Lou Gehrig – Boyhood Hero

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:


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