American football ‘experts’ developed timeless promises for preventing injuries 130 years ago but failed, repeatedly, to solve anything
By Matt Chaney, ChaneysBlog.com
Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Copyright ©2016 by Matthew L. Chaney
Brutality of American football was under control and diminishing, game leaders declared by the late 1880s. Problems of injury and “slugging” were basically resolved, winnowed down to isolated incidents through a decade of reform efforts, they said.
Football advocates agreed. “The game is as safe as any outdoor game can well be… in the larger colleges,” wrote Alexander Johnston, Princeton professor and football booster. Johnston’s how-to football article for Century Illustrated Magazine in 1887 was complemented with artist renderings of Foul Tackle and Fair Tackle for instructive contrast. “With good physical condition in the players, the requisite training, and suitable grounds, the game is not only one of the best of outdoor sports, but one of the safest,” Prof. Johnston assured readers.
College football leadership amounted to a few young men, some playing yet. Rule-makers for the Intercollegiate Football Association now exercised “almost sole control over the general conduct of the players upon the field,” promised Walter Camp, the IFA committee leader, referee, Yale co-coach and football writer. “We shall see a much more quiet [scrimmage] line and a much steadier style of playing, characterized by clever running but sharper tackling. Captains will train their men to keep their tempers.”
American tackle football originated from the English games of “kicking” and rugby. The Chicago Tribune depicted brutal play as past-tense, eliminated. “Centuries ago it was war on a small scale. Time has civilized the game. American college rules, modifications of the Rugby game, made it less clumsy and more adroit.”
American football had become scientific, refined by experts like Camp, according to advocates in news and education. “A great advance has been made in the method of playing the game within the last ten years or so,” stated a national news report, “and in consequence the liability of accident has been greatly reduced, while the interest has not been detracted from in the least.”
Football and its social scene marked “the rage” among popular “amusements,” booming as mass entertainment. But safe field contact and injury reduction didn’t materialize as the 1888 season played out in November.
Football critics roiled again, detecting nil improvement despite new rules; they saw violence only heightening on playing fields. When violations, malicious assaults and injuries marred a Thanksgiving game in New York City, ridicule kicked back on rule-maker Camp, who refereed the melee.
“Several Men were Laid Out,” headlined The New York Sun, in aftermath of Wesleyan College versus Pennsylvania at the Polo Grounds. “There was rough and bitter play.” The football spectacle “was the roughest, most reckless, dangerous and unskillful game which has been played here for several years…,” remarked The New York Tribune, “an exhibition of how much twenty-two vigorous young athletes will endure for the name and fame of their college… one man was disqualified when there should have been half a dozen.”
Leg chops, body blows, neck tackles and head shots abounded between Wesleyan and Penn. Players were clad in canvas jackets, knee breeches, skull caps, and shoes with steel spikes. They exchanged head-butts, shoulder-rams, elbowing, shoving, pushing, grabbing, tossing, kneeing, kicking, stomping and punching. Players suffered battered and mangled limbs, tissue punctures, facial lacerations, bloody noses, “concussion” and more symptoms of traumatic brain injury [TBI], according to news reports. Most injured players didn’t leave the game, carrying on dazed, hurting and agitated.
The New York Times oozed disgust, relaying that “both teams endeavored to find out which possessed the most force as battering rams, and they were ramming away most cheerfully when time was called, at 4:45, just as it was growing too dark to see the ball except at close quarters. The referee was Walter Camp of Yale, and the umpire was M. Hodge of Princeton. Both of these gentlemen escaped unscathed.”
Camp, the acclaimed “Father of Football” at age 29, typically steered press coverage instead of taking flak. He deflected culpability for the Thanksgiving debacle, blaming Wesleyan and Penn players for failure to “tackle properly.” And controversy abated, again, for gladiatorial sport at colleges.
