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OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION

Title: Bob Rule Papers

Collection Date(s): circa 1950-2002, undated

Extent and Forms of Material: 1 cubic foot, including photographs (4 boxes)

Creator: Bob Rule

Abstract: Materials document Bob Rule’s career as a yo-yo demonstrator, expert, promoter and contest winner.

Repository: Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. archivescenter@si.edu 202-633-3270 www.americanhistory.si.edu/archives

Collection Number: AC0855

Processing Note: Processed by Danleigh H. Kaplan (intern), 2006; supervised by Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, archivist.

INFORMATION FOR USERS OF THE COLLECTION

Conditions Governing Access: The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use: Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for commercial use. All duplication requests must be reviewed and approved by Archives Center staff.

Preferred Citation: Title and date of item, Bob Rule Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, box number x, folder number xx, digital file number xxxxxxxx

IN-DEPTH INFORMATION ABOUT THE COLLECTION

Biographical History: Bob Rule grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and began yo-yoing as a young boy in 1948. He entered his first yo-yo contest in 1949 and in 1952, began working part-time for Donald F. Duncan, Incorporated managing yo-yo contests and demonstrations in the Detroit area. In 1955, he went to work full-time for Duncan as a professional yo-yo demonstrator. In this role, he traveled across the United States and to Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico demonstrating yo-yo tricks, managing yo-yo contests, and appearing on local television stations to promote the Duncan line of yo-yos and spinning tops. In 1960, he began calling himself “Mr. Yo-Yo” and eventually trademarked the name in 1970.

He left Duncan when the company went out of business in 1965 and settled in Atlanta, Georgia, with his family where he went into the slot car racing business. He owned Champion Slot Racing Products, which he eventually merged with another company he founded, BoLINK Industries, a radio control car racing company. Bob Rule also founded KIEVE Enterprises, a public relations firm with a division by the name of Yo-Yo Promotions. This division combined Rule’s yo-yoing skills with sales pitches for various companies that hired him to advertise their products or entertain their employees and/or customers.

From 1970 to 1973, Bob Rule went back to work as a yo-yo demonstrator in connection with the Union Wadding Company of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Although he was not on their payroll, Rule demonstrated their line of Festival yo-yos.

Rule prides himself on the confidence and presentation skills he acquired throughout his career as a yo-yo professional. He believes that these skills laid the foundation for the success he experienced in other aspects of his life. Rule and his second wife Elleda (his first wife Kathy died of cancer in 1988) reside in Duluth, Georgia, where he continues to promote the yo-yo by attending yo-yo contests, staying in contact with other yo-yo personalities, and hosting a website that documents his career as a yo-yo professional, www.mryoyo.com.

Scope and Content: The collection documents the career of Bob Rule as a professional demonstrator and promoter of yo-yos and spinning tops for Donald F. Duncan Yo-Yo Company, Incorporated, the Union Wadding Company, and his own KIEVE Enterprises. Materials in this collection include photographs, newspaper clippings, scrapbook pages, correspondence, manuals, and other business records. The bulk of this collection consists of photographs and newspaper clippings that document the promotional events and contests he managed between 1960 and 1970. Materials found in this collection would be useful to those interested in the history of toys and recreation in general, as well as the history and promotional strategies of Duncan Yo-Yo Company, Incorporated.

Series 1, Personal Papers, circa 1950s–2002, undated, includes correspondence, biographical narratives, clippings, photographs, and other papers associated with the personal life and professional career of Bob Rule. Photographs in this series are mostly of Rule demonstrating yo-yos and spinning tops, but also present are photographs of Rule posing with specialized cars, his family and friends, and of social events attended by Rule. Correspondence in this series focuses on business matters including his book Yo-Yo Secrets and letters from children in response to a promotional event aired on television in 1963 and 1964. The correspondence and photographs are arranged in chronological order when possible.

Series 2, Duncan Yo-Yo Company, Incorporated, circa 1955–1964, undated, include field manuals, trade literature, business cards of Duncan employees, clippings, and photographs. The newspaper clippings in this series are about the business ventures and employees of Duncan Yo-Yo Company, Inc. Photographs are mostly of Duncan top and yo-yo displays in the 1950s and 1960s, but photographs of the Duncan factory in Luck, Wisconsin, and Duncan employees are also present. Materials in this series are arranged chronologically when possible.

Series 3, Promotional Events and Competitions, circa 1950s–1990s, undated, comprise of photographs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, event itineraries, and other printed material associated with promotional events and yo-yo competitions attended and managed by Bob Rule across the United States and in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. The itineraries, rules, rosters, and programs associated with various local, regional, and national competitions are present. Many of these materials were originally included in a scrapbook, which was disassembled and scattered throughout the collection prior to the collection coming to the Museum. Materials in this series are arranged chronologically when possible.

Series 4, Other Yo-Yo Professionals, circa 1955–2000, undated, consists of photographs and clippings that document the careers of other yo-yo experts and contest winners. Also included are various group photographs of yo-yo personalities, many include Bob Rule. A minimal number of pages from Rule’s personal website (www.mryoyo.com) that detail the materials found in this series are also present. Files are arranged alphabetically by last name and by date within the folder when possible.

System of Arrangement: Arranged in four series:

Series 1, Personal Papers, circa 1950s–2002, undated
Series 2, Duncan Yo-Yo Company, Incorporated, circa 1955–1964, undated
Series 3, Promotional Events and Competitions, circa 1950s–1990s, undated
Series 4, Other Yo-Yo Professionals, circa 1955–2000, undated

Acquisition Information: The collection was donated to the Museum by Bob Rule in 2003.

Related Archival Materials: The Archives Center also holds the Duncan Family Yo- Yo Collection, 1928-2002.

Related Artifacts: There are a number of yo-yos in the Division of Work and Industry collections.

