Lou Gehrig – Boyhood Hero

September 1, 2016

We recently acquired a new football program from 1951, Columbia v. Navy, and were drawn to it by the beautiful cover illustration done by the well-known illustrator Willard Mullin.


Inside, the program contained a treat. An article I had never seen before about Lou Gehrig. It was written by Lincoln A. Werden, a sportswriter for the New York Times who also went to Commerce High School and Columbia with Lou. The article by one of his former classmates gives some interesting insights: “He came to school by subway or the “El,” took two steps at a time going up and down stairs, seldom wore a vest or top-coat in cold weather and had a terrific appetite. Once when a group of us went off on a holiday to Katonah, N.Y., Lou arrived with a huge turkey and pie that his mother had cooked. But unfortunately when we awoke the following morning, most of the turkey and pie had been consumed. Lou had a habit then of eating an early breakfast and enjoyed a hearty one that morning.”

Gehrig pictured in the Columbia 1951 program

The story also tells the tale of Lou’s aptitudes, “In the high school classroom, Lou was an apt student, especially at stenography. Since this was a commercial school ostensibly, he appeared to have a future as a shorthand expert. He was extremely active also in the Printing Club.” And then, “Lou was also a clever soccer player and then, as Columbians will recall, he was a plunging back on the Lion team, scoring the lone touchdown at South Field against Colgate, when the Red Raiders swamped us, 59-6, in 1922.”

Our website has a nice collection of vintage and historic collegiate football programs:


Harvard and the Olympics

August 3, 2016

In anticipation of the summer Olympics and celebrating the history that Harvard men and women have played in the competitions we offer the following delightful images.

A classic early 20th Century Harvard Crew member:


Depicted on the side of a mug:


Nesting Harvard football players:


A nice depiction of an early Harvard football player in wood:

harvard wood

We have a nice selection of Harvard University collectibles along with collectibles from many other colleges on our website: www.collectableivy.com.

The Top 10 Best College Football Program Covers of All Time

May 15, 2016

There are many reasons people buy and college vintage college football programs: they went to the college or university; they are looking for a relative in one; or, the simply just love the eye appeal of the cover. With this last reason in mind we offer our top ten favorites images on college football programs:

#10 This vintage Stanford v. Michigan 1949 program was drawn by Don Bloodgood and features the teams mascots in a humorous scene:


#9 Check out these old guys partying on this Stanford v. UCLA Program from 1950:


#8 This Harvard v. Cornell program from 1983 plays off the famous New Yorker’s view of the world but features the Ivy League mascots looking west!


#7 While technically not purely a football program since they played by rugby rules for a few years, this Stanford v. California program is an evocative image of collegiate sports


#6 Washington Evening Star illustrator Gib Crockett illustrated Army v. Navy programs for over 40 years. This classic from 1953 shows an enthused fan ready to play at home!


#5 This 1920 beauty from the classic Harvard v. Yale series shows artful images of leather head players with a brilliant and subtle use of color


#4 The famous illustrator Russell Patterson contributed to the genre of football programs with this Art Deco gem from the 1930 Yale-Army game


#3 This fantastic cover, done by J.D. Whiting, featuring “The Game” brings you back to the sport of 100 years ago with joy


#2 Byrd Epps, a student at Penn (’20), shows a perplexed angel standing atop the earth with a scale in this 1919 Cornell Penn Thanksgiving day classic

byrd epps


#1 It is only fitting that the greatest illustrator of college programs, Gib Crockett, did this gem of an enthusiastic fan trying to take the goal post home through 30th Street Station for the 1957 Army Navy Game:

We have a wide selection of vintage college football programs on our website:


Collegiate Flag Pins

April 30, 2016

Classic collegiate pins in the shape of a flag is a nice collectible item and a nice way to show off your school spirit. Most of the pins alumni find desirable were produced in the 1910s, ’20s and ’30s.


The most elegant are those made of sterling silver, which almost always have a “sterling” mark on the rear of the pin. The sterling designation means that the metal is 92.5% silver, with the remaining consisting of other metals.


