Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Magic Lantern and the Ivy League

December 1, 2013

These vintage, original hand-colored “Magic Lantern” slides depict three early fans holding pennants from Harvard, Columbia, NYU and Yale. Undated but circa 1900s.

magic lantern 1

They were produced by Scott and Van Altena, 59 Pearl Street, NYC and measures 3 1/4 inches x 4 inches with vibrant colors.

magic lantern 2

A magic lantern is an early type of image projector originally developed in the seventeenth century. It works by placing a concave mirror in front of a light source which projects through a slide with an image scanned onto it.

magic lantern 3

The inverse of this slide shows the fan in reverse holding the flags.

magic lantern 4

Our website features many nice vintage collectibles:

Early Stanford University Recruiting Brochure

October 1, 2013

This nice “Stanford Days” brochure was produced in the 1930s to be given to prospective students.

stanford days

It describes the campus, environment and area well. The tuition is $100 per quarter ($130 for the Graduate School of Business and $115 for the School of Medicine). There is no smoking on the Quad. “A few days after the University opened, Mrs. Stanford asked the students not to smoke inside the Quadrangles or on the arcades, so they might be kept clean.” Stanford men and women have respected her wish.” The booklet contains vintage black and white pictures of life on the idyllic campus.

We especially like these hand-drawn illustrations of the campus:

Stanford Days 1

Notice how well dressed the students look:


The Stanford Hymm:


We have a nice selection of vintage Stanford material on our website:

The First Ivy League Program?

November 28, 2010

The first Ivy League college football program is the 1956 program issued for Dartmouth vs. The University of Pennsylvania. The game was held at Franklin Field, Philadelphia on October 6, 1956.

Balderdash, our regular readers might exclaim. Perhaps the author is smoking from the Dartmouth Indian’s pipe?

Penn Dartmouth 1956

Perhaps we are being bit technical. After all, we have previously published a write-up on the recently discovered Columbia v. Yale 1872 program.

The Ivy League was formed in 1954 when the president’s of the eight colleges formally agreed to become known as “The Ivy League”. “The President’s Agreement of 1954” established the Ivy League and the program for this game, featured here, gives an interesting account of the history. Although the agreement was in 1954, the first official season the teams played as the Ivy League was 1956.

The program announces in an article written by the longtime sports editor of The Philadelphia Bulletin, Edwin J. Pollock, that “The Ivy League, which begins its first formal season on Franklin Field today, is a group of early American educational institutions which have united for a common purpose – preservation of the life and liberty of intercollegiate football.” The author goes on to detail the “decay of principles”, abuses and other problems that college football developed since its inception. By forming the ivy league, “they were and are leaders in a corrective movement of which the formal Ivy Football League is a manifestation.”

He continues, “The Ivy League is not a grouping of colleges with a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude or a desire to dictate, dominate or rule intercollegiate football. Their intent, as this observer sees it, is merely to lead the way back…The Ivies haven’t picked up their marbles to go off to play among themselves in quietude and solitude. The members are committed to play each other member every season, but they are permitted to schedule up to two non-league opponents each year.”

This historic program also includes a picture of the Ivy League trophy and an article about its creation. The Ivy League Football Trophy was donated to the league by the Pennsylvania Class of 1925. The article states that the trophy was formally put into play the previous night October 5, 1956. The trophy is a silver bowl around which are the coats of arms of the eight schools. Surmounting it is a bronze replica of sculpture created by Dr. R. Tain McKenzie called “The Onslaught”. The original sculpture is housed in Hutchinson Gymnasium at Penn and captures a thrilling instant of hard scrimmage. It depicts a Harvard-Penn game of the 1890s. 

While this program lays claim to be the inaugural for the new “Ivy League”, its claim is dubious. Brown beat Columbia on the opening day of the season 20-0 on October 29th 1956!

website of

Football or Rugby? – Stanford v. California 1914

November 18, 2008

We have previously written about Stanford v. California (“Big Game”) games played between 1906 and 1914 which were actually played as Rugby games instead of under traditional American football rules. Recently, a program from the last of these games, the 1914 contest, was put up for auction.