Access Points:

Subject/Names:
Rule, Bob

Subject/Topical:
Yo-yos
Toy industry
Toys

Form/Genre:
Clippings
Articles
Correspondence - - 1950-2000
Photographs - - 1950-2000
Catalogs

CONTAINER LISTING

Box

Folder

 

 

 

Series 1, Personal Papers, circa 1950s – 2002, undated

1

1

Letters of thanks or praise to Rule, 1961-1970

 

2

Letters to Rule from children, 1963-1964

 

3

Correspondence, 1965-1977 and undated

 

4

Correspondence regarding Rule’s book, 1971-1993

 

5

Biographical information, undated

 

6

Press coverage of Rule, 1956-2002 and undated

 

7

Photographs of Rule with specialized cars, 1950s

 

8

Photographs of Rule demonstrating tops, 1950s-1960s

 

9

Miscellaneous photographs of Rule, his family, friends, and acquaintances, undated

 

10

Photographs of Rule’s first wife Kathy, 1963

 

11

Jack Russell’s party; 1955, 1956

 

12

Papers related to Rule’s business ventures; KIEVE Enterprises, Yo-Yo Promotions, and BoLINK Industries, undated

 

13

Miscellaneous business cards, undated

 

14

Comic strips and cartoons about yo-yos, undated

 

15

Articles about yo-yos, circa 1960-1999

2

1

Trade literature and other miscellaneous printed material, undated

 

2

Papers related to Hallmark’s “Peanuts” yo-yo, 1968

 

3

Papers related to an exhibit on yo-yos, 1989-1990

 

 

Series 2, Duncan Yo-Yo Company, Incorporated, circa 1955–1964, undated

 

4

Duncan field manual, 1964

 

5

Articles about Donald F. Duncan, Incorporated, undated

 

6

Trade literature and other miscellaneous printed material, undated

 

7

Business cards of Duncan employees, undated

 

8

Photographs of Duncan top and yo-yo displays, 1955-1964

 

9

Photographs of Duncan factory in Luck, Wisconsin, undated

 

10

Photograph of Duncan employee Ben Robinson, factory representative,1962

 

 

Series 3, Promotional Events and Competitions, circa 1950s–1990s, undated

 

11

Photographs of yo-yo contests and contestants, circa 1950s

 

12

Miscellaneous newspaper clippings about yo-yos and yo-yo events, circa 1950s-1960s

 

13

Television appearances by Rule and others, circa 1955-1963

 

14

Promotional trip to Orlando, Florida, 1961

 

15

Promotional trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1961

 

16

National Duncan Yo-Yo Return Top Championships, Disneyland, Anaheim, California, 1962

 

17

Promotional trips to Memphis, Tennessee, 1961 and 1962

 

18

Promotional trips to Jonesboro, Arkansas, 1961 and 1962

 

19

Promotional trip to Orlando, Florida, 1962

 

20

Promotional trip to San Diego, California, 1962

 

21

Promotional trip to Louisville, Kentucky, 1962

3

1

San Antonio, Texas, contest and contest winner, Jimmy Lukacs, 1962 and 1963

 

2

Promotional trip to Atlanta, Georgia, 1963

 

3

Promotional trip to Calgary, 1963

 

4

Promotional trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1963

 

5

Promotional trip to Kansas City, Missouri, 1963

 

6

Television appearance on The Popeye Club, Atlanta, Georgia, 1962 and 1963

 

7

Promotional trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1964

 

8

Duncan International Finals, Disneyland, Anaheim, California, 1964

 

9

Yo-Yo promotional event, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1964

 

10

Rule’s visit to Union Wadding Company, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, circa 1970

 

11

Yo-yo demonstration in Atlanta, Georgia, circa 1970s

 

12

Gorham appearance, New York, New York, circa 1970-1973

 

13

Fortunoff’s, Westbury, New York, 1971

 

14

Television appearance on A.M. New York, 1971

 

15

Hockey game appearance, Norfolk, Virginia, 1972

 

16

Indianapolis 500, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1973

 

17

International Juggler’s Association Convention, 1990

 

18

Carl Goldberg show, circa 1990s

 

 

Series 4, Other Yo-Yo Professionals, circa 1955–2000, undated

4

1

Barney Akers, 1962-1964

 

2

Bill Anderson, undated

 

 

Fortiunato Annunciacion, undated

 

3

Bob Baab, undated

 

 

Dale Bassett, 1973, undated

 

4

Carl Bates, 1961-1963, undated

 

5

Skeeter Beebe, 1965, undated

 

6

Bill Cafe, 1965, undated

 

7

Charlie Carrano, about 1961-1963

 

8

Donn Davison, 1962-1964, undated

 

9

Dave Emerson, undated

 

10

Ken Filary, 1962, undated

 

11

Doyle Harper, undated

 

12

Harry Kelly, undated

 

13

Tim Kelly, 1963, undated

 

 

Quentin Kelly, undated

 

14

Ron King, 1963,undated

 

15

Forest Larson, 1964

 

16

Valerie Oliver Larson, 1964

 

17

Wayne Lundberg, undated

 

18

Bud Lutz, 1963-2000, undated

 

19

Danny Maris, undated

 

 

Alfredo Mendoza, undated

 

20

Fred Mills, undated

 

21

Donald Noris, 1956

 

22

Dale Oliver, 1961

 

23

Bob Rola, undated

 

24

Chuck Sears, undated

 

25

George Somera, undated

 

 

Gus Somera, undated

 

26

Pete Span, 1962

 

27

Don Winters, 1962-1963, undated

 

28

Joe Young, undated

 

 

Frank Young, 1957

 

29

Group photographs and photographs of unknown yo-yo demonstrators, 1955-1962, undated

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Revised: August 6, 2008