February 11, 2016
Tex Noël, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Football Researchers Association, informed me of a recent article on Jim Thorpe’s January 1941 visit to Berks County, Pennsylvania. Accompanying the article was a photo of Jim Thorpe with Lone Star Dietz and Jimmy McGovern, then coach at Kutztown State Teacher’s College. Also present, but not in the photo, was Carlisle Indian School alumnus and Reading High School Orchestra Conductor and Music Director Fred Cardin. In his spare time, he led the Ringgold Band, composed music, directed the Reading Civic Opera Company. With Dietz coaching athletics at Albright College and Cardin leading most of the musical groups in town, Reading had quite an exposure to Carlisle Indian School alums.
It was probably on this trip east the fall of 1940 and winter of 1941 that the photo of Thorpe and Dietz with the then Albright College quarterback (mistakenly identified in Albright’s yearbook and my biography of Dietz as Moose Disend) was taken. Thorpe gave a series of talks to enthusiastic audiences on that speaking tour as described in the Reading Eagle’s reporter Ron Devlin’s article. Devlin’s article can be found here: http://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/history-book-when-jim-thorpe-visited-berks-county.
Ron Devlin repeated a commonly made misconception that the 1912 Jim Thorpe-led Carlisle Indians won the hypothetical National College Football Championship. The Indians never won a national football championship or had an undefeated season. 1912 was one of four-one-loss seasons the Indians had. Their 34-26 loss to Penn and scoreless tie with a good Washington & Jefferson team were the only blemishes on their record that year. 1912 was the middle year of a three-year string of one-loss teams. 1911 stands out because Carlisle beat two of The Big Four (Harvard and Penn) offset by a one-point loss to an inferior Syracuse team. 1913’s only blemishes were a 12-6 loss to Pitt and a 7-7 tie with Penn. Pretty darn good for a Carlisle team without Jim Thorpe. However, that was the year Joe Guyon and Pete Calac were shifted to the backfield. But that’s another story.
February 4, 2016
Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) for Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists have arrived and I’ve sent copies to the important prepress reviewers. Reviews from some of them could assure significant orders from bookstores and libraries. Arriving just ahead of the ARCs was a huge increase in postal rates. Earlier this year, I could mail books in padded Priority envelopes anywhere in the U.S. for $5.75. Now it costs $6.80! That’s an increase of over a dollar for each potential reviewer. These costs assume postage is purchased on-line and that you print the label yourself on a large sticker. It costs more than this if you pay at the post office.
Regional A boxes, which must be ordered on-line and aren’t available at post offices just like padded envelopes, now cost $8.15, which must be paid on-line. Post Offices aren’t allowed to sell postage for them. They are a good size for larger books and can be used to hold a few smaller ones. So, they are handy for shipping books to individual buyers. However, they are not as sturdy as the Priority boxes available in the post office. So, additional packing material is needed to protect books shipped in them.
Writing books isn’t all about research and struggling to find the best words to use. It’s also about a lot of mundane things one wishes he never had to learn.
December 27, 2015
While I wait on galleys for my Craighead book, I have received requests for interviews about Carlisle Indian School football players. The first was with the local paper to talk about the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rose Bowl. The second is for a videotaped interview about the Carlisle Indian School football program for an upcoming documentary by Ernie Zahn, a Current Fellow with Filmmakers Without Borders. In the meantime, Washington State Magazine, the Washington State University alumni magazine published a short article they requested I write about the 1916 Rose Bowl. How, you might ask, is the 1916 Rose Bowl a Carlisle Indian School topic?
Lone Star Dietz played right tackle for Pop Warner’s legendary 1909-11 teams and became his protégé when he assisted the “Old Fox” coach the Carlisle teams from 1912 to 1914. After Warner took the head coaching job at Pitt, he recommended Dietz to head up the floundering Washington State program. Dietz brought Warner’s single- and double-wing formations to the Palouse and ran roughshod over the competition with them. A photo of the 1915 Washington State College team lined up in an unbalanced-right single-wing formation heads the Washington State Magazine article.
The Carlisle Sentinel interview resulted in an article in the December 26 edition titled “Rose Bowl: Lone Star Dietz coached first game in Rose Bowl Series.” Accompanying the article are two photos of Dietz: one in civilian clothes holding a cigar, the other in a Carlisle football uniform.
