Friday, January 9, 2015

University of Illinois Homecoming Cap / Beanie 1910

Illinois Homecoming cap or beanie, made for and worn at the first college homecoming in 1910. A Holy Grail of Illinois Homecoming memorabilia.


The printed label inside the cap reads: 

Hang It On
U of I
Oct 15 1910
Stern Bothers Clothiers
Champaign Ills.

Also inside the cap are the names of students and alumni that inked their name or nicknames such as H.Leo, Bill Lee ’11, Percy ’10, F. Howard ’10, Rube ’13, Dick Graham, Dutch ’10, Penne ’10 and others.
The University of Illinois is generally accepted to have held the first true college Homecoming on this October weekend in 1910. There is some level of discussion as to what constitutes a Homecoming and several other schools have made the argument that they should also be considered when looking at which school came first. Schools such as Baylor, Indiana and Missouri lay some claim to beginning college Homecoming, but none other than Illinois seem to satisfy the generally accepted criteria for calling an event a homecoming, a formal planned annual event designed to bring alumni back to campus, and central to the events a intercollegiate football game. It really does not make any difference to most of us, but makes for an interesting story. Harvard and Yale have played since 1875, and although initially not part of an official homecoming is certainly one of the greatest football traditions and rivalries. What is primarily of interest to us and the followers of this blog is that the Illinois Homecoming tradition has generated some of the most unique, beautiful and collectable of football items . Besides this cap, think oval homecoming  pinbacks, for instance (see two such examples below).


For an interesting related site visit:  and click on the individual beanies at the top of the page..