The Big Red – Romeyn Berry

Romeyn Berry was an American sports administrator who created the Cornell motto of “The Big Red.”

Nicknamed “Rym,” Berry attended Cornell University, graduating in 1904 and earning a law degree in 1906. During his senior year, Berry was elected to the Sphinx Head Society and editor of the Cornell Widow with George Jean Nathan as business manager. In 1905, Berry composed the lyrics for the Cornell song The Big Red Team, thereby dubbing Cornell athletics “The Big Red.” Berry later became the Graduate Director of Cornell Athletics from 1919 to 1935. During these years, Berry also served as graduate manager of the Cornell University Glee Club.

He was inducted into the Cornell Athletic Hall of Fame in 1980.

Berry pictured in Cornell-Penn 1922 Football Program

Berry wrote a book called Behind the Ivy: Fifty Years in One University With Visits to Sundry Others which was published in 1950 by Cornell University Press. The book is collection of sketches from Cornell Alumni News under the heading “Now, in My Time”.

An article by Berry also appears in the Columbia v. Cornell Program of 1939 where de writes about how the tradition of football coaches having to be an alumni has died.

Berry pictured in the Columbia-Cornell 1939 program

We have a nice selection of vintage football programs including several featuring Berry on our website:



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