Many pins are made in a cloisonné fashion with an enamel material for the actual flag:



brown flag

We have a nice selection of pins and other collegiate items on our website:


College Pins and Buttons

April 15, 2016

Pins featuring the name and colors or your alma mater are a nice way to show affinity to the college you love and support. We’re not sure how far back collegiate pins go; the first reference we could find was to a Bowdoin College pin referenced in the New York Times in November 1892, “A college pin has at last made its appearance. It is in the shape of a small square silver button, and across its white enameled fact is the word Bowdoin.”

Collegiate buttons mirror the evolution of buttons in the political sphere. Although their history can be traced back earlier, the first buttons widely used in a presidential campaign were in 1896. For those a little rusty on their 19th century history that was William McKinley vs. William Jennings Bryan. The first pin-back style button was patented in 1896.


Although less popular today, vintage pin-back buttons are still sought after by collectors and alumni. As seen in the image above, there is a broad range of style and types of buttons. Many were intended to be worn at football games, thus many schools have varieties that feature dangling footballs or football players.

army pin

Famous illustrators even dabbled in pins as evidenced by this nice Yale button with the design done by Rube Goldberg:


We have a nice selection of vintage pins and buttons for many colleges available on our website:


An Artist’s View of Stanford University

April 1, 2016

Andrea Fono, at the time, an emerging artist in the Bay Area, produced a “Young Artist’s Portfolio of Stanford University”, which were eight ready-to-mail landscapes of the storied University.


The cards offer beautiful imagery of the Palo Alto campus:


A beautiful, subtle use of colors in this image of an arch:


We have a nice selection of Stanford items at our website including the Artist’s Portfolio:

Website of Collectableivy.com

Unusual Collegiate Postcards

March 1, 2016

Postcards have long been out of vogue, and are clearly irrelevant in the age of social media. How do you even mail a postcard today? You mean there are places owned by the government that you actually go into to deposit them? How old-fashioned. It’s much easier to just tweet something or post it on Facebook.

Well, the world of old-fashioned postcards are actively collected. Most feature a simple piece of rigid paper measuring 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches, although as seen below, they actually come in all shapes and sizes. Since our interests run to colleges and universities, we feature some of the abnormal below, beginning with a Columbia University fold-out postcard from the turn of the century. The beautiful image of a Victorian era girl folds out to six and a half inches when fully displayed.

This Harvard postcard features an actual piece of fabric in the middle, with a raised flag:


This unusual Harvard postcard is made, of all things,  from leather:


We have a large selection of all types of collegiate postcards at our website:



Anri Wooden Collegiate Mascots

February 7, 2016

The ANRI company, located in the Alps of Northern Italy, specializes in hand-carved wooden items including collegiate mascots. Although the company still makes wooden carvings, they have not produced collegiate mascots in the last 30-40 years due to the stricter enforcement of copyright laws.

Founded in 1912, the company has a rich heritage, and as you would expect from hand-crafted Italian objects, they are very high quality.


A close-up of the colorful University of Illinois Illiniwek mascot

ANRI made wooden mascot for scores of schools including the University of Michigan, Princeton, Yale, Tulane, Columbia, Cornell, Penn State, NYU and Lehigh. ANRI collegiate mascots are often confused with those made in the United States by Carter Hoffman. Hoffman’s mascots are almost always stamped with the company name on the bottom, the ANRI mascots are unmarked.

Like each of us, ANRI mascots were done in all shapes and sizes. Typically they are five or six inches in height, although they were also done in miniature versions, as shown in the cute Columbia lion mascot below, which is two inches from end-to end.


