The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

Toledo Junior Bar Association/Gridiron Show Collection, 1949-2002


Size:  1 linear foot

Provenance: received from S. Scott Schwab

Access: open

Collection Summary: Collection contains records related to the Gridiron Show, an amateur production put on annually by members of the Toledo Junior Bar Association from 1933, and including women from the 1970s as women entered the law profession. The records include printed material, song lyrics, scripts, information on bar outings, correspondence, and reel-to-reel tape recordings.


Subjects: Music, Art, Drama, and Theatre

Related Collections:  Marie Bollinger Vogt Papers, MSS-149

Processing Note:  Included in this collection are a number of reel to reel tapes.  At the time

of the preparation of this finding aid, the Ward M. Canaday Center did not have the equipment necessary to listen to these tapes.  Therefore, we were unable to assess the condition of these tapes.


Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.


Completed by:  Marlo A. Kitchen, July, 2002; last updated: July 2014


Historical Sketch


First performed in 1933, the Toledo Junior Bar Association's Annual Gridiron Show is a tradition of the Toledo legal community.  The Gridiron Show is an amateur production put on annually by members of the Toledo Junior Bar Association.  The Junior Bar is comprised of attorneys who have been in practice for ten years or less, however all attorneys, as well as judges, are encouraged to participate in the show. Originally the Gridiron was a male only endeavor.  However, with more and more women entering the practice, women attorneys were finally invited to participate in the 1970's.


From the beginning, the purpose of the show has been to bring new and established attorneys and judges together in an informal, non-work setting.  The result of this has been the development of what is known as the "Toledo style" of legal practice.  The hallmarks of the Toledo style are friendship and congeniality allowing Toledo attorneys to better represent their clients. 


The show itself is a mixture of raucous Vaudeville and political commentary consisting of songs, sketches, and dances performed with great enthusiasm and varying amounts of talent.  Before each show, the Gridiron's newspaper, the "Bar Rag" is distributed to the audience. Written and published by members of the Junior Bar, the Rag is a humorous look at the past year's events.


At the beginning of each show the "Order of the Heel" is awarded.  First awarded in 1935, the Heel is given to a member of the senior bar who has given unselfishly of his or her time to assist young attorneys in learning the practice of law.  Less often, the Junior Bar also awards the "Order of the Sole".  The Sole is given to the attorney who has given the most unselfishly of his or her time in the development and presentation of the Gridiron Show.  As of 2002, the Sole had been awarded only nine times. 


During the summer following the Gridiron, show participants are encouraged to attend the annual Junior Bar Outing.  The Outing allows the participants to spend additional time getting to know each other in a vacation atmosphere. 


In 2003, the Gridiron Show will be celebrating its 70th anniversary. 



Scope and Content Note


The Collection consists of six series:  S1.  Printed Material, S2. Show Materials, S3. Junior Bar Outings, S4. Photos, S5. Correspondence, and S6. Reel to Reel Tape Recordings.


S1. Printed Materials, contains copies of Bar Rags, Programs, backstage passes and tickets.  S2. Show Materials consists of scripts from several shows as well as sketches and song lyrics that were not performed. 


Information about some of the Junior Bar Outings appear in S3. Junior Bar Outings.  In this series the researcher will find financial information and correspondence concerning several past Outings. Other correspondence regarding the Gridiron appears in S5.  Correspondence.


The final series is S6. Reel to Reel Tape Recordings.  These recordings are of shows from the late 1950's and 1960's.  Unfortunately, at the time of the preparation of this finding aid, the Canaday Center did not have the equipment necessary to listen to these tapes.  However, they are being preserved in case that situation should change. 


Folder List








S1.  Printed Material



Bar Rags, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1995-2002



Programs, 1981, 1991, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002



Backstage Passes and Tickets, 2001-2002






S2.  Show Materials



By Year



Howard Schwab Scripts, 1963, n.d.



1981 Gridiron Show



1984 Gridiron Show



1985 Gridiron Show



1986 Gridiron Show



1986 Gridiron Show, Financial Records



1988 Gridiron Show



Year Not Identified



Sidestages, n.d.



Skits, n.d.



Song Lyrics, n.d.



Song Lyrics, not performed, n.d.






S3.  Junior Bar Outings



1980 Outing/ Bay Valley Inn, Bay City, Michigan



1982 Outing/ Bay Valley Inn, Bay City, Michigan



1986 Outing/ Wheels Inn, Ontario, Canada






S4.  Photos



1949 Gridiron Show



1986 Gridiron Show






S5.  Correspondence



1962, 1986, n.d.






S6. Reel to Reel Tape Recordings



1959-1962 Gridiron Shows



1963 (2 tapes), 1966 (2 tapes) Gridiron Shows



1967, 1968 (3 tapes) Gridiron Shows



1969 Gridiron Show