Were Carlisle’s Jerseys Unique?

As mentioned in this blog previously, I am in process of reprinting the Spalding Football Guides for the years that Carlisle Indian School fielded a team.  That process is progressing well but I have not yet found the 1901 and 1911 books as yet and don’t hold much hope of coming across books for the years from 1894 to 1898.  Be that as it may.  I am already discovering interesting things without having a full set.

While flipping through the 1906 volume, I noticed that the Cornell team was wearing jerseys quite similar to those worn by the Carlisle Indians (a Carlisle jersey is depicted in the color drawing on the masthead of this blog).  I had seen photos of many other teams wearing jerseys with stripes but none with the stripes located just below the elbow on an otherwise solid-color shirt.  Of course, I haven’t done exhaustive research on this matter, so the possibility remains that this pattern was not unique, just not widely used.  All the period photos are in black and white, so nothing can be known for certain about the colors on these jerseys just from the photos.  Regarding the dates of photos in Spalding’s guides, most team photos seem to have been taken at the end of the previous season.  In Carlisle’s case, players were generally wearing their letter sweaters which were a solid red and were acquired from Spalding in various styles (see photo below).

So, the Cornell team of 1905 wore jerseys similar to those that Carlisle was noted for wearing.  But when did the Indians start wearing them and were they special ordered?  A circa 1902 photo of James Phillips shows the stripes clearly as does the team photo for that year.  More research is needed to determine exactly when Carlisle and Cornell started wearing those jerseys and who made them.  What is known is that in 1902 Carlisle, then coached by Pop Warner, wore them as did the 1905 Cornell team that was also coached by Pop Warner.  Were these stripes another Warner innovation?  Much more research is needed to answer these questions.




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