Princeton is a Green Phoenix : F. Scott Fitzgerald.

September 14, 2017

F. Scott Fitzgerald is an icon of American literature. Fitzgerald attended Princeton, dropping out in 1917 to join the Army. In 1927 he wrote an essay about the University that he loved.

Fitzgerald: My Lost City: Personal Essays, 1920-1940 (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald) is a 340 page hardcover book, published in 2005. Twice during the last decade of his life, in 1934 and 1936, F. Scott Fitzgerald proposed a collection of his personal essays to Maxwell Perkins, his editor at Charles Scribner’s Sons. Perkins was unenthusiastic on both occasions and Fitzgerald dies in 1940 without having put his best essays between hard cover. Fortunately, Fitzgerald left behind a table of contents, and with this list as a guide it has been possible to publish this book the collection he envisioned.

The book includes a chapter on Princeton written in 1927. Fitzgerald writes, “Princeton is in the flat midlands of New Jersey, rising, a green Phoenix, out of the ugliest country in the world. Sordid Trenton sweats and festers a few miles south; northward are Elizabeth and the Erie Railroad and the suburban slums of New York; westward are the dreary upper purlieus of the Delaware River. But around Princeton, shielding her, is a ring of silence–certified milk dairies, great estates packed with peacocks and deer parks, pleasant farms and woodlands which we paced off and mapped down in the spring of 1917 in preparation for the war. The busy East has already dropped away when the branch line train rattles familiarly from the junction. Two tall spires and then suddenly all around you spreads out the loveliest riot of Gothic architecture in America, battlement linked on to battlement, hall to hall, arch-broken, vine-covered–luxuriant and lovely over two square miles of green grass. Hers is no monotony, no feel that it was all built yesterday at the whim of last week’s millionaire; Nassau Hall was already twenty years old when Hessian bullets pierced its sides.”

The Princeton chapter gives an interesting look at the pre-war University and its mores and traditions. He delves into the eating clubs and the admissions process, which is quite different than today’s.

The book is an undiscovered gem. Other chapters include his recollections of New York City, women and his philosophy of life. We have a nice selection of Princeton memorabilia on our website including My Lost City:

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The Best, Most Impressive Art Deco Football Program Ever

August 20, 2017

Absolutely stunning Art Deco football program from the Yale v. Army game of 1928, a game played at Yale. What makes the program exceptional, however, is the imagery on the cover and inside, and the artists who did the illustrations. Internally there is an image done by John Held Jr. and is titled “The Love Life of a Halfback” (pictured). Held was the preeminent artist of the Jazz Age who was widely published in the New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar, Life Magazine and Vanity Fair. Held was famous for his depiction of the popular Roaring Twenties dance ‘The Charleston’ and his depictions of college-age women and in particular “the flapper”. The cover illustration and a full-page interior illustration was done by Russell Paterson. A graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, Patterson also popularized the iconic images of the Jazz Age and essentially created the “lithe, full-breasted, long-legged American girl-goddess.” His illustrations appeared on the cover of Life Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Vanity Fair. The subtle use of pastel colors on the cover is as good as it gets. The illustration is titled “To the Victor” and shows a victorious football player surrounded by young adoring female fans of the era. It is one of the ultimate expressions of the Deco era and evokes images and a time that with F. Scott Fitzgerald popularized in the Great Gatsby. One of the most amazing and impressive college football programs ever produced!

Automobiles of the period were also exceptionally stylish as evidenced by the color Stutz advertisement above, from the interior of the program

Macy’s was also the place to buy your flapper garb!

The John Held, Jr. illustration in the program

We have a nice selection of vintage college football programs, including those with Deco themes on our website:

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Vintage College Slide Rules

July 17, 2017

Logarithms, the basis of slide rules, were invented by the Baron of Merchiston, John Napier, in Scotland in 1614. After a couple of centuries of tinkering and development, advanced mathematics took a quantum leap with a game changing device that made calculating complex formulas and mathematics easier: the slide rule. They effectively become obsolete in 1976 as the hand held calculator became available (at prices in the hundreds of dollars). A complicated device, the slide rule allowed the user to do basic multiplication, wrap around multiplication,  folded-scale multiplication, division, square roots and reciprocals. Things really got crazy when it turned to trigonometry. Then the world transmogrified into sines, cosines, roots, cube-roots and powers. It was at that point that most people left the building.

 

A slide rule owned by a Cornell University engineering student

However, for engineers and mathematicians, slide rules were cool: they were the Sony Walkman and iPhones of their day. Whoever had them was looked up to. Man, they were not only cool, but wicked smart. The heyday of the slide rule was between the 1930s and 1960s. The Keuffel & Esser Company were one of the primary makes of slide rules, and today we highlight two specimens made by the company: one for Cornell students and another for those at Yale. Not only did you have your slide rule, which made you a cool dude, but like today’s iPhone cases, you also had a cool case to carry it in. See the Yale case below featuring the school’s mascot, the bulldog.