II. 1800s ‘Foot ball’ Spreads America, Players Adopt Rugby Style, and Fans Flock
The American story of athlete-turned-politician was a headliner in 1843, embodied by Joseph R. Williams, Whig Party congressional candidate from Michigan. Williams was a Harvard alumnus known for “his swiftness of foot and his dexterity in kicking the football on the college green,” newspapers touted. An opinion-page commentator saluted the shrewd political promotion—Williams as athletic candidate—calling it “a new point of distinction in the character of a public man.” Indeed, agrarian America admired manly physical prowess, regarded higher than a college education by most folks, Harvard notwithstanding.
“Kicking football” captured American fancy by outset of the Victorian Era, decades ahead of rugby’s emergence in the states. All ages enjoyed the “footie” game later known as soccer and primarily for its participatory experience, the exhilarating movement, rather than spectating. Whenever a round Goodyear ball appeared for an outdoor gathering, ranging from kids in a street to adults at a lawn party, people sprang to chase and kick the rubber. Public awareness of football emanated from the Northeast, spreading westward and southward via carriers like newspapers, railroads, military posts, churches and schools.
Civil War camps were major conduits for football’s cultural reach. Military units from everywhere, North and South, indulged the game as a fun substitute for drill, boredom—and an intense outlet for male aggression. Kicking a football was risky enough, especially for hurting legs, but many troops preferred rough action favored by college students, more body contact. “Foot ball and boxing matches are of frequent occurrence,” read a Union dispatch from Washington camps in October 1861, “and are participated in with much spirit.”
Outdoor athletics rose in prominence after the war, with “base ball” surging ahead before gladiatorial sport quickly caught up. Boxing garnered headlines, although largely negative because of prizefighting’s illegality. News spotlight trained on the fresh import from England, Rugby School football. Rugby featured ball-carriers and tacklers on the run and colliding, daredevil entertainment for spectators.
Early rugby in America included a match of 1869 between cricket clubs at Philadelphia. The Inquirer published a set of collision rules, “chiefly from those of Rugby School,” including:
13. A player, on catching the ball on the fly of first bound, may carry the ball, and endeavor to reach the opponents’ goal.
14. The privileges of hacking (or kicking) below the knee, tripping, and use of the arms with elbows squared, in charging, or in the scrimmages, will be allowed.
15. Mauling, or the use of the hands, is prohibited, except on the ball.
16. The arms shall not be used against any part of the person above or below the chest.
An enthusiastic crowd supported the Philly ruggers on Nov. 20 as the host Germantown Cricket Club defeated the Young America Cricket Club by scoring 16 “rogues” or goal-line crossings, according to The Inquirer. Future football historians, however, would mark a different 1869 event as milestone: The first inter-collegiate football game of record, played by English Association rules—soccer—on Nov. 6 in Camden, New Jersey, across river from Philadelphia. Host Rutgers College defeated Princeton in the kicking game by a score of 6 to 4, for “innings” won.
Rugby style beckoned college males. Students had long converted footie games into tests of ball-carrying and blocking, knocking. It suited Yale men for class games in 1852, with one combatant rendered unconscious and “borne bleeding from the field,” per a report. Young males willfully turned to body-bashing and worse in football, spurred by competitiveness and often anger. On many campuses the contests served as hazing missions of upperclassmen, under cloak of athletics, for bloody assaults on freshmen sanctioned or ignored by faculty.
While intercollegiate football began largely as kicking games, Yale and Columbia experimented with rugby elements in a physical faceoff of 1872. The Harvard team fully committed to ball-carrying and collision football, playing rugby versions in games against McGill College of Canada and also matches with Yale and Tufts College in 1875.
Controversy embroiled rugby in homeland England over generations of violence and injuries among schoolboys. The 1870s debate erupted in reader letters printed by The London Times and moved into editorial pages of the medical journal Lancet. Several doctors and educators condemned rugby for casualties ranging from bone-and-joint traumas to deaths of organ rupture and neck fracture.
