Archive for the ‘University of Pennsylvania’ Category

The Ivy League Today

November 11, 2015

Students all over America are clamoring to get into one of the eight Ivy League colleges. This is the first book to show the layman just how these venerable schools shape up today. The combined enrollment of the eight schools on only 29,700 male students, a small proportion of the total college enrollment. Brown is training its freshman and sophomores to think for themselves it its Identification Criticism of Ideas curriculum. Columbia’s magnificent Contemporary Civilization course has been widely imitated. But Columbia alone among the Ivy group wants to double its college enrollment in the next few years and raise its academic standards so high that only half of its present undergraduates could even gain admission there. Cornell is managing to stress a liberal-arts approach to education, even though it is the largest and most complicated school in the League. At Dartmouth seniors must take the Great Issues course. This means reading The New York Times and other periodicals regularly; listening to outside lecturers like Dean Acheson, Harold Urey, and Clement Attlee; and trying to apply  to present-day problems the knowledge they have gained during four years of college. Harvard is still tops academically, and still favors complete intellectual freedom for students and faculty alike. At Pennsylvania, President Gaylord P. Harnwell, a foremost atomic scientist, not only administers a sprawling university  but teaches a freshman class himself to keep his hand in. Princeton offers three unique programs: in American Civilization, in Creative Arts, and in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. At Yale, President Griswold has been trying to stimulate the exceptional student with the new Directed Studies Program.


The above quote is from the book jacket blurb of The Ivy League Today was written in 1961 by Frederic A. Birmingham and published by the Thomas Y. Crowell Company. The subtitle is: A light-hearted reappraisal of all 8 colleges. Birmingham (Dartmouth ’33) spent nearly three years visiting the Ivy campuses, talking with students and comparing one school to another. It’s rather quaint to think that cutting edge thinking in 1961 included reading The Times periodically to expand the mind. The most striking contrast I found after reading the book was how much the world has change in the last 50 or so years, particularly in how women are viewed and treated generally. Below is a sampling of gems from the book, which really provides a nice retro look into the psyche of the Ivy League not so long ago.


Frederic A. Birmingham


Harvard is admittedly the nation’s number one educational institution as well as its oldest. Harvard College leads all others in number of graduates in Who’s Who. The Harvard undergraduate turns to intellectual pursuits with a zest he reserves for primary business. He tends to look on his college career with more than ordinary seriousness, and in this he is stimulated by everything that touches him at Harvard. Statistically the student finds the college just a overpowering. The market value of Harvard investments is $625,102,000; its endowment funds are an estimated $370,773,000. President Lowell once remarked that “every educated man should know a little of everything and something well.”



The Princeton student himself, in this happy setting, lives on a campus of extraordinary sweep and beauty. There are a full 2,225 acres of it, and every inch is superbly landscaped and groomed like some fine English estate–an effect not spoiled by the predominantly “Collegiate Gothic” buildings, which are studded with hidden quadrangles, turrets, arches, balconies and gateways. She may love or love him not, but one thing is sure, and it is that the Princetonian’s girl is going to enjoy no nightly trysts in her lad’s quarters. She is allowed to visit him on weekdays until 7 pm and on Friday and Saturday nights until the bacchanalian hour of nine. The much misunderstood social life at Princeton still centers around its eating clubs.


Dartmouth, founded as an Indian school and until quite recently considered quite remote in New Hampshire, has an outdoor tradition suggesting some of the newer colleges in the Southwest or the Northwest. Dartmouth is the American dream of a college come true. Traditionally goodness and purity dwell in the rural areas, and wickedness in the city. Nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains, Dartmouth still preserves its Indian heritage. The Dartmouth student does not live in monastic seclusion, as he one did. But his is still a simple life relatively free of the female presence or influence, and he must go far, even though he may go fast for sophisticated pleasures. There is much to be said for a college that, while happily attuned to the sophisticated Ivies, still gives its students a chance to get up early in the morning and drive along back roads where a glimpse of small game, deer or even bear is not uncommon. City boys find a lot of learning in the feel of an ax handle or in the sharp tang of a sawmill.


