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The Terry Todd Collectanea

Collectanea is academic speak for what those of us who knew and loved Terry have been waiting for since his passing in 2018: A tribute to him in Iron Game History, the academic journal he and wife Jan founded to collect and preserve the history of physical culture. (All back issues are freely available online at www.starkcenter.org)

The tribute includes a collection of published and private writings Jan has selected “to reveal who he was as a man.” A Herculean task for one who wrote seven books, more than five hundred articles and “was constantly writing—letters, poetry, humorous notes, emails—and saved everything.”

The piece Terry wrote for our Success Stories page illustrates his wonderfully detailed and thoughtful writing style: https://www.cbass.com/success_stories15.htm (scroll down to The “Real” Biggest Loser Winner)

That will whet your appetite for the carefully structured tribute.

Jan begins with her heart-felt remarks at the memorial service for Terry at The University of Texas at Austin in July of 2018—and ends with a colleague’s tribute by Dr. Jason Shurley in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that “captures much of Terry’s academic legacy.”

In between are 20 judiciously selected writings by Terry, published and unpublished, spanning 48 years, with short prefaces by Jan telling what was happening in their lives at that time.

The writings are filled with wonderful photos, primarily from the private collection of Jan and Terry, capturing their life together. Paging through them is an amazing trip through the life of a man who knew what he wanted and went after it in many ways.

Considering brain and brawn, it’s the story of the strongest couple in the world. Terry was the first official senior national powerlifting champion as a superheavyweight and Jan held all the world records for women. What’s more, they are both Doctors of Philosophy and scholars in their own right.

This photo, scanned from the Special Issue, was taken after a meet in St. Louis, Missouri,
where Jan set world records in the squat, bench press, deadlift, and total in the 181-pound class.
The photo ran in People magazine captioned: That’s Not a Heavy Date but the 280-husband of Jan Todd, World’s Strongest Women.


The collected writings span the world of strength: isometrics, grip strength, size and muscle, hard physical work, power lifting, Olympic lifting, periodization, Bulgarian and Russian lifters and their training, the muscle-bound myth, Bob Hoffman, Milo Steinborn, drug use, Mark Henry, Philosophy of Strongman contests, fat pets—and more. It typifies a writing output like no other.

I've not had time to read it all, but enough to tell you this.

Jan's insightful prefaces, the photos, and a few lines by Terry here and there, tell the amazing story of a life "filled with thinking about, talking about, and writing about strength."

I thought I knew a lot about Terry (we first met as teenagers), but I was barely scratching the surface of Terry's impact on the world of physical culture and strength.

I look forward to learning more about the life of this truly unique and consequential man of no limits. He did things all-out. Envision it and do it.

He considered creation of the H.J. Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports at the University of Texas at Austin his most significant accomplishment.

The Stark Center leads the world in its area of study.

*  *  *

Aficionados of the world of strength and physical culture will not want to miss what Jan has written and collected for us. Congratulations to her for an amazing job of telling the world what Terry Todd, the love of her life, was about.

*  *  *

If you don’t subscribe to Iron Game History, THE Journal Of Physical Culture, now is the time. (https://starkcenter.org/research-2/iron-game-history/)

May 1, 2021

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