War years, at least those for WWI and WWII, affected college football greatly, so much, in fact, that Spalding’s guides for those years had to adapt to the changed environment. The 1919 guide, for example, includes a large section, titled Part II Spalding’s Official Foot Ball Guide: Army and Navy Foot Ball. A July 24, 1919 letter from President Woodrow Wilson to Hugh Miller extolling the virtues of football in training troops for combat served as a frontispiece for this section of the book. Ironically, or not, Miller wrote publicity pieces for Pop Warner when Warner coached the Carlisle Indians. Apparently, Hugh Miller was more than just a hack writer who did Warner’s bidding.
This focus on military teams was necessary because the 1917 and 1918 football seasons were disrupted, to put it mildly, by the large number of college football players who were inducted into the service during WWI. Many colleges stopped fielding teams where others played with lesser talent than usual. Most college teams included military teams on their schedules. It’s fair to assume that the military academies were not impacted nearly as much as their civilian counterparts. Carlisle Indian School canceled its 1918 season because the school was closed to allow Carlisle Barracks to be used as an army hospital. However, many of the former students continued to play football—even after they enlisted.
Perusing the pages of the Army-Navy section revealed the names of several Carlisle students with whom I was not familiar. Follows is a list of those names and the teams on which they played:
Sgt. Mickel Air Service Department, Garden City, NJ
Buffalohead Fort Ontario, Oswego, NY
M. Le Claire Camp Travis, Fort Sam Houston, TX
Ojibway Wissahickon Barracks, Cape May, NJ
Webster 3rd Army Troops, Europe
Kalama* 35th Division, Europe
*Selected as center for All-American Expeditionary Forces Eleven
If you know anything about any of these men, please get in touch with me.