On Brown’s College Hill the descendants of the great skippers and the lordly merchants live as their aristocratic forebears did, in three- and four-story mansions, with a courtly air you cannot match except in the deep South. Cobbled drives curve in under their porte-cocheres, gardens and terraces are hidden by beautiful ivied walls, and the columned and porticoed fronts look down on the visitor with the benign and courteous gravity of wealth long entrenched. Brown is ancient but not antique. In eighteenth-century buildings students learn to program IBM machines or how to smash the atom.


“Self-sufficient” is probably the best word for Cornell. The students do not seem to care particularly whether they are regarded as the Ivy League or out of it. But they look down on their fellows at Colgate, Syracuse and Hamilton as unworthy neighbors sometimes grouped with Cornell only because of an irritating proximity.” When Cornell’s first little coed walked up the gorge path to her classes on the hill, the public was profoundly shocked. And it was shocked again in the nineties, when Cornell sent its women’s eight-oared crew out to churn up the waters of Lake Cayuga, in a day when proper young ladies were supposed to concentrate on needle-point and piano lessons.


Columbia draws one-third of its student body from New York City itself, and a second third from the metropolitan area surrounding the city. The “Ivy” idea is not carried through fanatically at Columbia. There are no dreamy lakes or lagoons on the campus. Just a few fountains, hundreds of steps, brick walks, and a couple of plots of crabgrass. No luxurious fraternity houses, with the brothers tossing a football around on spacious lawns. No golf course. No regal faculty row where the better-heeled professors live. The school is a paradox. Great athletes–and not first-class athletic equipment. A glittering record of intellectual achievement–by students many of whom come by subway. But the spirit of Columbia is well-nigh explosive. One of the pleasures of Columbia is contact with the girls of “associated” Barnard College, although the boys are loath to admit it. The average undergrad naturally desires a female companion composed of equal parts of Mata Hari, Cleopatra, Madame Curie, Florence Nightingale, Marilyn Monroe, and The Girl Next Door; and the Barnard girls are generally considered lacking in some of these qualities.


It is no wonder that the undergraduate here clutches his tie a little more tightly and dresses a little more self-consciously “Ivy” that his counterpart at Princeton. He shares, besides, the latent inferiority complex of all the Ivy schools with respect to the Big Three [Harvard, Yale, Princeton]. He is much more caste-conscious than a Columbia student–who may eschew Ivy clothes entirely for a more cosmopolitan drape. the Penn boy is almost uniformly found in the symbolic button-down shirt with foulard tie , Shetland jacket and unpressed pants.


Formerly it was always a good guess that a Yale man was also a prep school man. In 1935, 77.9 per cent of the undergraduates were from prep schools. The Yale student thinks of himself not as a boy but as a man, and a good part of the time he dresses like one. The Yalie buys these accouterments from Brooks Brothers and a few other conservative stores in New York. The most characteristic thing about student life at Yale is the emphasis on doing. The active man is the valuable man. This is an educational community frankly enamored of the dynamic.

Sex and the Ivy League

The elitism in the book is nothing short of astonishing looking back through today’s standards. Consider the chapter about women, which leads off with this beauty, “The Ivy male, as we have seen, is a creature of tradition and habit. He chooses his women as he does his ties. He selects only those his classmates will approve. And, by custom, the girls are almost invariably college students. In his dating habits the Ivy male displays plenty of ardor but very little social adventure. But even through occasionally he may be tempted by the undulations of a “town” girl crossing his own campus, he probably will not date her.”

We have a copy of The Ivy League Today on our website and loads of other vintage collectibles from the Ivy League schools:

Gift Ideas – Vintage College and University Song Books

July 6, 2015

Nothing gets the heart of a college grad pumping like the song of their school. An ideal gift for the collegiate alumni who has everything? How about a vintage book of songs from their alma mater. The books typically include both the sheet music and the lyrics for all the songs.