How much of the hour-long interview by the Filmmakers Without Borders fellow won’t be known for some time but the entire documentary Zahn intends to produce will be short. Because it is funded, he won’t be entering it in festivals or contests. Instead, he will be putting it up on YouTube.com when post-production work is complete.
December 15, 2015
As my book on the Craighead Naturalists inches toward publication, a cover is needed. Using a single photo for a background image wouldn’t work because the Craigheads are identified with so many things. A collage of several photos would be too cluttered. Original artwork is needed. The rub there is that I have no artistic talent whatsoever. References to a site named Fiverr.com piqued my interest. Each job (gig in Fiverr parlance) starts at $5 and goes up from there with addons, typically such things as higher resolution, commercial license, color, etc. After spending $31.50 (Fiverr charges a 50 cent commission, sometimes more, on each gig) on an unsuitable cover, I decided that going with the basic five dollar gig to see if the artist would likely generate something useful before purchasing any addons. Those can be bought later once you’ve decided the artist is the one you want to use. To speed up the process, I ordered basic gigs from three artists to see if any of them would likely create a useable cover design. Soon, I saw that a book cover designer wasn’t what I needed. Fiverr book cover designers do not usually create artwork for you, they use stock photos or artwork you provide.
After realizing it was artwork I needed, I looked at samples of art done by various artists, I selected one whose samples included one for Denali I especially liked and thought he’d be a good fit for creating something that says “Craighead.” In a few days, he sent me a back and with drawing that included a wolf and a hawk. Perfect. Except the drawing didn’t allow enough bleed area for trimming when used on a book cover. Unable to get across what I needed, I created the bleed area myself, which wasn’t too hard to do because the area that needed to be replicated was black. I gladly paid for the necessary addons and shifted my focus to overlaying the title, subtitle and author’s name onto the cover.
I experimented with various shades of green and came up with nothing useful. I went back to Fiverr book cover designers and tried a few five dollar gigs. All were duds but one. And it jumped off the page at me. He extended the black area at the bottom of the artwork an inch more than I had to allow space there for the author’s name. He put the first word of the title and the author’s name in a piercing red and the rest of the title and subtitle in black. His first choice of fonts and placement of the title and subtitle against the artwork didn’t work but, with a few adjustments, a cover I like immensely emerged. This experience taught me that, with some patience, even I can have a great looking front cover for a hundred dollars.
December 5, 2015
One Saturday last month, I saw two plays that harken back to a play the Carlisle Indians ran. While sitting in the bleachers in The Big House in Ann Arbor watching the Michigan-Rutgers game, I missed seeing exactly what the players on the field did at the time it happened but did see the Michigan fans’ reaction to receiving an unsportsmanship conduct penalty for “attempting to deceive.” Tight end Jake Butts followed a group of players being substituted out of the game to the sideline but didn’t go off the field. Instead, he lined up on the line of scrimmage near the sideline. After the ball was snapped, the Michigan quarterback saw that Butts wasn’t covered by a defender and hit him with a pass for a 56-yard gain. The defense had been fooled but the officials weren’t. Coach Harbaugh protested the 15-yard penalty as only he can do but the officials were unmoved.
Later that day, Nebraska beat Michigan State on a pass completed to a receiver who had been out of bounds before returning to the field to make the catch. The officials ruled that the Michigan State defender had pushed the Nebraska receiver out of bounds and, under the rules, he was allowed to return to the field and catch a pass.
Both of these plays relate to the 1907 Carlisle-Chicago game played in Chicago against what Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg thought was one of his best teams. That year, Carlisle had a great pair of ends in Albert Exendine and William Gardner (both of whom became lawyers but that isn’t part of this story). Stagg’s defensive scheme involved hitting each end with three defenders, one at a time in succession, every time they went out for a pass. Before on play, Exendine told fullback Pete Hauser (who had passing responsibilities that day due to Frank Mount Pleasant being injured in the Minnesota game the previous week) to hold the ball as long as he dared then heave it as far as he could. Exendine let a defender push him off the field, then scooted behind the Chicago bench and streaked along the sideline until he was deep in Chicago territory. He dashed back onto the field and waved his arms wildly to get Hauser’s attention. Hauser arched the ball high downfield to the wide open Exendine for a touchdown.
