Don Gerhmann and Guy Sundt

Courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society. Don Gehrmann and UW track coach (and subsequent athletic director) Guy Sundt.

During my recent Wisconsin Book Festival conversation with David Maraniss about “Path Lit by Lightning,” his acclaimed new biography of Native American athlete Jim Thorpe, Maraniss mentioned being especially intrigued by an encounter Thorpe had in Milwaukee in 1922.

On that November day, Thorpe played professional football against a team that included Paul Robeson, later a towering stage actor and political and civil rights activist.

Gehrmann shoes

Don Gehrmann’s track shoes. Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.