The vintage Cornell Songs published in 1915 includes All Round the World Cornell, Hail Thou in Majesty Cornell, The Cornell Cheer, Cornell Victorious and many more, including the school’s “Alma Mater” or official song of “Cornell,” which predates the current “Far above the Cayuga’s Waters.”

cornell songs

The 1902 published Harvard Songs includes a collection of 27 songs (including the sheet music) sung at Harvard including “Johnny Harvard” and “Fair Harvard”. Selected Songs Sung at Harvard College from 1862 to 1866 was one of the earliest song books published and dates from 1866. It also includes “The Marseillaises,” which was later changed to “On to Victory” and is a football fight song. It was originally written by Bill Reid, who was football coach in 1901. He was jealous of the fact that Princeton and Yale had football songs and approached the head of the Harvard Glee Club, Paul Dillingham to write one.

harvard songs



The 1905 Decennial of Stanford Song includes words and music of the “football, farce, drinking and other songs of Stanford University Some include songs that would no longer be politically correct. Stanford’s song book includes The Drinking Song, Down with California, Stanford Mandalay, Chin Chin Chinaman, Stanford Red and many more. The book also contains a history of the evolution of the songs and trace how they came into being in the University’s early years.

stanford songs

Stanford’s song book also contains nice hand-drawn illustrations that compliment the themes of some songs, such as the one below which patronizes the University of California.


Songs of Western Colleges published in 1902 includes the University of Chicago, Michigan and Stanford University songs such as “Hail, Sanford, Hail!”, “A Football Song – Leland Stanford University”, “John D. Rockefeller – University of Chicago”.


Princeton’s song book is titled Carmina Princetonia was first produced in 1869 and takes its name from Carmina Burana, an ancient satirical song book. It is believed that the Carmina Burana contained the first “drinking songs.” Princeton’s book includes the “soul-stirring songs Old Nassau and The Triangle Song which no Princeton man ever forgets or wants to forget.”


What is the earliest college song? It is hard to say definitively, however, “Hail Columbia” would be a good choice. Written by John Hopkinson, Class of 1786 at the University of Pennsylvania. The song played an important part in rallying support around President Washington during a serious political disturbance.


We have a nice collection of vintage song books for sale on our website:

The Mask & Wig Club, University of Pennsylvania

November 15, 2014

The University of Pennsylvania’s  Mask & Wig club is an all-male comedy troupe with a rich history that was founded in 1889. The troupe features music, dancing and comedy and travels around the country to perform. Old Mask & Wig programs are sought after collectibles and feature imaginative covers:



The 1942 Mask & Wig Program


The 1938-1939 Program 

The covers illustration shows Manhattan at the center with Queens identified as “Vast Unexplored Territories” and Brooklyn as “Who Cares?” and was done by Bo Brown. Brown was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and his works appeared in The Saturday Evening Post and The New Yorker.

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Graduation Gifts for University of Pennsylvania (Penn) Student

May 29, 2014

Know a recent student accepted into or graduating from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn)? How about a game of Pennopoly, a game patterned after Monopoly but based on the famous Philadelphia school founded by Benjamin Franklin?



Or a great marble coaster set:

penn coasters

Or, see hundreds of other gift ideas for the grad on our website:

Cornell v. Pennsylvania Football

November 1, 2013

An exceptional college football program is the 1905 Thanksgiving Day game featuring Penn v. Cornell

Cornell Penn 1905

Cornell was coached by Glenn ‘Pop’ Warner, very early on in his long and legendary coaching career, in between coaching assignments with the Carlisle Indian School where he later coached Jim Thorpe. Warner would then go on to coach at Pitt, and then coach Ernie Nevers at Stanford before finishing his career in the 1930s at Temple. Cornell finished at 6-4.