A few years later when William Gardner was coaching duPont Manual High School in Louisville, he had one of his ends nonchalantly wander over to a group of sportswriters standing along the sideline. When the ball was snapped, the end headed downfield and the tailback hit him with a pass. Gardner’s only miscalculation was that he picked too slow a runner for this trick play. The play was only partially successful because his end was tackled before he could score a touchdown.
These plays are just two examples of how Carlisle Indians have affected football rulesmaking.
August 8, 2015
On Monday, I sent a listing of the pieces of artwork on the north wall of the Craighead House to family members and friends who might have information about one or more pieces of the artwork. I soon received an email from Ruth Craighead Muir, who is known to her extended family as Ruth Ann, that she hadn’t done a piece I had attributed to her. The drawing in question looks to me like the front view of a long-winged bird in flight. It is signed “Ruth Craighead Malden, Mass.” I was only aware of two Ruth Craigheads. The older one married Harold Gawthrop shortly after WWI and had gone by her married name almost a decade before the rats first appeared on the kitchen wall. So, I eliminated her, leaving Ruth Ann as the only possibility. Wrong!
A quick search on Ancestry.com uncovered several Ruth Craigheads, one of whom, Ruth H. Craighead, lived in Malden, Massachusetts. Searches of censuses revealed that a John Craighead migrated from Scotland in 1856 when he was two years old. His family settled in Rochester, New York where he attended public schools. Afterwards, he operated a music store and served as chief of the volunteer fire department for a number of years. When he was about 40, he moved to Malden, Massachusetts. He married Susie Brooks, with whom he had three daughters and a son. In Malden, he worked for the Home Savings Bank where he was a stock man. He was also active in the Mystic Side Congregational Church, possibly due to a lack of Presbyterian churches in the Boston area.
After John died in 1934, Susie and unmarried daughters Mildred J. (called M. Joy) and Ruth H. continued to live in the family home at 18 Hancock Street. Both Mildred and Ruth took jobs as stenographers after leaving school. In 1910, Mildred worked for a bank and Ruth for a shoe company. Her children grown, Susie worked as a magazine solicitor. By 1920, Ruth worked as a private secretary for a company involved in federal sales. She later joined a bank, possibly the same one where her sister worked. When Ruth became a lawyer isn’t clear yet but the sometime writer of letters to the editor was practicing law by 1944, probably before. She also traveled abroad. How she happened to come to Craighead Station isn’t known but, due to the twins’ articles in National Geographic, she could easily have known about them.
July 13, 2015
A photo of your humble blogger explaining the “Hooping Cough” piece on the north wall of the Craighead House kitchen adorns the front page of today’s Carlisle Sentinel—above the fold, just below an article explaining how the county poor house evolved into a “modern care facility.”
The reporter conducted the telephone interview for the last article of his career at The Sentinel (he’s already moved on for an editor’s position at another paper) Thursday morning . The photographer came out later that day to shoot video and still shots of the art. This article discusses the fact that Craighead House Committee is cataloging the over 250 drawings, paintings, sketches, and doodles that cover the four walls of the kitchen. To date, I have identified each of them—a few probably mistakenly because I couldn’t figure what they’re supposed to be—and am now trying to determine who made each one, when, and with what. Several have stories behind them that I’m also trying to recover.
If you have information, especially if you were one of the artists or observed someone adding a piece, please contact me. Two donors have given enough money to preserve the west wall, the one in the most perilous condition, but more is needed to do the rest. To help, send a check to:
Craighead House Committee
PO Box 335
Boiling Springs, PA 17007
Donate on-line at: http://www.CraigheadHouse.org.
Link to article: http://cumberlink.com/news/local/communities/boiling_springs/committee-looks-to-preserve-paintings-on-walls-of-craighead-house/article_0679f764-047e-5f7d-9269-dfd471cdb143.html
Link to video: http://cumberlink.com/news/local/multimedia/videos/video-craighead-house-art/youtube_5371f85a-a0ab-5c7c-8489-f027e8462686.html
July 6, 2015
This daunting task of cataloging the artwork on the Craighead House kitchen walls gets more interesting all the time. This morning, Isabel Carpenter Masland, a frequent visitor to the house when she was a girl and the daughter of Don Carpenter, who wrote Memories of Craighead, the song about life in Craighead House in the first half of the 20th century, solved one of the mysteries related to the kitchen art. A pencil drawing of two women wearing aprons, one holding a dishpan and the other a pail, labeled, “Villie and Millie the Wash Up Twins,” had befuddled me for some time. I knew of no on family member or frequent visitor whose nickname would likely be Villie and the only possible Millie was Mervin Coyle’s wife, Mildred. The only problem was that Mildred’s grandchildren had never heard her called Millie. The sketch did look sort of like her.