A Columbia University lion wooden ANRI mascot

ANRI also produced other wooden accessories associated with colleges and universities, most notably letter openers.  A University of Michigan wolverine letter opener is pictured below:


ANRI carved items are sought after by collectors and alumni and are a nostalgic piece of ephemera from the glory days of collegiate life. We have a nice collection of ANRI and Carter Hoffman collectibles on our website:

Website of Collectableivy.com

The Ivy League Today

November 11, 2015

Students all over America are clamoring to get into one of the eight Ivy League colleges. This is the first book to show the layman just how these venerable schools shape up today. The combined enrollment of the eight schools on only 29,700 male students, a small proportion of the total college enrollment. Brown is training its freshman and sophomores to think for themselves it its Identification Criticism of Ideas curriculum. Columbia’s magnificent Contemporary Civilization course has been widely imitated. But Columbia alone among the Ivy group wants to double its college enrollment in the next few years and raise its academic standards so high that only half of its present undergraduates could even gain admission there. Cornell is managing to stress a liberal-arts approach to education, even though it is the largest and most complicated school in the League. At Dartmouth seniors must take the Great Issues course. This means reading The New York Times and other periodicals regularly; listening to outside lecturers like Dean Acheson, Harold Urey, and Clement Attlee; and trying to apply  to present-day problems the knowledge they have gained during four years of college. Harvard is still tops academically, and still favors complete intellectual freedom for students and faculty alike. At Pennsylvania, President Gaylord P. Harnwell, a foremost atomic scientist, not only administers a sprawling university  but teaches a freshman class himself to keep his hand in. Princeton offers three unique programs: in American Civilization, in Creative Arts, and in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. At Yale, President Griswold has been trying to stimulate the exceptional student with the new Directed Studies Program.


The above quote is from the book jacket blurb of The Ivy League Today was written in 1961 by Frederic A. Birmingham and published by the Thomas Y. Crowell Company. The subtitle is: A light-hearted reappraisal of all 8 colleges. Birmingham (Dartmouth ’33) spent nearly three years visiting the Ivy campuses, talking with students and comparing one school to another. It’s rather quaint to think that cutting edge thinking in 1961 included reading The Times periodically to expand the mind. The most striking contrast I found after reading the book was how much the world has change in the last 50 or so years, particularly in how women are viewed and treated generally. Below is a sampling of gems from the book, which really provides a nice retro look into the psyche of the Ivy League not so long ago.


Frederic A. Birmingham


Harvard is admittedly the nation’s number one educational institution as well as its oldest. Harvard College leads all others in number of graduates in Who’s Who. The Harvard undergraduate turns to intellectual pursuits with a zest he reserves for primary business. He tends to look on his college career with more than ordinary seriousness, and in this he is stimulated by everything that touches him at Harvard. Statistically the student finds the college just a overpowering. The market value of Harvard investments is $625,102,000; its endowment funds are an estimated $370,773,000. President Lowell once remarked that “every educated man should know a little of everything and something well.”



The Princeton student himself, in this happy setting, lives on a campus of extraordinary sweep and beauty. There are a full 2,225 acres of it, and every inch is superbly landscaped and groomed like some fine English estate–an effect not spoiled by the predominantly “Collegiate Gothic” buildings, which are studded with hidden quadrangles, turrets, arches, balconies and gateways. She may love or love him not, but one thing is sure, and it is that the Princetonian’s girl is going to enjoy no nightly trysts in her lad’s quarters. She is allowed to visit him on weekdays until 7 pm and on Friday and Saturday nights until the bacchanalian hour of nine. The much misunderstood social life at Princeton still centers around its eating clubs.


Dartmouth, founded as an Indian school and until quite recently considered quite remote in New Hampshire, has an outdoor tradition suggesting some of the newer colleges in the Southwest or the Northwest. Dartmouth is the American dream of a college come true. Traditionally goodness and purity dwell in the rural areas, and wickedness in the city. Nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains, Dartmouth still preserves its Indian heritage. The Dartmouth student does not live in monastic seclusion, as he one did. But his is still a simple life relatively free of the female presence or influence, and he must go far, even though he may go fast for sophisticated pleasures. There is much to be said for a college that, while happily attuned to the sophisticated Ivies, still gives its students a chance to get up early in the morning and drive along back roads where a glimpse of small game, deer or even bear is not uncommon. City boys find a lot of learning in the feel of an ax handle or in the sharp tang of a sawmill.