Grieving schoolmaster S.G. Rees, of the Wasing Rectory, urged the Times editor to denounce rugby football at public schools. Rees had been fond of young player Sydney Branson, whose death after intestinal rupture prompted a coroner to criticize “the game as now played.” Rees, in his letter to the editor of March 24, 1875, wrote:
I have too much reason to speak with bitterness of this [Rugby School] game of football, against which I warned [Branson] on the week before. He was the last remaining hope of my old age, and he was about to be married to my only child, who is now in a most critical state from the misery caused by this terrible event. I am sure if the mothers in England could have watched by that dying boy’s side, and witnessed the agonizing pangs, the fearful tortures arising from his internal wounds, and misery of parting with those now desolate ones, to whom he was everything in life, they would, with one voice… cry aloud against this most pernicious game. Accidents may happen in hunting, cricket, and boating, but this is a fight, where injuries are directly inflicted by one man upon another.
Some youths hesitated to join the maw, but many English schools mandated rugby while others exerted pressure to participate. The intimidating activity combined “football, handball, tussling, and wrestling,” observed a Times letter from a father. “I have long ago determined never to send any of my sons to a public school where it is played, however good the school might be in other respects,” he wrote.
In America of autumn 1876, a news ripple followed the organizing of IFA and adoption of Rugby Union rules by football teams at four colleges: Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia. But many athletes stood ready to embrace rugby. Clubs at colleges, preps and towns were already active throughout the Northeast and in outposts like Ann Arbor, Chicago, Evanston, Milwaukee and Louisville.
“It is pretty rough pastime,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle previewed of IFA rugby style, “and it needs great control of temper in its players to avoid personal quarrels as a result of the frequent and violent collisions which occur in closely contested matches… Of late years it has grown in favor with our American college youths, and our larger school boys, and this Fall more than usual attention is being paid to it.”
Competition commenced with rugby balls of oblong leather, and in succeeding years American football grew distinct as IFA rules evolved. The game’s popularity exploded between 1876 and 1883, with gate attendance rising to 10,000 fans for Thanksgiving games staged in Manhattan.
Newspapers enjoyed circulation spikes for daily football coverage and added print space, producing “Sporting News” pages on Sunday. The lucrative football-media synergy led newspapers into public cheer-leading for the sport, and magazines and books readily glorified it, printing tales for a growing audience young and old.
Many newspapers unabashedly promoted football and recruited young males to play. The “manly” game benefited of a fortune in free headlines and stories, and writers routinely solicited males to fill needy rosters at clubs, colleges and schools. Some scribes openly challenged masculinity of halting local athletes. Additionally, reporting for a football game sold sex straightaway with female adornment standard in story lead and illustration, effuse portrayal of beautiful “ladies” in the grandstand. One way or another, thousands of men and boys were drawn to take their chance at heroism on the football field.
Rugby teams and leagues cropped up nationally, following cue of the news hub Northeast. College clubs nurtured the sport’s growth in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and California. School and town teams percolated in locales such as Little Rock, San Antonio, Omaha, Colorado Springs, Reno, Salt Lake, Jamestown, N.D., and Idaho City. Americanized football extended west to the Hawaiian Kingdom, where college men and schoolboys organized on Oahu Island.
In 1881 The Philadelphia Times declared football “promises ere long to become the really national pastime of the country, especially in the autumn months.” Numerous colleges and preparatory schools capitalized, hitching on the football bandwagon powered by the “Big Three” of Harvard and Yale—“the two leading institutions of learning in the United States,” according to The New York Times—and Princeton.
Marketing for enrollment was priority at colleges and academies, and the contemporary hot offering was physical culture curriculum complete with athletic teams, gymnasium and grounds. Sport like football inspired “enthusiasm and love for one’s Alma Mater,” an Amherst student wrote in the period, adding, “the college which wins the love of its students [for] her contests and triumphs will always prosper.” Many colleges embraced athlete-managed football “associations” sprouting on campuses. Administrations viewed football as a surefire seller for drawing students, benefactor alumni and more paying parties.
“Almost every institution of learning that has a campus or a back-yard large enough to toss pennies in can boast of a football team,” The New York Tribune observed, continuing: “the exercises of the fall term consist mainly in football, oatmeal eating, chapel exercises and Latin—mentioned, or course, in the order of their importance.” Skeptics of such modern education had their points, The Tribune acknowledged in 1883, but sports “when properly controlled, and restricted as they are at present in most colleges… the harm they do is very slight, and is greatly exceeded by the good.”
