Archive for the ‘Frank Mt. Pleasant’ Category

Native Americans in the 1908 Olympics

July 24, 2008

The 1908 Olympic Games were held in London, something that required Carlisle Indian School track stars Frank Mt. Pleasant and Lewis Tewanima to cross the Atlantic with the bulk of the U.S. contingent on the steamer Philadelphia. Neither arrived in the best condition. Mt. Pleasant had an injured ligament in his knee and Tewanima was suffering from sore feet and bad knees. The Hopi’s ninth place finish in the marathon was a great performance for a person who, a year prior to this, had not before worn a running shoe. He finished ahead of all the great British runners and Tom Longboat of Canada. Longboat, an Onondaga from the Six Nations reservation near Brantford, Ontario, was leading the race when he fell ill and withdrew from the race. The year before he had established himself as a world-class marathoner by winning the Boston Marathon in record time.

Frank Mt. Pleasant, Tuscarora, also competed as best he could given his condition and finished sixth in both the broad jump and triple jump. Later that summer in Paris, he and Tewanima got a chance to show their stuff in a competition with some other Olympians. Mt. Pleasant won the broad jump by defeating both Frank Irons, the Olympic champion, and Edwin Cook of Cornell, the American intercollegiate champion. Lewis Tewanima came in second in the 3-mile race.

Upon their return to the U. S. Mt. Pleasant and Tewanima visited President Roosevelt and, in New York, were presented with medals in addition to the ones they won in Europe. New Yorkers paid $3,100 for the medals they gave to the members of the Olympic team.

Frank Pierce did not compete in the 1908 Olympics because he died of pneumonia earlier in the year.

Next time we take a look at the later Olympics.

Lewis Tewanima, Hopi distance runner

Lewis Tewanima, Hopi distance runner

Native Americans in 1904 Olympics – Part III

July 21, 2008

The 1904 Olympics were not the first games to feature football. The 1900 Paris games included two football events neither of which were American football. Soccer and rugby were both played that year but in 1904 American football appeared in the Olympics for the first time. Football (soccer) was a demonstration sport in which three teams played a round-robin tournament between two American teams and a Canadian club. The Canadians won the gold. Several college football games were played on Francis Field at the fair. Washington University and St. Louis University each played a number of their games on the Olympic field. Missouri and Purdue even played there. Prior to the Fair, Washington U’s teams were known as the Purities but due to playing at the Fair were renamed the Pikers in 1905 as a comment on their association with the infamous world fair’s Pike. However, the most important college football game played at the 1904 Olympics wasn’t played by colleges.

President Theodore Roosevelt was to visit the Fair over Thanksgiving weekend making it an ideal time for a major football event (read moneymaker). The Fair organizers’ first choice was to have West Point and Annapolis relocate their annual contest to the fairgrounds but that didn’t happen. Haskell Institute’s Fightin’ Indians were tearing up the Midwest at that time and Carlisle was a top ten program. So, the first ever football game between the two government Indian schools was arranged for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Carlisle already had a Thanksgiving Day game scheduled against Ohio State in Columbus. Major Mercer, the new Carlisle superintendent, very likely saw the opportunities such a high profile game would create for him and his school and added the game to the schedule. Playing two games in three days may have been taxing for Carlisle’s players, so Head Coach Ed Rogers (Pop Warner was back at Cornell for the 1904-6 seasons) drubbed the Buckeyes with his second team 23-0. Ohio State supporters were unhappy to miss seeing the Carlisle stars they had read so much about.

Rumors of Haskell bringing in ringers, some of them white, were rampant. To balance the scales, Ed Rogers suited up for the game as did Assistant Coach Bemus Pierce and his brother, another former Carlisle and pro star, Hawley Pierce. They needn’t have bothered. Carlisle obliterated Haskell 38 to 4. Seeing the superiority of the Carlisle program, eight Haskell players transferred to the eastern school where many became stars. If there was an Olympic gold medal to have been won Carlisle would have won it, but none was. However, the Carlisle Indians were the closest thing to an Olympic football champion that we’ve had – if you ignore the 1920 and 1924 U.S. rugby teams. But that’s a story for another time.

The Native American game of lacrosse was played at the 1904 Olympics but mostly by non-natives. Three teams, two from Canada and one from the U.S., vied for the championship. The Canadian Shamrocks won the gold, the St. Louis Amateur Athletic Association won silver, and, in a bit of irony, the Mohawk Indians from Canada got the bronze.

Next time we take a look at the 1908 games.

1904 Carlisle-Haskell game program cover

1904 Carlisle-Haskell game program cover

 

 

 

Galleys Received

May 27, 2008

The advance reading copies (called ARCs in the trade) arrived for my new book and are being sent out to reviewers. This is a big moment in a writer’s life: seeing thousands of hours of hard work turned into something tangible. In the old days (pre-computer), ARCs were called galleys, bound galleys or galley proofs. Authors, editors and publishers go over these babies with a fine-tooth comb looking for errors, typos or things that have changed since writing was complete. It is an impossible task because, after all this scrutiny, some typos escape and find their way into the final book. But we try.

Another important use of ARCs is to see how the photos and artwork come out in print. Overall they came out very well, better than expected. But a cartoon about the Oorang Indians from a 1922 Baltimore newspaper is too dim. The challenge now is to figure out how to darken it without losing the detail.

This weekend I received some additional information and a correction regarding Louis Island from a family member who happened to see a previous blog. That was fortuitous because I want the book to be as accurate as possible. This blog is already proving to be of some value. That encourages me to continue with it.

Having these ARCs provides local booksellers the opportunity to provide their customers something extra. People can look at an ARC and pre-order the book if they choose. The bonus, besides being sure of getting a copy of the book as soon as it comes out, is to receive an inscription of his or her choice signed by the author. On-line booksellers also take pre-orders but personalized inscriptions are impractical.