The Earliest Ivy League Football Programs

We know the first game between ivy league schools when when Columbia met Yale on November 16, 1872 at Hamilton Park near New Haven, Connecticut.

As far as the first program printed for a football game, we estimate that the first was for the Harvard-Yale game also played at Hamilton Park on November 13th, 1875. This was the first time Harvard played Yale in a Football game and the first time any two college teams worm uniforms to play the game. This simple four page program listed the last names of the Harvard Players in red and the Yale Players in blue and had a space for the name of the referee and space to keep track of goals and the time of each goal. The images below are from an 1876 program, but is substantially identical to the 1875 program. An original 1876 program sold at auction recently for almost $4,000!

 harvard yale

Note the Yale player Camp ’80. This is Walter Camp, the “father” of American football who played for Yale in these early years.

harvard yale 2

 Early turn of the century Harvard-Yale programs:

harvard yale 1897


harvard yale 1904


3 Responses to “The Earliest Ivy League Football Programs”

  1. Steve Greene Says:

    Very interesting site. I thought you might want to know the following information I found on the Internet recently:

    According to the Heritage Auction Galleries website, the November 16, 1872 Columbia-Yale program was 4½ by 5½ inches and contained the names of the players, officials and nine blank lines to record goal scorers. On May 4, 2007 the only known one was sold for $23,900.

    Saw this at:

  2. Rhys Yeakley Says:

    I have recently purchased 5 original Ivy League Football programs from Yale between 1873 and 1874 including three which pre-date the Hall of Fame example you picture on your site, all of which are complete and in great condition for the age. They are unfortunately later than the one Heritage sold. Mine are 1873 Yale v. Rutgers, 1873 Yale v. Columbia, 1873 Yale v. Princeton and 1874 Yale v. Columbia (2 different examples from different games). What types of prices do you think these would fetch at auction? Great site and I learned a lot by reading your articles here today.

    Rhys Yeakley

  3. collectableivy Says:

    Rhys – short answer is a lot. As you know, a lot depends on condition. assuming they are all in great shape as you state my guess would be between certainly more than $1,000 each, probably much higher if you get two eager bidders. There are not a lot of comparable prices for such early programs, a Harvard-Yale 1881 program sold for~800 during 2007 but the condition wasn’t that great. John

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