Note the “football” about to be kicked by the players, consistent with a Rugby shaped ball. The program sold for only $300, a significant decrease from the $1,000 that the 1913 program sold for only three months earlier. And we didn’t think vintage collectables would be affected by the sub-prime malfeasance. We were wrong. The price of everything is declining, including vintage collectables.



CollectableIvy’s Website

The Yale Fence

July 6, 2008

Yale football teams have a tradition of photographing the captain of their football teams sitting on the Yale fence. This tradition dates back to the late 19th century. Some highlights taken from Yale football programs are seen below:

The father of American Football, Walter Camp, at the Yale fence:




Francis Gordon Brown, Captain of the Yale Eleven, from the 1900 Yale Harvard Program




The New Yale Fence above from Harvard-Yale 1900 program 




Levy Jackson, Yale captain from 1949:


We particularly like the crew cut and the all-white outfit on Henry Higdon, Yale captain in 1961, taken from the Harvard-Yale program of the same year.

You will probably recognized the future ’41’, below, Yale Captain in 1948:


Website of collectableivy

Famous Ivy League Footballers, Ted Kennedy, Gerald Ford, John Heisman and Pop Warner

June 23, 2008


Ivy League Football Programs sometimes contain people who are recognizable beyond the world of sport. This 1984 Pennsylvania v. Cornell program features a picture of the late Christopher Reeves (Cornell ’74) as Superman.

Ted Kennedy is pictured in some of the Harvard  Programs of 1954 and 1955. Bobby is pictured in Harvard programs from 1946 and 1947

President Gerald Ford, was a Coach of Yale from 1935-1940 and is pictured periodically in those programs.

John Heisman was the coach of Penn 1920 to 1922 and also attended Brown for two years 1891-1892 then he attended Penn.

Glenn (Pop) Warner was a Cornell Guard of the 1890s and would go on to become coach. A good program for the serious collector is the 1921 Penn v. Pittsburgh which has Heisman v. Warner as coaches facing off against each other.

The Oldest Known Football Program?

February 10, 2008

columbia yale 1872


Thanks to one of our readers, this program was brought to our attention recently. Auctioned off in May 2007 for almost $24,000. The description below is from the Heritage Galleries sale catalog. It is a program from 1872 featuring a game between Columbia and Yale. This is the first game Yale ever played and the first between two ivy league colleges. He put the question mark after our title, because in this business, you never know what will turn up to potentially be older.


The Oldest Known Football Program. Presented here for the most serious and dedicated collectors of early football memorabilia is a piece that even the top experts in the field didn’t know existed. Those familiar with the recently published book “Inside the Program: A History of College Football” by Ed Bearg and Thomas Rudebusch know that the authors claim that the 1873 program for a game between Yale and Eton, part of the collection of the College Football Hall of Fame, is the oldest known, and they’re certainly to be forgiven for this misconception. This remarkable specimen had for many decades remained hidden in the personal scrapbook of Nathan P. Tyler, who attended Yale from 1872 to 1876 and was fortunate enough to witness the school’s very first intercollegiate football match, the seventh college football game in American history.

Predating the Hall of Fame’s program by twelve and a half months, this astounding artifact is small in stature but monumental in importance and collecting appeal. In marvelous nineteenth century calligraphic style, the cover announces, “Foot Ball, Columbia vs. Yale, Hamilton Park, Nov. 16, 1872.” The creator of the program “Benham, Printer” takes credit at the bottom margin. The two interior pages list the members of the Columbia and Yale squads respectively, twenty men to a side. The back page lists the names of the two referees, four judges, and unused lines to record the scorers of the nine possible goals, as the first side to five would be declared the victor.

