Sunday, December 28, 2014

Early University of Illinois Pennant (Pretty Darn Big)


 1920 plus or minus, this is the largest college pennant we have come across. It has sewn on lettering, is in near mint shape, and retains its vibrant color. It measures 63 1/4" in length and at its widest point measures 33 3/4".

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

1890s Yale - Princeton Panoramic Photo

Early panoramic cabinet photos are unusual and quite rare.  This 1890s  photo of the Yale – Princeton football game, with a great perspective, is identified as being from the 1893 game (November 30, 1893, Manhattan Field), although I believe it may have been taken at the 1898 (November 12, 1898, at Princeton, NJ) contest, judging from the background. The photo minus the mat measures approximately 9 1/2 “x 3 ½”.  If you look closely, on the grass behind the line of spectators is a bicycle-built-for-two laying on the ground.

1920 University of Pittsburg Football Team / Pop Warner / Herb Stein

                          1920 Pittsburg Panthers team photo (photo without frame 19 ¼ x 10 ¾”) 

Glenn “Pop” Warner (back row far right in team photo) coached Pitt from 1915 – 1923 with an overall 60-12-4 record. The 1920 team went undefeated, (with two ties against Syracuse and Penn State)


Captaining the team was Herb Stein (center with ball), a player we may have known little or nothing about before reading “Breaker Boys: The NFL’s Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship”. It is an extraordinary tale of the Pottsville Maroons winning and losing the NFL championship, based on a territorial dispute.  Herb Stein was an integral part of this team and played alongside his brother Russ. Very interesting and entertaining stories related to Herb and his brother Russ can be found in chapter four, in particular, of the above-mentioned book.

Herb played for Pitt from 1918-1921, captaining the team in 1920.  He was All-American his junior and senior years and entered the College HOF in 1967. He played in the NFL, first joining the Buffalo All-Americans in 1921. From 1922-1923 he played for the Toledo Maroons, in 1924 for the Frankford Yellow Jackets and from 1925 through 1928 he was with the Pottsville Maroons. In 1922 he made George Halas’ 1st team All-NFL and was selected to Joe Carr’s NFL All Star Team (as center), in 1925, along with Red Grange, Joey Sternaman, Link Lyman, Ed Healey and a handful of others.

Herb and Russ were named All-Americans in 1921 (the Steins are the only brothers named All-Americans in the same year), and Russ was a Rose Bowl MVP.

The photograph itself has an ink inscription on the bottom right identifying the team as 1922, which is incorrect. A label affixed to the glass correctly has the year as 1920.

Monday, December 15, 2014

1884 Wesleyan Football Team / J.A. Saxe / F.D. Beattys


                                               1884, Wesleyan Foot Ball Eleven (names overlayed)

"Wesleyan made football history at Harvard the next Saturday (November 1, 1884) by causing the biggest upset in Harvard's football annals up to that time. They trounced the overconfident Crimson players 16 to 0"..."Judd and Saxe were the bane of Harvard's existence throughout the game, as they made one spectacular run after another. Judd added insult to injury by kicking a beautiful field goal near the end of the first half, to bring the score to 16 to 0.  Harvard played hard in the second period but the Cardinal and Black was playing inspired football and stopped everything Harvard attempted. No score was made in this half."   

Excerpt from "The History of Football at Harvard" 1948.

Wesleyan played a significant role in the development of American football and in the early 1880s was playing against the likes of Williams, Harvard, Amherst, Princeton, Penn and Yale. One interesting note - when researching the 1884 team it became obvious from a review of the team rosters in the Wesleyan yearbooks, The Olla Podrida, and published rosters from varsity games played during 1883 and 1884 (particularly with Princeton)  that there was considerable overlap and flexibility in player utilization.  Just over half of the members of the team played in both years, and members listed only on the 1884 roster were found to be playing in 1883 just as team members listed only on the 1883 roster were found to be playing in 1884 games.
Depending on the source either G.T Judd or J.A. Saxe were listed as Captain for these years. 

                                                       James Alfred (J.A.) Saxe, Half-Back

                      Saxe, considered one of the leading players of this period, continued playing football after graduating from Wesleyan, for Harvard, in 1887 and 1889. A significant cabinet photo of a star player.


