arrived yesterday.

Some news about myself before we go any further. Yesterday I had laser surgery on my left eye out of which I haven't been able to see now for some years. I had gone to the eye man two days before and he told me I was in real trouble if I didn't have something done about my vision fast. So I went out yesterday and had it done. However he found that the left eye was so bad that I have to go back in two weeks and have some more laser work done on it to clear the right side of the eye. After that it's surgery for the right eye, to remove a cataract. This will be done under a local anesthetic. What the cost will be I have no idea, and even though I have both Medicare and supplementary insurance, it's gonna run at least six thousand bucks. What with deductibles here and deductibles there, plus "we don't pay for this, that or the other," it still seems that I am going to be some loads of bucks out of pocket. Thus it would seem that the insurance companies aren't in the business of insurance, but in the business of collecting premiums. But it has to be done. I don't think I'd care to live if I couldn't see the faces of my grandchildren anymore. So it's have it done or go blind.

Sulimanov, the 18 year old Bulgarian featherweight, who holds all the worlds records in his class has defected. It seems he went to Melbourne, Australia, to take part in the World Cup, won his class and said tat a to his coaches and the rest of the Bulgy satraps. The Bulgarian government screamed foul. Said that TURKISH secret police had kidnapped him. All are giving this the big ha ha. Although there is a considerable Turkish population in Australia, there is little or no activity on the part of the Turkish intelligence there.

It would seem to me that when the fall of the Russian Communist State comes, it will be through the uprisings of national minorities in the Russian Colossus who aren't Russian speaking, but one of the vast collection of minorities that make up the USSR. The other day they had some very serious riots in the Russian State of Khazakstan over the removal of a Khazak official and replacing him with a Russian.

Glad to hear that Balik wants you to write for IM. I am still getting loads of feed back from people who are foaming at the mouth over the changes Balik has made in the mag. True, the first edition under his banner was a poor effort, but it was his first and, though I know this will seem like heresy, no better and no worse than some of the previous issues put out by the previous owner. In particular Fred XXX is in a fit of the squitters because Balik hasn't dropped everything and returned all his unused articles. He says there are some thirty of them. He seems to forget that it isn't Balik's job to return them, but RADER'S who had them and, without any consent on the part of the author, just turned them all over to Balik, something he wasn't LEGALLY entitled to do. I guess he didn't want to spend the postage it would have cost him. Articles belong to the authors until paid for and even then the author retains all copyrights.

Anyway, good luck and get that typewriter tapping. As for that piece on articles connected with lifting, it is my opinion that wouldn't go over too well. No one is interested in what artifacts are being sold. This sort of piece would go over much better in a trade or mail order mag than in a mag where those who read it -at least the great majority- are interested solely in getting 20 inch arms or kindred appendages. "How to" articles will go over with Balik much better. I haven't heard from him now in some weeks. But I guess if he wants anymore of my stuff, he'll phone fast enough. Maybe he is waiting until he sees how my other two- which he says are to be published soon- go over with his readership.

Each- that is the two articles I wrote for Balik, were paid for promptly and with NO WAITING.

Balik mentioned Ricky Wayne to me over the phone, last time he dialed. Said he had mentioned me to Wayne and that worthy had remarked 'Now there's a man who knows where the bodies are buried'.

From all accounts, Wayne has quit the Wunderkind and taken off for parts unknown. It intrigues me re the reason for his so doing. What caused the rift in the lute. What squabbles arose to split the domestic bliss.

As for XXX being out of the drug scene, I have heard otherwise from those in the know in England. I am told he was in the British Army there and is alleged to have been peddling some sort of stuff before they caught up with him. Don't know if there is any truth in this or not, but some of those who impart the info were pretty close to him.

Any minute I am expecting a call from Weider asking me to take over FLEX�only joking�

Best to you and yours and Hi to that soon to be co-ed.

Posted by TheEditor @ 08:52 PM CST

10/22/2004: Edgar Mueller Manuscript (Pages 8 and 9)

Thursday, October 21, 2004

A message to anyone reading this who is not also a member of the free forums at

We are approaching the one year anniversary there (Nov 15)and would be delighted if you would join us for serious discussions of history and, as of this week, training. Real name registration is required, and no other attempt to register will be honored. So first name, leave a space, last name. No numbers or letters to follow your name. Once in you may compose a signature line within our guidelines, but you must register using your real name. Hope you join us!

Now, here is the conclusion of the Mueller Manuscript, the ninth and tenth pages:

Posted by TheEditor @ 09:15 PM CST

10/15/2004: Edgar Mueller Manuscript (Pages 7 and 8)

Friday, October 15, 2004

We continue this week with the fourth installment of the Edgar Mueller manuscript, offering pages seven and eight:

Posted by TheEditor @ 06:33 AM CST

10/8/2004: Edgar Mueller Manuscript (Pages 5 and 6)

Thursday, October 7, 2004

We continue this week with the third installment of the Edgar Mueller
manuscript, offering pages five and six:

Posted by TheEditor @ 10:01 PM CST

10/1/2004: Edgar Muelller Manuscript (cont.)

Friday, October 1, 2004

We continue this week with the Edgar Mueller manuscript. Here are page 3 and
4 of the ten pages.

Posted by TheEditor @ 06:26 AM CST


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