The Yale slide rule made by Keuffel & Esser

We have a nice selection of original vintage slide rules and other collegiate collectibles on our website:

Website of Collectableivy.com

Birds-Eye Views of the Ivy League

July 3, 2017

Harper & Brothers Publishers published an amazing book in 1895. It focuses on “Four American Universities,” specifically Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia. The 202 page book offers great historical context on each of the elite schools and includes over fifty nineteenth century illustrations of the schools. the piece-de-resistance of the book, however, are four fold out birds-eye views of the schools. In the pre-automobile era, each of the images show horse drawn carriages in front of the school and trolley cars.


Columbia University in 1895

The view seen above would look unfamiliar to the visitor to today’s campus because the view is looking North from Forty-ninth Street. The current campus in Morningside Heights opened in May of 1896. Rockefeller Center stands on the site of what is depicted.

Birds-Eye view of the Princeton Campus in 1895

The Princeton Campus along University Place shows a different campus than the one that exists today. Namely, several buildings were replaced over the years on the land that Rockefeller College now sits on: the Observatory, the old Tiger Inn and Reunion Hall.

The leafy campus of Yale as seen in the birds-eye view

The chapter in the book on Yale was written by Arthur T. Hadley who served as its president from 1899 to 1921.

The birds-eye view of Harvard 

The chapter on Harvard was written by the Harvard scholar Charles Eliot Norton.

We have a nice selection of Ivy League memorabilia includes Four American Universities on our website:

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Monopoly Game for your favorite University

June 9, 2017

We’ll bet you don’t know who Elizabeth Magie is off the top your head. Well, she invented the original Monopoly, at the time called the Landlord’s Game. She even applied for a patent for it in 1903. Oddly enough the game didn’t take off immediately and even Parker Brothers turned down the option to produce the game. It was a University of Pennsylvania professor that was instrumental in the game’s gaining traction. He used the game to help teach his students about real estate. Parker Brothers took over the game in 1934 and the rest, as they say is history.

 

In 1991 a company named Late for the Sky Production in Cincinnati, Ohio came up with the idea to do spin off versions of the famous Monopoly game, but substituting the streets of Atlantic City for locals at well know universities. Exhibit A, above, appropriately is of the University of Pennsylvania. Instead of going to jail in the University version of the game you go on academic probation. The Harvard version of the game features properties clustered together by color: instead of having Boardwalk and Park Place you instead have the Dunster House, Adams House and Eliot House. The cards you pick up when landing on various spots on the board might feature a library fine ($50), increased tuition ($200) or making the deans list (receive $200).


The Yale version of the game (Yaleopoly) allows you to buy Mory’s, the Law School or the Yale Bowl.

Players (students) receive a diploma after they have four Years of Credit on each property. Only one diploma can be on each property. The game is fun way for students and alumni to remember their golden years.

The company ceased making the game several years ago, but not before producing a Californiaopoly, Irishopoly, Brownopoly, Stanfordopoly and game for many more schools. We typically have nice selection of the games available on our website:

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Princeton University Postcards

December 13, 2016

We were inspired to write about Princeton postcards recently after exploring a delightful book titled Princeton: A Picture Postcard History of Princeton and Princeton University.

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This well researched book details some interesting nuances about early Princeton postcards. We always knew that the “card” series of postcards were highly collectible and sought after. We didn’t realize that there were eight cards produced in the series. Four “College Queens” including Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale and Harvard were accompanied by four “College Kings” which included Cornell, Michigan, Columbia and the University of Chicago. The cards were issued before the formation of the Ivy League by Raphael Tuck & Sons of England and Michigan and Chicago were at the time football rivalries to the eastern schools.

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Raphael Tuck & Son’s claim to fame was they were “Art Publishers to Their Majesties the King and Queen.”

We also learned that the “Big Cannon” depicted in the postcard below was the larger of two field pieces abandoned by the British during the American Revolution.

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The postcard below depicts Patton Hall shown just before the Second World War when it was the last dormitory to the south of the main campus. You can see the remote nature this part of the campus had with grass tennis courts in front of the dorm. The building was named for Francis Landey Patton who was the president of the University when it was renamed from the College of New Jersey to Princeton.

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Visit our website for a nice collection of collegiate memorabilia include postcards: Collectableivy.com

University of California, Berkeley, in Victorian Times

November 1, 2016

In celebration of the upcoming Stanford v. California football game, we share a great piece of vintage art related to the University of California.

 

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Published by the Student’s Cooperative, University of California, Berkeley. Vintage early University of California picture book of views. The early sepia-style photos feature campus buildings and scenes including North Hall, the Library, California Hall, the Chemistry Building, an approach to the campus, the football statue and more.

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Undated, but likely early 1900s based on the Victorian style dresses the women pictured are wearing.

We have a nice selection of vintage collegiate items on our website:

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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.


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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.”

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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:

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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:

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Depicted on the side of a mug:

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Nesting Harvard football players:

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

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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:

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

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#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!

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#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

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#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!

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#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

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

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

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#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

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#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:

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

Collectableivy.com