                                                                         F.D. Beattys
Frank Beattys (F.D.), was a significant figure not just at Wesleyan, but to the development of early college football and rule-making in particular. He managed the 1884 University Eleven and was a rusher on the ’85 class Foot-Ball team, but more significantly, Beattys was a member of the rule making body for the Intercollegiate Football Association, the Graduate Advisory Committee. He and the small number of representatives formulated, changed and voted on many of the most significant parts of the game. Names like Poe, Camp, Moffatt and MClung, the biggest names of the day were often part of the membership or proceedings. 

A review of a compilation of "Proceedings of Intercollegiate Conventions, Conferences and Sessions of Rules Committees" lists Beattys  as having attended all but one or two of the rules meeting that took place from November 1886 to November 1893. We are listing the specific dates of the meetings Beattys took part in as these dates are frequently referred to in references that cite important changes to the game. The dates are as follows:  November 28, 1886, March 26, 1887, June 5, 1887, March 3, 1888, March 2, 1889, March 30, 1889, November 4, 1889, November 14, 1889, May 10, 1890, Oct 4, 1890, October 5, 1891, March 21, 1892, March 4, 1893, October 28, 1893.  In a letter dated November 5, 1893, Wesleyan resigned its membership in the Association, and thus Beattys' tenure on the rules committee ended as well.


Two pages from the Spalding Foot-Ball Rules and Referee’s Book from 1893. Beattys is pictured with Walter Camp, Alexander Moffat and J.C. Bell (Graduate Advisory Committee).

G.T. Judd, Captain

A.E. Sutherland, Rusher

S.S. Abbott, Rusher

F.T. Smith, Rusher

F.B. Upham, Quarterback

A.L. Green, Substitute, Judge

E.S. Gordy Rusher
George (G.D.) Beattys, Half-Back, Substitute (twin brother of F.D. Beattys)

               Leather cover of D.W.B. Thompson's ('85) (rusher on the 1883 and 1884 University Elevens) Wesleyan yearbook, from which all of the cabinet photos pictured originated. The album was complete and only pertinent photos were included in this blog posting.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

'Neath The Elms - The Yale Fence - 1870s Pach Bros Cabinet Photo

Outstanding 1870s Pach Bros cabinet photo. This photo was used for the frontispiece of the publication "The History of the Class of '82: Yale College 1879 - 1910", and was titled " 'Neath The Elms". The Yale Fence, in front of Old Brick Row, was so much more than just the prop against which Yale team captains in particular would lean or sit in photographs taken from the 1870s until present day. Collectors and researchers can all probably recall dozens of such photographs they have viewed.

The history of the fence itself has any number of interesting stories associated with it. What is most well documented was the failed fight to save the fence, and that it was gone in its entirety by mid 1888. The book “Yale, Her Campus, Classrooms, and Athletics (1899), has a chapter “The Fight to Save the Fence” specifically addressing the attempt to save the fence from being removed, by protests and petition (signed by students an twenty-one-hundred alumni).   Previous to 1888 there is also reason to believe that sections of the fence were removed or destroyed and that much of the fence may have been destroyed in 1879.

In 1879, after a particularly damaging (to the fence) class rush, Pach Bros. obtained a section of the original fence and began using this at their New Haven studio, acknowledging and further cementing it’s  significance. Early cabinet photos show the identifiable fence section with its split middle rail, which was used in their photos up until 1952. Painted backdrops are evident in these early cabinet photos and are painted to represent the fence’s original location at the college. For a good example of this see our July 4, 2014 blog posting.

All classes had specific areas on the fence on which they could sit, and at any given time there would commonly be two to three hundred people on/at the fence. Numbers of Yale traditions involved the fence and it was held 'sacred' in many respects.  William Phelps Eno, class of '82 constructed an exact replica of the old fence at Yale around 1900, "to make up, as far as possible, for the irreparable loss of the original fence which had been removed to permit the erection of Osborn Hall". There is an abundance of what turns out to be fascinating reading on this subject. Besides the above listed reference, two other good sources for information on the fence are “Yale, A History” (1999), by Kelley, and, “A Bowl Full of Memories, 100 Years of Football at the Yale Bowl,(2014) by Rich Marazzi. 

                                                          Large Albumin of "The Fence"

Jacob at the Yale Club in Manhattan, attending the Japanese Medical Society of America scholarship presentation ceremony, May 10, 2016. He happened upon this section of 'The Fence' they proudly have on display.