1910 Carlisle-Harvard Law Game

A minor mystery surrounds Carlisle Indian School’s game against Harvard Law School in 1910. Carlisle and Harvard played several times but not in 1910. Schedule conflicts may have had something to do with it. Or it might have been due to money. In April of 1910, Pop Warner announced his schedule for that year’s football team. He packed 14-games into a season that ended with the annual Thanksgiving game with Brown at Providence. New rules were instituted that year that were favorable to the Indians’ style of play, so Warner felt comfortable in upgrading the schedule. He scheduled away games on successive weeks with Syracuse, Princeton, Penn, Virginia (at Washington, DC), Navy, Cornell and Brown. Cornell—a difficult schedule, indeed. By the fall, Cornell had been replaced by Johns Hopkins with no reason being given for the change. A warm-up game with Western Maryland College was canceled after the season started. The November 4 edition of The Carlisle Arrow listed a schedule that included no mention of a game with Harvard Law School. However, the December 2 edition listed the score of the game but had the date wrong. It may be that Warner scheduled the game with little notice because Harvard Stadium was available due to the Crimson having departed to prepare for their upcoming game with Yale in privacy. The Harvard Law-Carlisle game was actually played on November 16. Steckbeck copied The Arrow’s errors into his book. Apparently, he didn’t have out-of-town newspapers at his disposal.

Some November 16, 1910 newspapers from around the country announced that Carlisle was going to play a “hand-picked eleven” representing Harvard Law School. One announcement from an anonymous newspaper writer declared that the Indians’ opposition “is the nearest approach to an all American eleven ever seen in action.” Next time we will explore exactly who these All Americans were. Perhaps a reader who is descended from one of these men can provide more information.

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