In fact, the hotly contested battle yielded only three scores, all of them to Yale, earning them a victory in their inaugural game much to the delight of the four hundred students and New Haven townspeople who were in attendance that day. Tim Cohane recounted the scene in his 1951 book, “The Yale Football Story.” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York 1951):

“Jim Platt got the game under way with a long kick toward the Columbia goal. After fifteen minutes of play, Tommy Sherman (who subbed for an injured Schaff) booted a goal. The second goal, which took an hour, was registered by Lew Irwin. Irwin also kicked the third after fifty minutes of play. Columbia lacked the precision the injured Schaff had drilled into Yale, and was shut out, three goals to nothing, when darkness closed in and stopped the activity. At dinner that night, the rival players compared bruises and toasted each other. The evening in later stages became hilarious to the point where shattered crockery and glassware decimated the modest profits from the gate receipts.”

Much like the plates and glasses that day, all programs and other ephemera deriving from that historic gridiron event have been lost to the ages, save one. Measuring just 4.5×5.5″ when opened, this tiny keepsake stands as the sole survivor, almost surely the oldest American football artifact in existence. A band of toning upon the front cover and very minor paper loss due to scrapbook removal on the verso must be noted and then instantly forgiven in light of the tremendous rarity and importance of this piece. As our catalog imagery should indicate, the program presents marvelously, remaining in splendid condition for a paper collectible over thirteen decades in age. For all of these reasons, one could easily argue that this is the most significant piece of football memorabilia to be offered to the collecting public in recent memory.

The 1873 Eton-Yale program (henceforth known as the second oldest program) is below. Eton is the English team from Eton College in the United Kingdom. This game was played on December 6th, 1873 at Hamilton Park in New Haven.


The Earliest College Football Games

January 2, 2008

History tells us that the first college football game played in the United States was an all New Jersey match. Rutgers University took on Princeton in 1869. The game was played on a “common” between College Avenue and Sicard Street near Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  The teams met again the following Saturday at Princeton’s Conover’s field. Rutgers then took on Columbia University in 1870. Cornell organized its football association in 1870.


The first game between ivy league colleges was in 1872 when Columbia played Yale. The game was played at the Hamilton Park racetrack oval in New Haven. Yale won 3-0.


1872    Columbia-Yale

1873    Princeton-Yale

1874    Columbia-Princeton

1875    Harvard-Yale

1876    Penn-Princeton

1877    Columbia-Harvard

1877    Harvard-Princeton


The 1875 game between Yale and Harvard was the first one in which the teams wore uniforms specifically for the game. 


In 1876 representatives from Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Columbia organized the Intercollegiate Football Association. “The big three” of Princeton, Harvard and Yale form the games longest running rivalries.  Their players monopolized the first All-American team which was selected by Yale Head Coach Walter Camp in 1889. The only unbroken relationship among the three is the Princeton v. Yale series which has been going on continuously since 1873.


If you are interested in learning more about early Ivy League football games we recommend Ivy League Autumns by Richard Golfstein published in 1996.

Ivy League Football Rivalries

January 2, 2008

ivy league logo

There are twenty-eight combinations of games between the eight ivy-league universities. Listed below are all twenty-eight with their first year of competition. 


1872    Columbia-Yale

1873    Princeton-Yale

1874    Columbia-Princeton

1875    Harvard-Yale

1876    Penn-Princeton

1877    Columbia-Harvard


1878    Columbia-Penn

1879    Penn-Yale

1880    Yale-Brown

1881    Harvard-Penn

1882    Dartmouth-Harvard

1884    Dartmouth-Yale

1889    Columbia-Cornell


1890    Cornell-Harvard

1891    Cornell-Princeton

1893    Cornell-Penn


1894    Cornell-Brown


1895    Penn-Brown

1896    Dartmouth-Penn

1897    Dartmouth-Princeton

1898    Princeton-Brown

1899    Columbia-Dartmouth

1900    Cornell-Dartmouth

1902    Harvard-Columbia