Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Marshall Newell: A Memorial For His Classmates and Friends

 Years ago we wanted to acquire an original copy of “Marshall Newell: A Memorial For His Classmates and Friends”, but when the book became available, which was rarely, they were far too expensive. I found a copy earlier this month, in very nice shape, and we purchased it. Coincidently, it was delivered on December 24th, the anniversary of his death, 126 years ago (1897).

Having read the book today, I found myself with a greater admiration for Newell and the way he led his life: man of quiet moral character who had a remarkable tie to, and appreciation for, nature. He was loved, admired and respected by those who knew him and by those who only knew of him. The excerpts from his diary, published in the book, were only slightly removed from true poetry in the way he wrote them. He was considered the ideal to which all Harvard students wished to emulate.

It is a wonderful book that I recommend reading (a quick read). It leaves its readers wishing for times when things were more ordered, simpler, and more decent.

Reading this book, at this moment in time, made me think about how much of the current Harvard undergraduate student body as well as Harvard’s leadership represent the antithesis to what Newell represented and believed in. How disappointed he would be.

Marshall Newell, April 12, 1871 – December 24, 1897, was one of only four individuals who were four time All-Americans in football, the others being Truxton Hare, Gordon Brown and Frank Hinkey. Newell prepped at Phillips Exeter. He played on the Varsity Eleven at Harvard in 1890, 1891, 1892 and 1893 and rowed Varsity Crew in 1891, 1892 and 1893. The Newell Boathouse on the Charles River was constructed in his memory. He died in a railway yard accident at 26 years of age.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Rare Modified Batwing Style Nose Guard / Penna Guard Style / 1906


One of the rarest styles of nose masks. This modified batwing style guard (almost identical to Penna Guard nose masks) was manufactured near the tail end of nose guard usage, which may account for its significant rarity. It was inscribed by its owner, 1906.

Original strap intact, guard overall length 5 5/8”.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The Dirge Handbill / 1860 / Edward Hartwell Kidder


Original handbill, with the printed "Dirge", carried by Edward Hartwell Kidder (superimposed on the hand-bill in this post), Harvard class of 1863, sung by him and those in attendance on Monday September 3rd, 1860 when the sophomore class buried a football on the Delta (where Memorial Hall now sits) as a protest to the cessation of the "Bloody Monday" football contests between sophomores and freshman. Despite many reports and publications, only the Monday game was abolished (traditionally played on the first Monday of the college year) and not football as played normally.

This handbill is an absolute rarity, as only two are known to exist, both emanating from the Kidder estate (the other selling at auction in 2017). It remains in wonderful original condition with a distinct fold line down the vertical center. This happens to be one of my top twenty favorite pieces from our collection. I've always thought it was a great piece; historically significant, quite early in the scheme of American football, and one of the more interesting stories from 19th century sports. The H Book of Harvard Athletics devotes at least eight pages to this burial event. The  news article below sums up the circumstances around the burial and the specifics of "The Dirge" - it makes for a fun and informative read.

                                                     Edward Hartwell Kidder at Harvard

                                 Edward Hartwell Kidder while at Kidder Peabody

                                                A full album page with the Kidder photos

 All photos of Edward Hartwell Kidder in this post are from the book, Frozen in Time, which discusses the author's great great grandmother's photo album from the 1860s. Frozen in Time An Early Carte de Visite Album from New Bedford, Massachusetts, Susan Snow Lukesh, 2021 (figures 12c and 12d, discussion on page 57) . Dr. Lukesh sent me high definition photos and graciously allowed me to use them in this blog posting.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Francis Douglas Cochrane / Harvard Trophy Mug 1898


                                                        Photo - glass bottom of mug

Pewter trophy championship mug with the class of ’99 baseball team photograph taken in 1898, developed on the glass bottom, awarded to F.D. Cochrane for his part in the Harvard class of ’99 winning the “Base Ball Championship,  1898”.  The class team won 3 games and lost none to win the championship, Cochrane being the team’s pitcher. Cochrane appears in the photo at the top left, holding the baseball. Cochrane had also been a member of his class Football Team his freshman year. The trophy is in outstanding condition, the photo-glass bottom being clear and fully intact. These trophies are quite rare. Trophy mug is 9” in height. One of only two other examples I know of is pictured in “Antique Sports Uniforms & Equipment” by Hauser, Turner and Gennantonio, page 13, also a Harvard class of ’99 championship trophy mug.

Francis Cochrane was better known to us as a member of the varsity Football Eleven, playing in 1897 and 1898, at left end and also performing many of the kicking duties. Records show that he was a substitute quarterback in 1896 and 1897, which we were unaware of. In 1898 Cochrane was a Camp Second-Team All-American as well as an Outing First-Team All-American.

Interestingly, Cochrane had gone out for a position on the Varsity Nine, as catcher, but apparently did not get the nod.

Former football players often went back to assist the present day coaches. In 1901 and 1902 there are numerous records of Cochrane doing just that, frequently helping  coach the University and Second Elevens. He was one of a number of past players assuming these duties and did so alongside recognizable names including J. Dunlop (Anonymous), P.D. Haughton, B.G. Waters, E.N. Wrightington B.H. Dibble and W.H. Lewis. 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

1902 Princeton Football Team / John Dewitt


Our blog post dated December 25, 2020 first referenced Joseph H. Bearns and his attendance at every Yale – Princeton  match from 1890 until 1949, 56 of 57 matches, missing only 1901 due to illness (1917, 1918 and 1944 were not played due to war).

