The May 2009 College Football Historical Society newsletter includes an article that debunks the basic premise for the 2007 books by Sally Jenkins and Lars Anderson, The Real All Americans: the team that changed a game, a people, a nation and Carlisle vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the forgotten story of football’s greatest battle, respectively. In “Jude and the Prince,” James G. Sweeney, a lawyer, former prosecutor and, most importantly, an Army fan for 50+ years, describes the epic Carlisle-Army game in detail. The difference between his article and their books is that Sweeney writes about the first time Carlisle met Army on a football field where Jenkins and Sweeney write about the second meeting – without acknowledging the first game. Their omission could be overlooked if the 1905 meeting was played by scrubs or special rules or something of the kind. In fact, the November 11, 1905 Carlisle-Army game was, as Sweeney put it, “was ‘the’ game of the day.” Sweeney also quoted The New York Tribune: “Never before has a football game at West Point been witnessed by a more distinguished gathering. Seated on the grandstand was Prince Louis of Brattenberg, surrounded by army officers, both British and American. The gold lace and trappings of military men, mingled with the gay dresses and flags of pretty girls, made a sight worth seeing.”
By the way, Carlisle won the game 6-5 to settle the score with the “long knives” seven years before the meeting Jenkins and Anderson touted in their books. In Anderson’s case, it may be a matter of ignorance. At the talk he gave in Carlisle, Lars Anderson mentioned that, in order to get his book in print at the same time as Jenkins, he employed a researcher. The researcher probably didn’t look at anything outside the narrow scope he was given. Sally Jenkins, on the other hand, appears to have been aware of the 1905 game. About the 1905 season, she wrote, “The Indians were a predictable disappointment under [Advisory Coach George] Woodruff….They were 10-5 and lost every significant game, and more important, they lost their uniqueness. Their only real fun came in a 36-0 defeat of crosstown rival Dickinson.” John S. Steckbeck, The Arrow and CFbDatawarehouse.com all reported a 10-4 record for the 1905 Indians, with losses to Penn, Harvard, Massillon A. C. and Canton A. C. Jenkins ends what game coverage she had for the 1905 season with the loss to Harvard on a soft field. She apparently doesn’t consider the wins over Penn State, Virginia, Army, Cincinnati, Washington and Jefferson, and Georgetown as significant. Nor does she consider beating Army, thumping Cincinnati 34-5, beating Washington and Jefferson 11-0, or embarrassing Georgetown 76-0 to be fun.
On page two of her book, Jenkins implies that she knew the 1905 game had taken place without mentioning the game or sport when she wrote, “…this was only the second time government authorities had allowed the two parties to meet on an athletic field.” Perhaps Ms. Jenkins will explain why Carlisle’s 1905 victory over Army was neither significant nor worthy of mention.