Among the perceived benefits over risks, football proponents insisted the activity was moral, curbing campus problems of hazing, fighting, drinking and gambling. The theory followed that football provided all students with clean catharsis for negative emotion and behavior. Proponents said a football player himself learned chivalry, toughness, discipline and teamwork. The game uniquely taught qualities “likely to prove of far more benefit in a business line… fitting a young man for life in the world,” remarked the Philadelphia Times, lauding its “splendid exercise.” Harvard, Princeton and Yale also hosted student boxing, likewise in deference to the 19th century notion that a sound mind was built on sound body, and that rugged sport prepared youths to defend the country in war. Football and “sparring” at colleges and preps served Muscular Christianity, supporters said.
But adversaries charged the opposite, alleging football spectacle on campus begat hooliganism, vice, mercenary athletes, immoral winning and further toxins for educational mission. Foremost, critics decried violence of American football, the myriad hazards and injuries for young bodies. They recommended dropping present-day rules and reverting to traditional “kicking” football that forbade tackling, blocking and ball-carrying. At Cambridge, the Harvard faculty demanded cessation of football competition with other colleges until someone enacted impact reform.
Football advocates answered, arguing their American game represented improvement on English versions. They said American football was less risky than both Rugby and Association [soccer] formats. “Now, anyone who has actually tried both games knows that the old game is by far the more dangerous,” a Princeton player wrote The Times under an apparent pseudonym. The letter-writer blamed individual players for violating American rules to cause any serious injuries.
The Yale football captain concurred in 1884, E.L. Richards, Jr., speaking with a reporter from bed, where he lay crippled by game injury. Wearing a leg cast, Richards denied he was hurt seriously. “Football is all right,” he said, smoking cigarettes and drinking champagne in a New York hotel room. “Nobody ever was killed by playing it. It’s a nice, healthy, manly exercise.”
Football insiders said their game injured few players while killing none. The claim was parroted by writers, more game supporters in the early 1880s, but it was false, according to review of period newspapers available in electronic search today. Organized tackle football in America injured and killed players from the start, including schoolboys.
III. 1876-1884: American Football Injury Factor and Official Rhetoric of Denial
Newspapers chronicled few injury incidents of American football prior to 1880, and valid medical literature didn’t exist. Indeed, legitimate epidemiological study on football casualties would remain inadequate spanning three centuries, or through the present, 2016, and our foreseeable future.
In 1836 a Carlisle College student died of football in Pennsylvania, for trauma presumably sustained in a kicking game. A newspaper noted the incident a half-century later, attributing local witnesses. “Talbot P. Moore… while engaged in the campus at a game of foot ball, was seriously injured—so much so that he never appeared again with his class in college, but lingered at his home and there died,” reported The Carlisle Herald.
Football-injury news gained a beat in the 1870s, spurred by thriving popular press of the Industrial Age, but especially for Rugby style’s takeover at many colleges, athletic clubs and schools. Risky football spectacle was alluring for many males, leading to a traumatic brain injury in eastern Indiana: “A little boy named Charlie Green ran into an excited crowd at foot-ball, at the First Ward School this morning [in Richmond], and being knocked down was run over and trampled upon until almost killed. His head was badly lacerated, and he was taken home insensible,” The Cincinnati Enquirer reported in 1875.
A few football fatalities appeared in newspapers. An 1877 brief announced a player’s dying at the University of Michigan, identified as “Dr. Currey.” Death occurred from complications of a damaged chest artery, according to The Hillsdale Standard, but e-information accessible to this investigator in 2016 provided no further detail. Some faculty members played football at colleges and prep academies in the 19th century, so Currey possibly represented the campus “medics” rugby team, which faced off against the law school squad in Ann Arbor. Elsewhere, Vermont, young Michael Corvea died, reportedly of a kick to his abdomen in football.