It was Bearns who called out John Dewitt as the most outstanding Princeton player overall that he had seen (echoed in other references) in six decades of watching Princeton football.

Having never picked up a photo of or with Dewitt in it we chose to bid on the above team photo several months ago.

This team photo, with all members identified, is from 1902. Dewitt (front row second from the right) would captain the Tigers the following year, taking over from Davis (holding the ball). The two had played directly across from one another in 1899 when Lawrenceville met Andover. Both were tackles at the time, Davis moving to end and Dewitt to guard at Princeton. Dewitt was a two time All-American (1902, 1903) at the guard position (as well as performing all of the team's kicking). He became well known for competing in the hammer throw (world record in 1903), winning a silver medal in the summer Olympics in 1904. (There are many interesting parallels to William Hickok of Yale; see blog post dated August 27, 2023). 

It is well known that Dewitt as a freshman broke bones in the back of his right hand. What isn't well known is that afterwards he wore a sole leather guard on the back of his hand for protection. According to Heff Herring, Sandy Hunt, a Cornell guard (and former Captain) claimed this hand guard "partook of the nature of a lethal weapon". It is unknown how the changes in the 1903 football rules affected the use of this guard (rule 27), as any "devices for protectors must be arranged and padded as, in the judgement of the umpire, to be without danger to other players" (For a related post dealing with this rules change see the post dated August 15, 2022).

                                            Dewitt wearing his hand guard

As an aside to the subject matter of this post, we got to wondering whether Bearns was alone in his attendance records and passion for Princeton – Yale football games. We’d like to share some of what we found.

From the December 1, 1933 Princeton Alumni Weekly:

“Joseph H. Bearns of Brooklyn writes to the Weekly to know if anyone can compete with his unique record for attendance at Yale – Princeton football games. He has attended thirty seven out of the last 38 (as of 1933), and is not an alumnus of either institution. The best record for an alumnus, as Princetonians well know is held by Thomas N. McCarter ’88, who has seen every game since 1878. Henry G. Duffield ’81, former treasurer of the University has seen every game since 1884. Judge Lewis H. Van Dusen ’98 of Philadelphia has seen every Yale – Princeton game since 1892.”

From the Richmond Times Dispatch, February 24, 1950:

“Longtime Princeton Fan, Henry G. Duffield, Dies (February 22, 1950). Henry G. Duffield, an ardent Princeton University football fan for 80 of his 90 years, died last night at his home. Duffield as a boy of 10, witnessed the second intercollegiate football game here in 1869. He saw last year’s game from an automobile parked near the field in Palmer Stadium. During his lifetime, Duffield saw 550 of Princeton’s 623 football games. He hadn’t missed a Princeton – Yale game since 1884. Born here and a member of the Princeton class of 1881, Duffield was the treasurer of the university for 30 years before his retirement in 1930.”

From the Jersey Journal  November 10, 1938 Jersey City, NJ:

“Four football enthusiasts, one of them a resident of this city will add to the longstanding “big 3” game attendance records when Yale and Princeton meet at Palmer Stadium, in Princeton, in the 62nd game of the series. Charles C. Black of this city, former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice, has missed but two of the Tiger and Bulldog clashes. A member of the 1878 graduating class, Black failed to see the first game between the rivals in 1873 and the one in 1879. Thomas N. McCarter, of Rumson, like Black, has been a regular attendant. He launched his string in 1878 and has seen 58 games, while Henry G. Duffield of Princeton has seen 53 since 1884. All three and Joseph H. Bearns of Brooklyn, who has seen 38 since 1890, will be on hand again Saturday." 

One other individual had been mentioned in regards to his attendance at the Princeton - Yale games, John B. Renwick (Princeton Alumni Weekly, November 13, 1936). Renwick had been the former host at the Nassau Inn and later ran his own business, Renwick's Restaurant. He had seen 43 Princeton - Yale games as of 1936, passing away in 1937. Coincidently, to this post, Renwick presented John Dewitt with " a de luxe edition of "The History of Princeton Athletics" bearing the following inscription: To John R. Dewitt: The universally acknowledged football hero of 1903, captain of the championship team which, after winning an unbroken series of games, unscored on by opponents, triumphed over Yale by a score of 11-6; to a player of unexcelled ability; to a captain than whom there has been no greater; to Princeton's favorite who made the first touchdown for Old Nassau in the Yale game, this book is presented by his friend, John B. Renwick."(New York Evening Post, November 21, 1903)

Unfortunately, as far as we know, only Bearns put pen to paper and published his assessments of Princeton and Yale players, teams and contests over a six decade period  (in two publications). He saw many of the early greats compete.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

Scarce J.A. Saxe Signature


We originally wrote about James Alfred Saxe as part of our post of December 15, 2014, 1884 Wesleyan Football Team / J.A. Saxe / F.D. Beattys. We found a superb and scarce example of his signature and wanted to share it. 

As previously stated, Saxe was a leading player of the period, first playing for Wesleyan, then Harvard in 1887 and 1889. 

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Tim Wakefield 1966 - 2023

 Tim Wakefield played nineteen seasons in MLB, and was a Red Sox fan favorite, known for his knuckleball pitch. Jacob and Tim around 2005.