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First Annual Liberty Bowl ticket

Identifier: MSS-3694

Scope and Contents

The collection contains one ticket to the 1st Annual Liberty Bowl game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 19 December 1959. The ticket is for Gate 3, Section WO, Row 31, Seat 27, and cost $5.65 (ticket price: $5.00 + $0.40 federal tax + $0.25 city tax = $5.65).


  • 1959 December 19

Biographical / Historical

The Liberty Bowl is an annual U.S. American college football bowl game played in December of each year from 1959 to 2007 and in January in 2009 and 2010. The Liberty Bowl was sponsored by AXA Financial and was known as the AXA Liberty Bowl from 1997 to 2003. Since 2004, the game has been sponsored by Memphis-based auto parts retailer AutoZone, and is now called the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. A. F. “Bud” Dudley, a former Villanova University athletic-director, created the Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia in 1959. The game was played at Philadelphia's Municipal Stadium. It was the only cold-weather bowl game of its time, and was plagued by poor attendance. The 1963 game between Mississippi State and NC State drew less than 10,000 fans and absorbed a loss in excess of $40,000. The first Liberty Bowl game was the most successful of the five held in Philadelphia, as 38,000 fans watched Penn State beat Alabama 7–0 in 1959.

Atlantic City convinced Dudley to move his game from Philadelphia to Atlantic City's Convention Hall for 1964 and guaranteed Dudley $25,000. It would be the first Bowl Game played indoors. AstroTurf was still in its developmental stages and was unavailable for the game. Convention Hall was equipped with a 4-inch-thick (100 mm) grass surface with two inches of burlap underneath it (as padding) on top of cement. To keep the grass growing, artificial lighting was installed and kept on 24 hours a day. The entire process cost about $16,000. End-zones were only 8 yards long. 6,059 fans saw Utah rout West Virginia. Dudley was paid $25,000 from Atlantic City businessmen, $60,000 from the gate, and $95,000 from television revenues, for $10,000 net profit.[2] Dudley moved the game to Memphis in 1965, where it has made its home at what became Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to much larger crowds and has established itself as one of the oldest non-BCS bowls. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Liberty Bowl offered an automatic invitation to the winner of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, if that team was bowl eligible.[3] From 1996–2004, the regular season champion of Conference USA served as the host team. Since 2005, the winner of the C-USA Championship game has received the berth, with 2011 being an exception.


0.05 Linear Feet (ticket)

Language of Materials



Ticket to the 1st Annual Liberty Bowl game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 19 December 1959




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Processed by

Martha Bace, 2012
Guide to the First Annual Liberty Bowl ticket
November 2012
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266