Posts Tagged ‘Princeton’

Time Out for Photos

August 8, 2012

Tex Noel just sent me a link to a Library of Congress website that contains digital images, some of which are of Indian football teams. The link he sent was

Tex suggested that I click on football, which I did. The problem is that I’m easily distracted. Before I could see anything related to Indian football teams, the term “Early films” jumped out at me. The first one, listed just below the sheet music for On Wisconsin!, is moving picture footage (silent of course) from the 1903 Chicago-Michigan game shot by the Edison studio. I doubt seriously if Thomas Edison himself was directly involved in making these films; employees of his probably shot them but were likely among the best in the industry, such as it was, at the time.

Four items down the list is footage of the 1903 Princeton-Yale game, also shot by Edison. A. C. Abadie is credited as being the cameraman. The footage of these old games featuring prominent teams gives one an idea what the state-of-the-art was in football uniforms and equipment at the time. The action is hard to make out at times but some things can be gleaned from replaying the clips.

Eventually, I looked at still photos. The first one I noticed, the one at the bottom of the page, is of an Alaskan Indian football team. It was also taken in 1903. Unfortunately, little in the way of detail is supplied. It would be interesting to know which team this is. Someone knowledgeable about reservations, agencies and schools around the turn of the last century might be able to shed a little light on this.

My person favorite, found on page 6 of the list, is of the 1903 University of Chicago-Haskell Institute game titled “players arguing.” From what I can tell, it looks like they’re doing a bit more than arguing. A higher resolution version might even reveal some players who later transferred to Carlisle.

Chicago & Haskell Players “arguing”

More on Carlisle vs the Big Ten

October 16, 2011

Several details regarding Carlisle’s dominance over the Big Ten teams they played need to be addressed. First off is when the games were played. The first of these games was played in 1896 and the last in 1909. 1908 is the last year for a post-season road trip as the Penn State games were regular season games played against an in-state team that wasn’t their equal. 1907 was the only one of the seasons in which these games were played that Carlisle had a one-loss season. None were played in Carlisle’s 1911-13 glory days.  Warner complained that the bigger teams stopped scheduling games with Carlisle after they became strong. It appears that he was accurate in the case of Big Ten teams.

Eight of these games, a slight minority, were played when Warner wasn’t coaching Carlisle. He did coach the Indians against Chicago in 1907, Minnesota in 1907 and 1908, Northwestern in 1903, Nebraska in 1908 and Penn State in 1907-1909. Penn State was improving at the time but hadn’t reached the level of Carlisle’s major opponents. Pop Warner considered the victory over Amos Alonzo Stagg’s 1907 Chicago team to be one of his greatest because Stagg thought he had his strongest team to date that year. 1907 was the first year in which Carlisle was defeated but one time. It was also the first year the Indians defeated Harvard, one of the Big Three.  The only loss was to another of the Big Three, Princeton. It was also the first year that Carlisle beat two of the Big Four, Penn and Harvard.

1908 marked the end of Carlisle’s post-season trips to play Big Ten teams. That year the Indians defeated Nebraska in the teams’ only meeting 37-6 and they lost to Minnesota 11-6, in their last meeting with the Gophers. Newspaper accounts alluded to something happening in the game to sour the two schools against playing each other, but I haven’t uncovered the details yet.

Bill Church Letter for sale

June 17, 2010

Right now, for sale on eBay is a letter dated October 26, 1896 on Essex County Park Commission stationery to “My Dear Mr. Church” from a person whose signature I can’t make out. From the tone of the letter, the writer was apparently a Princeton alum who was thanking Church for his hospitality by allowing him to stay in his room at the Cannon Club on a Princeton football Saturday. The recipient of the letter was probably one of the football-playing Church brothers, J. Robb “Bob” Church, class of 1888, or Bill Church, class of 1897. The seller states that the letter is from the estate of Bill Church. This makes sense because the Cannon Club was first opened during Bill’s time at Princeton. Bob was awarded a Medal of Honor for his valor in the Spanish-American War. Bill was named to the All America first team at tackle that year. After graduation, coached and played football for a few years after leaving Princeton.

A second purpose of the letter was to provide Church with some intelligence for the upcoming Princeton-Yale game. Two days earlier, the writer had attended the Carlisle-Yale game that was played on Manhattan Field in New York City. That was the infamous game in which the Indians were robbed of a touchdown. This Princetonian thought it was worse than that. He wrote, “The score should have been about Carlisle 18 – Yale 12, in order to represent the facts – and the relative merits of the teams. I wish you would say to yourself and to the rest of the Princeton boys that there is no reason now in sight why they should not win this year.”

And win they did. Princeton beat Yale 24-6. They beat Carlisle 22-6. These 12 points were all that were scored against that year’s national champions. Yale ended its season at 13-1. It should have been 12-2.