Major newspapers and magazines, concentrated in the Northeast, hardly addressed football fatalities in that initial decade because none occurred at Yale, Princeton or Harvard—not yet. The Big Three dominated football content as the only teams to sell nationally for reader consumption. But injuries riddled those lineups and some writers reported a casualty problem for football in general, criticizing Rugby style as too violent for colleges, schools and other entities.
“A large number of the players have been strained and terribly lamed,” The Boston Daily Globe observed. “In fact, some of the injuries received by a number of the players have been so severe that the attention of [faculty educators] has been called to the dangerous character of the game.” The New York Times covered a bloody practice session for a football club, observing: “Rugby Union rules lead to a game none of the gentlest, and several aspiring players were seen to leave the field in a sadly demoralized condition.”
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle skewered “American Rules” football from the beginning, in commentaries printed without writer bylines. “It is a fruitful source of ruptures, sprained limbs and injuries which leave their mark for years, if not for a lifetime. It is the roughest of games now played.” The paper portrayed an environment rather hopeless for meaningful safety reform:
[Football] cultivates the combative feelings of our youth to a high degree, and engenders anything but good feeling… The game as now played is little else than a continuous series of wrestling matches for the possession of the ball, in the course of which players not only come into violent collision with each other, but they are grappled with and thrown violently to the ground… the possessor of the ball often has the breath pressed out of him by the weight of five or six heavy men lying on one another on top of him. No matter in what position he may fall when holding the ball, his opponents fall on him and thus it frequently happens that arms are broken or wrists or ankles sprained while the severe twisting of the body in the wrestling encounters is a fruitful source of ruptures.
In 1878 The Daily Eagle urged institutions to drop rugby in favor of lacrosse or traditional footie. The paper opined that “at present foot ball, rightly speaking, is not played in this country,” continuing:
Lacrosse is vastly superior to foot ball in the special respect of its possessing all the attractions which swift running, graceful activity, pluck, courage and endurance present, without the inducements to ill natured contests and the liability to life long injuries which is so characteristic of foot ball. If foot ball, however, were modified and really made a foot ball game, it would not be so bad, but as it is it is the most dangerous game now in vogue and one which has nothing to commend it to gentlemen.
On the contrary, other news writers declared football posed no higher risk than baseball, boating and horseback riding. Fan newsmen thought football to be the perfect antidote for a male population growing effeminate since the war. No IFA official commented on injuries during the late 1870s, given news content surveyed for this analysis. Leaders of American football were students, including Walter Camp, then a Yale undergraduate player doubling as intercollegiate rule-maker.
But talking points were already established for advocacy of rough football, a rhetoric constructed among Rugby School loyalists over decades of controversy in England. Rugby’s trusted response to public backlash in Britain framed the following claims:
•Rugby dangers were in the past because of new rules strictly enforced.
•Association Rules football [soccer] was riskier than Rugby School.
•In properly played rugby injuries were accidental, serious casualties rare.
•Unfit or malicious individuals caused injuries, not rugby.
•Rugby was safer than hunting, boating or cricket.
•Rugby critics were ignorant of the sport science.
•Rugby injuries were exaggerated by doctors and the press.
But bad press and disturbed doctors hit English rugby once again in 1878, and this U.K. debate made headlines in American papers. A London physician said: “At the top of the list of bad physical exercises I place the game of football. This game, in some modes of playing it, is the cause of more physical mischief than I can describe. To say nothing of the immediate injuries that occur from it by falls, sprains, kicks and concussions, broken bones, dislocations, broken shins and other visible accidents, there are others of a less obvious kind, which are sometimes still more disastrous. Hernia, or rupture, is one of these disasters; varicose veins is another; and disease of the heart from pure over-strain is a third.”
Following death of an English rugger, a coroner’s jury recommended revision of Rugby rules to eliminate injuries. In America, meanwhile, football leaders pondered major changes as casualty incidents appeared more frequently in newspapers during the 1879 season. At least two American fatalities occurred: John P.H. Smith, a 17-year-old in Illinois, died after suffering internal ruptures in a football game at State Normal University; and an unidentified youth died in New York City from complications of leg fracture—“a timely warning for impetuous and incautious ball-players”—newspapers reported.
