Archive for August, 2011

Rush Roberts’ Heritage

August 22, 2011

It is always gratifying when descendants and relatives of Carlisle Indian School football players comment on this blog. Even more gratifying is when they provide information not known and is not easily found. Most gratifying of all is when relatives use this blog as a way to get in touch with each other. All of these things happened last week.

Henry Roberts, left end on the great 1911 team, was the son of Rush Roberts, a legendary figure in Pawnee history. I blogged about Rush Roberts a couple of times in March and April 2010 after discovering things about him I didn’t previously know. Since that time, descendants of Rush have posted comments regarding family genealogy on those blogs, with last week having the greatest concentration of new information.

Unfortunately, comments on older posts don’t show up on the first page of the blog. Readers must search to find them. The easiest way is to search for Rush Roberts and open the comments on the posts relating to him. You should find these to be interesting reading.

Reprints of Early Spalding’s Football Guides Now Available

August 19, 2011

A. G. Spalding’s football guides from the early days of college football are excellent sources of information for football historians and researchers. Unfortunately, these books are now quite old and fragile, a factor that severely limits their use as research tools. To make matters worse, they have become rare enough that, when copies appear for sale, they are quite expensive.

Seeing the need for inexpensive copies of these highly useful books, Tuxedo Press is reprinting them in paperback form as they previously did for what they call Pop Warner’s Single-Wing Trilogy. Coaches, researchers and historians have found the Warner books so useful that Tuxedo Press is doing the same thing for Spalding’s Official Football Guides for the years 1883 to 1919 as copies of these books become available to them to reprint in paperback form.

Because the years from 1883 to 1893 were very small, they are bound as a single volume. Beginning with 1899, the next year Tuxedo press has found so far, each year is printed separately because those volumes are much larger. Besides the rule changes for the upcoming season, an annual volume includes Walter Camp’s three All-America team selections for the previous season, other critics picks for their All-America teams, assessments of the various teams’ successes for the previous season and outlook for the upcoming season. These books are filled with illustrated ads for Spalding equipment. The equipment illustrations could be very useful in researching the evolution of helmets and such.

More information can be found at http://www.tuxedo-press.com/index_files/Reprints.htm. The reprints of the Spalding’s Guides are also available through on-line resellers and can be ordered by your local bookstore.

President Visits Places with Names Important to Carlisle

August 17, 2011

Yesterday, a little news snippet caught my ear: President Obama visited Decorah, Iowa where he stayed at the Hotel Winneshiek. While there is nothing about that that is earth shaking or will be of great historic significance, it was of interest to me. It wasn’t what the president was doing that got my attention; it was the names of the places he was that resonated with me.

Decorah (often spelled De Cora or Decora) is not just a geographical name but is also the name of an important Nebraska Winnebago family, many of whom were hereditary chiefs. The granddaughter of one of these chiefs, Little De Cora, was Angel DeCora who, after being educated at Smith College, rose to prominence in the late 19th century as the leading female Indian artist of her day and was well known in the leading eastern art circles. In 1906, she accepted the position as director of the Native Art Department at Carlisle Indian School. In late 1907, she married William Henry Lone Star Dietz who, at 25 was her student, but was still 13 years her junior. The two generated much positive press nationally for Carlisle.

Winneshiek is the name of an important Wisconsin Winnebago, or Ho Chunk, family which has provided the tribe with many chiefs. The son of one of them was William Winneshiek who was noted more for his musical ability than his athletic prowess at Carlisle and went on to a career in music, even having his own all-Indian band. He did, however, find time to play football in the early NFL for the Oorang Indians. His biography can be found in Wisconsin’s Carlisle Indian School Immortals.

His brush with history finished, Obama left Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah for breakfast in Guttenberg.

1905 Carlisle Indians Were Ranked #10 in Country

August 8, 2011

While preparing Spalding’s Official Football Guide for 1906 for reprinting, I noticed a few things about the Carlisle Indian School football team’s 1905 season. These things caught my eye because it was this very team under Advisory Coach George Woodruff that Sally Jenkins maligned in her 1907 book. Caspar Whitney ranked the Indians as the 10th best team in the country for 1905. He also placed Frank Mt. Pleasant as a substitute at quarterback on his All America team.

George Woodruff placed three Carlisle Indians to his All Eastern Eleven for 1905: Frank Mt. Pleasant at quarterback, Charles Dillon at guard, and Wahoo (Charles Guyon, older brother of Joe Guyon) at end. N. P. Stauffer placed Dillon at guard on his All Eastern Eleven as well.

That an authority of the stature of Caspar Whitney considered Carlisle as the 10th best college football team in the country means something and that something is that the Indians were viewed as having had a very good season. Not their best ever, mind you, but a successful one at that.

These selections, along with George Orton’s observations that were posted in the June 27, 2011 message, show that Jenkins’s assessment of the type of play and success of the 1905 Carlisle Indian football team is at odds with the opinions of the experts of the day who actually saw the teams play.

1905 Carlisle Indian School football team from Spalding’s Official Football Guide for 1906