Mrs. Masland was a young girl when this drawing appeared somewhere between 1938 and 1941. She didn’t see it drawn and doesn’t know for sure who drew it but suspects that it was Joseph House, Millie’s husband. Villie would have been Villa Stroh, whose husband Charles was a judge and lived in a mansion on Front Street in Harrisburg along the Susquehanna River. Gene and Myra Craighead lived in Harrisburg at the time and had a circle of friends who socialized together both in Harrisburg and at Craighead Station.
Isabel’s parents were part of that circle. She remembers the adults having parties at the house when she was young. She also remembers the ladies who prepared the food noting that they weren’t honored with a drawing or a painting. In the 70-plus years that have passed since then, no such drawing has appeared.
June 30, 2015
Virtually every sketch, drawing, or painting on the Craighead House kitchen walls comes with a story. My challenge is to unearth those stories and the background behind those pictures. This morning’s email from Jim Champion was a major step toward revealing why two (three if you count both cats) black animals were painted by people who may have been from India or England. In the Craighead twins’ book on their trip to Indian, they wrote about spending two weeks in February 1941 with a forester and photographer named Champion. They never gave his first name, always addressing him as Mr. Champion in the book. Among other things, they hunted a man-eating tiger and rode on elephants with him.
So, when Bill Craighead told me Jim Champion had painted the large black cats chasing rats above the fireplace and I noticed Heather Champion’s signature by the large black horse high on the wall across from the cellar door dated June 6, 1941, I guessed they were connected with Mr. Champion in some way. When I found a site title http://www.Jim-Champion.com, I emailed, hoping to find that this was the same Jim Champion or a descendant of his. It turns out that Jim and Heather are this Jim (James) Champion’s cousins and he is the grandson of F. W. “Freddie” Champion, who the twins visited in India in 1941.
Jim and Heather Champion were the children of Sir Harry Champion, then Professor of Forestry at Oxford and previously a forester in India, who evacuated them to America during WWII. After staying with the Craigheads in their cramped house, Heather was looked after by the Marshall family (cousins of the Marshall Plan Marshalls) in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Heather and Jim did get to spend some time at Craighead Station on a couple of occasions, once for two weeks with Jean and the twins.
June 20, 2015
This week I started a task that I’ve put off for a good while: cataloging the artwork drawn or painted directly on the plaster walls of the Craighead House kitchen. The task is so daunting I feared how difficult it would be because the walls are covered from chair rail to ceiling with pieces, large and small, distinct and overlapping, in a variety of media ranging from pencil to crayon to multiple types of paint. A drawing of a tree in the back yard and the railroad bridge even extends onto the ceiling. I devised a plan in which I would identify the wall (north south, east, or west), horizontal distance from its left corner, vertical distance from the ceiling down. I also logged a description of the art, the artist’s name, the date it was created, and the medium in which it was created. I’ll need help from an artist on the last one as I can only identify pencil with any accuracy.
On Thursday, with a test sheet in hand to test the method, I gave it a try, starting with the west wall. After an hour, I’d filled the first sheet and hadn’t recorded all the art left of the window and below eye level. I modified the form to include several more rows and gave it the old college try again on Friday. After two hours or so, with back aching, I finished the west wall. After filling the second sheet, I turned it over and filled its backside. Still not finished, I took out the first sheet and filled about a third of its whitespace. With back aching, I’d finished the west, the longest, wall (the east wall appears to have fewer drawings on it because it has both a door and a window cut out of it). Blow up the photo to see if you can identify pieces done by Jean Craighead George, her brothers, and father.
Typing the data into the computer will be the easy part; identifying the unsigned pieces will be a major challenge. So, I’ll be asking people to help by providing any information they may have about pieces they, their friends, or relatives may have drawn. Today, I attack the south wall on which Eugene Craighead started the project by painting rats running into the open chimney hole.
West Wall of Craighead House Kitchen