On Brown’s College Hill the descendants of the great skippers and the lordly merchants live as their aristocratic forebears did, in three- and four-story mansions, with a courtly air you cannot match except in the deep South. Cobbled drives curve in under their porte-cocheres, gardens and terraces are hidden by beautiful ivied walls, and the columned and porticoed fronts look down on the visitor with the benign and courteous gravity of wealth long entrenched. Brown is ancient but not antique. In eighteenth-century buildings students learn to program IBM machines or how to smash the atom.


“Self-sufficient” is probably the best word for Cornell. The students do not seem to care particularly whether they are regarded as the Ivy League or out of it. But they look down on their fellows at Colgate, Syracuse and Hamilton as unworthy neighbors sometimes grouped with Cornell only because of an irritating proximity.” When Cornell’s first little coed walked up the gorge path to her classes on the hill, the public was profoundly shocked. And it was shocked again in the nineties, when Cornell sent its women’s eight-oared crew out to churn up the waters of Lake Cayuga, in a day when proper young ladies were supposed to concentrate on needle-point and piano lessons.


Columbia draws one-third of its student body from New York City itself, and a second third from the metropolitan area surrounding the city. The “Ivy” idea is not carried through fanatically at Columbia. There are no dreamy lakes or lagoons on the campus. Just a few fountains, hundreds of steps, brick walks, and a couple of plots of crabgrass. No luxurious fraternity houses, with the brothers tossing a football around on spacious lawns. No golf course. No regal faculty row where the better-heeled professors live. The school is a paradox. Great athletes–and not first-class athletic equipment. A glittering record of intellectual achievement–by students many of whom come by subway. But the spirit of Columbia is well-nigh explosive. One of the pleasures of Columbia is contact with the girls of “associated” Barnard College, although the boys are loath to admit it. The average undergrad naturally desires a female companion composed of equal parts of Mata Hari, Cleopatra, Madame Curie, Florence Nightingale, Marilyn Monroe, and The Girl Next Door; and the Barnard girls are generally considered lacking in some of these qualities.


It is no wonder that the undergraduate here clutches his tie a little more tightly and dresses a little more self-consciously “Ivy” that his counterpart at Princeton. He shares, besides, the latent inferiority complex of all the Ivy schools with respect to the Big Three [Harvard, Yale, Princeton]. He is much more caste-conscious than a Columbia student–who may eschew Ivy clothes entirely for a more cosmopolitan drape. the Penn boy is almost uniformly found in the symbolic button-down shirt with foulard tie , Shetland jacket and unpressed pants.


Formerly it was always a good guess that a Yale man was also a prep school man. In 1935, 77.9 per cent of the undergraduates were from prep schools. The Yale student thinks of himself not as a boy but as a man, and a good part of the time he dresses like one. The Yalie buys these accouterments from Brooks Brothers and a few other conservative stores in New York. The most characteristic thing about student life at Yale is the emphasis on doing. The active man is the valuable man. This is an educational community frankly enamored of the dynamic.

Sex and the Ivy League

The elitism in the book is nothing short of astonishing looking back through today’s standards. Consider the chapter about women, which leads off with this beauty, “The Ivy male, as we have seen, is a creature of tradition and habit. He chooses his women as he does his ties. He selects only those his classmates will approve. And, by custom, the girls are almost invariably college students. In his dating habits the Ivy male displays plenty of ardor but very little social adventure. But even through occasionally he may be tempted by the undulations of a “town” girl crossing his own campus, he probably will not date her.”

We have a copy of The Ivy League Today on our website and loads of other vintage collectibles from the Ivy League schools:


The Cornell Widow Magazine

October 25, 2015

Widow was Cornell’s monthly humor magazine was published by students from 1894 through the 1960s. It’s hey-day was during the Art Deco period, when their student illustrators did spectacular works capturing the zeitgeist of the period. Some example of the Widow from the 1920s and 1930s:



The November 1923 issue cover


The January 1924 cover of Widow Magazine


And an illustration from within the January 1924 magazine


April 1925 Cornell Widow Magazine


June 1925 Cornell Widow Magazine

We have some nice vintage copies of the Cornell Widow for sale on our website as well as other collectibles from Cornell and other colleges.

website of collectableivy.com