The mystery of Charley Hackenschmidt

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The mystery of Charley Hackenschmidt

Post by psychologist » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:10 am

I have been doing some research on the Swedish strongman/wrestler Charley Hackenschmidt.

His real name was apparently John Berg (died 1924) and he also went by the names Charles/Charley Hackenschmidt and Young Hackenschmidt.

In Nat Fleisher's 1936 book From Milo To Londos he says that "John Berg, a Swede, who adopted the name of Charley Hackenschmidt". So Charley Hackenschmidt was Swedish.

The mystery is this newspaper clipping of Charley Hackenschmidt from 1917

Image

Online here with a photograph https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn ... -1/seq-12/

It says Charley Hackenschmidt was the brother of George Hackenschmidt but he never had a brother with that name.

There is a profile for John Berg here but not much exists about him online. Berg held the World Light Heavyweight Wrestling Championship in the late 1910s.

https://www.wrestlingdata.com/index.php ... tler=20354

My questions are, why did he use the names Charles/Charley Hackenschmidt or Young Hackenschmidt? Was this to cash in on George Hackenschmidt's fame and success? But most importantly why would he claim to be his brother when that information is obviously not true?

Can anyone help with this mystery?

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Harry Hayfield
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Re: The mystery of Charley Hackenschmidt

Post by Harry Hayfield » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:36 am

Well, on this occasion the British Newspaper Archive doesn't have any record of a Charley Hackenschmidt, but it does have the following which might be helpful:
Seeing that Steadman has declared the match off with Hackenschmidt. 1 am prepared to meet the Russian on the same terms the proposed Steadman match, catch as-catch-can and Graeco-Roman styles, for £100 aside, and will stake Saturday next if Hackenschmidt will meet me. —Ton Cannon"
(published in the Sporting Chronicle, republished Lancashire Evening Post, Friday 20 February 1903
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Re: The mystery of Charley Hackenschmidt

Post by Internalfitness » Thu Jun 04, 2020 12:29 pm

"But most importantly why would he claim to be his brother when that information is obviously not true?"

At a guess - it wouldn't have been obvious at the time! Even today promoters will do whatever they think they can get away with, imagine what it must have been like back in the day. It may have been illegal to say he WAS Hackenschmidt, but that leaves a lot of small print once you get past the HACKENSCHMIDT headline;

Young Hackenschmidt
Brother of Hackenschmidt
Friend of Hackenschmidt
Met Hackenschmidt once...

On global tours, in smaller venues, and in the absence of photographs or evidence checkers Hackenschmidt may well have had MORE than one brother :D :D

Richie

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Re: The mystery of Charley Hackenschmidt

Post by peter yates » Thu Jun 04, 2020 1:06 pm

Daryll, thanks for the interesting post and question.I feel as Richie does that his aim was to cash in on the name. Of course in this day and age it would not be possible with instant access to a person's information.Playing the smaller venues would most likely be easier to get away with such claims. Also there were many who may overlook such a claim who actually wanted to see Hackenschmidt's brother so went along with it. While maybe not common it is likely that claims such as this were made by others to give a rung up the ladder.Once in a better place claims could be dropped and by then maybe no one cared.The only connection i can see between them is that Berg was Swedish and Hack had Swedish ancestry.By the way i would say George Hackenscchmidt would be my all time favorite old timer.
Regards,Peter.
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David Gentle
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Re: The mystery of Charley Hackenschmidt

Post by David Gentle » Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:39 am

Sheer serendipity, but just been reading a small booklet received from Dave Webster entitled "The Glamazon" and its about a lady wrestler named "The Fabulous Jean Hackenschmidt" no dates, no pictures, just goes into her wrestling career,she came from the north of England it says even had bouts with men. Toured Europe as The Imperial Troupe, oh it just mentions a photo line up in a Swiss newspaper on 9th Sept 1933 she apparently was one of Adam Kings girls,King claims he once beat Yuko Tani, so that sort of dates her, but my guess is she just made the name up to be associated with the genuine George H?? David "Hackenschmidt" Gentle, The Romsey Lion"......just changed my name, anything for fame i say.
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Re: The mystery of Charley Hackenschmidt

Post by peter yates » Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:48 am

Thanks David, i had an idea this type of thing was not uncommon.It was probably a good a good publicity move to bring in the punters.If any problems arose they could just drop the name and claims.Maybe we can locate other instances of this.
Regards Peter.
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Re: The mystery of Charley Hackenschmidt

Post by Handson » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:58 am

Hi All

Jean Hackenschmidt wrestled in the 1930s before a lot of the local councils put a stop to women wrestlers for several decades.
There was an old army joke which said of women wrestlers 'there's no point in wrestling when it's all in!'
Regards
Handson
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Re: The mystery of Charley Hackenschmidt

Post by peter yates » Sun Jun 07, 2020 9:29 am

Thanks Handson, great pic.Those guys are watching intently.
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Re: The mystery of Charley Hackenschmidt

Post by Handson » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:42 am

... as regards Charles Hackenschmidt.
He wasn't a brother of George he was his cousin.
He trained with George it seems.
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Re: The mystery of Charley Hackenschmidt

Post by psychologist » Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:58 pm

I like what I am seeing on this forum, all of you in this thread are very deep researchers and knowledgeable about this pc historical stuff. I guess I need to do more research on this if it turns out Charles was in actual fact his cousin.

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