The Big Three teams didn’t play cautiously, could not, given their battle sweepstakes. Thousands of fans now paid admission to see games of Yale, Harvard and Princeton. The champion enjoyed money windfall and prestige. But necessary injuries mounted against winning, too, such as for Yale that season. Eleven of the roster’s 15 players were hurt in varying degrees. In one game, abdominal trauma sidelined a man while captain Camp was dropped by an elbow to the gut, although he got up and played on.
A frightening injury felled Princeton star halfback T.H.P. Farr, against lowly Columbia University, a game described as “a series of conflicts resulting in fouls.” The New York Sun reported a tackler’s arm swung into Farr at the throat and “his body straightened out like a whiplash… dropped to the ground like a stone.” Farr lay still several minutes before rising and moving “slowly to the dressing house, with a friend on either side.”
Neck tackling was perilous like common head butting, the latter being “a gross violation of foot-ball rules,” The Times noted in 1879. Blockers led “rushes” by ramming, pushing and grabbing, or “guarding” ball-carriers in violation of Rugby rules. At season’s climax, the Thanksgiving game that drew 6,000 spectators, rule-making players opened discussion for new code.
Camp chiefly designed American football’s makeover from 1880 to 1882. Safety was the expressed purpose, officials later recalled, for “opening” the game and minimizing injury. Three primary developments drove change: a) establishing a line of “scrimmage” between opposing teams of 11 players per side; b) designating ball possession for one side at a time; and c) extending ball possession when a side advances five yards in three downs.
Foremost, the rugby “scrummage” was eliminated, or the circle of interlocked players kicking and struggling over the ball for chance possession. The New York Sun lauded new IFA rules in an editorial of Oct. 20, 1880:
Heretofore the great objection to foot ball encounters has been the great number of serious injuries which have resulted from the dangerous [scrums], which have been such a marked featured of the Rugby Union games. Under the revised rules this objectionable feature has been partially removed, and eventually it will be entirely eliminated from the game. In its place there will be more “passing” of the ball, and more kicking it and catching it, with livelier work in running than before, and of course greatly less liability to serious injuries.
The Philadelphia Times agreed, praising new football. The American game had become “skillful, strategical play” demonstrated by “quick and accurate passing of the ball on close runs and in sharp dodging.” Public faith was strong, and football resurrected at Illinois State Normal University after pause for the death of Smith.
But harm was uninterrupted. While fisticuffs and more forms of “slugging” might’ve been controlled, American rule-makers couldn’t overcome incorrigibility of their forward-colliding sport, its substantial risks and elemental casualties.
“Two players were knocked senseless in the [Columbia-Stevens] match at Hoboken on Tuesday, one having to be carried off the field,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on Nov. 3, 1881. “Half a dozen or more were lamed, and all, more or less, received bruises.”
“Taken at its best, foot-ball is always dangerous to the players,” The New York Times editorialized. “It is a source of broken limbs and ruptures.” Lincoln University player W.H. Clark died of a severed artery in Pennsylvania, proving “foot-ball is not always safe,” observed The Delaware County Daily Times.
The Harvard faculty committee on athletics threatened to end Crimson football before Thanksgiving in 1883. The committee found “games played under [American] rules have already begun to degenerate,” a faculty letter informed the Harvard captain.
News reverberated nationally. “College athletics have received a set-back in the refusal of the Harvard faculty to allow their men to play foot ball with other colleges as long as the Rugby rules are followed,” The Des Moines Register editorialized on front page, Dec. 5, 1883, continuing:
Under the old English rules foot ball was an entertaining, manly sport. Under the new rules it has become a dangerous, brutal pastime, little more than a display of brute strength. Throttling, tripping and knocking down are the means now largely used to win a game. Hardly a game passes between leading foot ball teams without some serious accident and broken bones are a frequent occurrence. The tendency of college athletics has been growing away from their original purpose—that of furnishing rational healthful sport—towards the development of professional athletes…
Harvard football resisted faculty pressure that season. The players promised stricter officiating and cleaner behavior then resumed their games.
