Monday, January 18, 2016

1892 New York Recorder Football Supplements

Picturing members of the three predominant football teams in 1892, these “souvenir” supplements are considered to be the first set of colored newspaper supplements ever issued (preceding the 1893 colored supplements of the World newspaper), and are likely the second set of collectable football ephemera (supplements/cards/inserts) after the 1888 Goodwin Champions series. These football supplements are harder to come by than either the Goodwin’s or the 1894 Mayo’s (portraying players from 1893), and to date have generally, but not always been more affordable when you do find them than the average Mayo card.
These supplements are part of a series that included not only football but other sports teams and high profile celebrities and subjects of the day (these are the only football related supplements) and were included with the New York Recorder, a newspaper that appears to have existed from 1891 until 1896.
Football news coverage came of age in the mid to late 1890s, resulting in large part from competition between NY newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst (NY Journal) and Joseph Pulitzer (World) as well as the Sun and the New York Herald. An example of the fierce competitive environment that developed at this time was Pulitzer paying Richard Harding Davis (blog entry Nov 21, 2013) the unimaginable sum of $500 to cover the 1895 Princeton – Yale football game for his paper.
Some of the more prominent players pictured in the team photo supplements are for Yale,
Mayo subjects Hinkey and Hickok. Also pictured is Captain Vance McCormick.
The Harvard supplement includes William Henry Lewis (blog entry Aug 10, 2015), and Everett Lake (blog entry Nov 5, 2013) and the Princeton supplement includes Mayo subjects Langdon Lea (blog entry Sept 14, 2013), Thomas Trenchard (blog entry July 7, 2013), Art Wheeler and Augustus Holly as well as notable football personalities Johnny Poe and Captain Phil King. 

Supplements measure between 8 ¾” to 9” in width by 6 3/8” in height.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

1874 Notman Composite Photo Hamilton / Argonaut Rugby Football


The pictured composite photo, titled “Hamilton and Argonauts: First Rugby Football Teams in Canada”,  is contemporary to the two more commonly viewed composite photos by  Notman, the Harvard versus McGill Football Matches, Montreal, October 23, 1874 and November 12, 1875, both of which are shown below (see also blog entry dated June 12, 2015). This 1874 composite by Notman and Fraser portrays the Ontario team made up of the Argonaut Rugby Football Club (established 1873 as an extension of the Argonaut Rowing Club), and the Leander Club of Hamilton (established in 1869) that played an interprovincial match against Quebec. The Argonauts included recently transplanted Englishmen Roger and Harold Lambe, pictured in the photos, who were two of the most notable rowers of the period (ex London Rowing Club) and who introduced English Rugby Football to the members of the Argonaut Rowing Club.
The inscriptions in the margin are original to the composite. 
These composites are an important part of documenting the England to Canada to the Unites States story of Rugby Football and how it morphed under ever-changing rules and adaptations, particularly through the 1870s.
We know of and have seen only the few football related composites mentioned in this entry.
The first step in creating a composite photograph is an artist rendering or drawing that places people and objects at the appropriate angles and distances that will exist in the finished photograph. Each individual has their photograph taken separately, in a studio setting, using head or neck rests to keep their likeness from blurring. Each of the sitters busts are then carefully trimmed out from the original photo and pasted onto a realistically painted background, in the case of exterior views in particular, and blended with paint to add realistic details to the sitter and the scene.
These composite photos involved an immense amount of planning, logistics and photographic and artistic work and the level of this work was proportional to the number of sitters, which could number into the hundreds. This process also allowed for the inclusion of individuals who may not be present at the time or who were deceased, in the finished product, as long as a photograph was available.
The hope of the photographer was to be able to sell copies of the photograph to all of the sitters in a composite photo.
Contact prints were then made from the original negatives and offered for sale in at least a half dozen sizes, including 8” x 10”, the dimensions of this piece.
Composites by Notman were made as early as 1864 and were exceedingly popular in the 1870s and 1880s. Notman established a number of branches in Canada in the 1860s and 1870s and opened an office up in Boston in 1883, which initially competed with the likes of Pach for the college photo market.

Close-up of title and margin

Composite Photo of Harvard - McGill October 23, 1874 Football Match

Composite Photo of Harvard - McGill November 12, 1875 Football Match

Note: the painted backgrounds in all three composites are very similar as all three composites pictured the Montreal Cricket grounds with Mount Royal in the background, although backgrounds were painted by two different Notman artists.