This exceptional high quality college football program has a full color Thanksgiving football theme cover, and on the inside first page has a remarkable large five panel fold-out, which accordions out to depict photographs of all of the players on the Penn team for 1905. Measures a whopping 29 – 1/2″ when extended out.

penn cornell 1

We have a nice selection of vintage Cornell v. Penn thanksgiving programs on our website:

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The New Yale Wedgwood Tea-Set

October 15, 2012

Well, new as of 1934. We recently found this vintage advertisement for a new Wedgwood tea set in a University of Pennsylvania v. Yale Football program from 1934. The set was designed by Professor Edwin C. Taylor of the Yale School of Fine arts and the teapot includes a portrait of Elihu Yale in the border.

Priced at $6.50 for the ta pot and plates at $12.50 per dozen, it wasn’t necessarily cheap. Sets of this Wedgwood piece are difficult to find.

We offer a nice selection of Yale collectibles including Wedgwood items on our website:



College Acceptance Gift Idea – Ivy League Coasters

March 28, 2012

We recently found a new set of items that collectors and aficionados of college football programs will like. Marble coasters based on old football programs.

The coasters are made of Botticino Marble;

Measure 4 inches;

Feature scenes from vintage football programs;

Are very hiqh quality;

And would make an ideal gift for the alum, upcoming grade or a newly accepted student

We have a nice selection of the coasters available for sale on our website at a cost below what you can buy for in the collegiate stores.

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Carter Hoffman Wooden Collegiate Mascots

January 1, 2012

Carter Hoffman mascots are listed for sale inside the front cover of this 1954 Ivy League football program.

Hoffman was a well-known artist from Los Angeles who made these hand carved mascots for various Ivy League and other colleges in the 1950s. Hoffman also did some mascots for professional sports teams and even some lesser know and more obscure schools. Sold under the name “Carter Hoffman Artcraft” they have become highly collectible. A brochure from the 1950s lists over 120 different schools that they made mascots for.

The mascots are also featured on this Yale-Uconn 1952 program cover. The mascots were available in two sizes, the normal size (catalog item #7) and larger size, called jumbo (listed in the catalog as #8).

The rare Princeton tiger mascot seen above

The now defunct Dartmouth Indian mascot from the 1950s

The company also made bottle pour spouts which replace a cork that has been pulled. The bottles contain the school mascot on the top.

The John Harvard bottle pour stop mascot, above and statue below.

The mascots were produced with two marking on the bottom. One was the name of the mascot. In the example below, it shows the “Dartmouth Indian”. Because these were paper labels, often they are now missing. The other marking is stamped in black ink “Carter Hoffman Original.”

Two pages from an original Carter Hoffman catalog are seen below, showing the location of the business in Glendale, California. The mascots and wine stoppers sold for $24 a dozen wholesale, the jumbo mascots for $7.50 each.

hoffman catalog

hoffman catalog 2

Carter Hoffman items are sought after by collectors and are difficult to find. There is an active market for them. We occasionally have some in inventory on our website:

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Credit to insidetheparkcollectibles on the history of these rare collectibles.

Lou Little

December 1, 2011

One of the most well known Ivy League football coaches of all time was Columbia’s Lou Little. Little played his college football at Penn. Little coached Columbia for a long time, from 1930 to 1956. Prior to serving as Columbia’s head coach, he coached Georgetown for five years.

The 1970 Columbia Cornell program features Little on its cover

The two biggest wins of Little’s career were the victory over Stanford in the 1934 Rose Bowl and when Columbia beat Army in 1947 snapping a 23-game undefeated streak for West Point.

Little was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1960. He also authored a book titled Lou Little’s Football, published in 1934, which describes his football philosophy. We have many nice Columbia programs that have articles about or by Lou Little at our website:


Thanksgiving Leftovers?

November 25, 2011

Cornell v. Penn is one of the oldest rivalries in football, with their first game played in 1893. This game was played on Thanksgiving Day at Franklin Field, as was the tradition for a long, long time.

The program cover of the 1922 program is a classic:

Apparently, they had problems in 1929, perhaps due to the onset of the Stock Market crash a month earlier. As you can see, they repeated the 1922 cover again in 1929, the only modification being the background color has changed from black to white.

No bother, it’s a great cover.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Please visit our website for a nice collection of Cornell v. Penn programs, one of the oldest and most traditional rivalries in college football:


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