Camp responded to Harvard faculty and all “bugbear” adversaries of football, criticizing them in a letter to newspapers and during a reporter’s interview. College graduate Camp no longer played football, after injury apparently ended his seventh season for Yale. In 1884 he attended medical school in New York while serving as IFA leader and part-time athletics coach at Yale, along with his ventures such as sports writing. Camp and Yale argued football dangers were overblown by ill-informed journalists and academics. “The men who write about the weakness and mistakes of our rules take a great deal upon themselves when they criticize what has been worked on by not only fairly-educated men, but real players, for half a dozen years,” stated a release from Yale football.
American football, according to Camp, was actually safer than both the Rugby and Association styles, and faculty meddling would ruin entire departments of physical education. Medical supervision and proper training protected college football players, Camp said, while the game promoted “temperance” by eliminating drinking, gambling and further unhealthiness. Camp, aspiring medical practitioner, said broken bones and head knocks were good lessons under proper guidance. So-called scientific boxing “works admirably” for a sporting man, he told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“I have found by actual experience in training teams for several years that nothing aids a ball player more than good, hard sparring,” Camp said. “It teaches him to be constantly on his guard, keeps his eye always on the alert, and quickens his movements, making him spry, active and stirs up the blood.”
Camp’s philosophy was put to test at Yale one week later, with tragic outcome. His intramural boxing matches produced a critically injured student, Oliver Dyer, Jr., age 24. Camp, the fight organizer and referee a month shy of his 26th birthday, projected full responsibility onto Dyer for sustaining brain-spine trauma, his getting decked in PE activity. To blame Yale or mere “sparring” in “soft gloves” would be a mistake, Camp told the press. “The secret of the whole trouble is that Dyer was in no condition to enter the ring,” Camp pleaded, adding the student boxer seemed “dazed” prior to the fight. Camp said Dyer had trained improperly and likewise sinned for imbibing alcohol “the night before the set-to.”
“He was literally un-strong,” Camp attested of the medium-built Dyer. The larger opponent whom Camp approved, R.B. Williams, treated Dyer “very lightly, and did not knock him down as has been reported. He is a careful hitter.” Camp added, “Williams struck him a half-dozen left-handers about the face, and then I noticed that [Dyer’s] knees began to double under him and he fell backward.”
“He was fainting from excitement,” Camp said. “As he was going, a left-hander from Williams took him on the chin, and set his head back. He sank to the floor, and as unfortunately could be, his head struck the edge of the narrow board that forms the boundary of the ring in the gymnasium, with sufficient force to snap his neck.”
Dyer suffered in primitive hospital care of the time, paralyzed and mostly comatose over six days, before succumbing on March 14. An editorial critic or two commented, and Yale administrators and Walter Camp moved on from their boxing death. The general public and news media didn’t care, really.
American spiral of denial also muted fatalities of popular football, of course, and would do so at Yale and Harvard, soon, among major colleges hosting the blood sport.
IV. 1880s Football Reforms Finally Succeed, Officials Say, and News Parrots Message
College educators fretted over football’s festering concerns in the mid-1880s; some proposed establishing a central faculty body to draft rules and govern enforcement. But Brown president E.G. Robinson felt above it all. Robinson only allowed Brown students to play football on campus and in local Providence, among themselves and against clubs nearby. And that solved every issue, Robinson said smugly, including expense and safety.
“Brown does not indulge in athletics; she pleads guilty to that indictment of our friend of Yale. She is sadly behind the age,” Robinson told an alumni gathering at Delmonico’s restaurant in Manhattan, hours after Dyer’s death of Yale boxing under Camp. “There is no professor of pugilism at Brown,” assured Robinson. “There are no annual sparring matches there. She has no football team which ranges the country from Toronto to Tallahassee, exhibiting the elegant brutality of breaking shins and endangering spinal columns.
“Our small college is educating Rhode Islanders for their work in life and is doing much for New York in remedying the defects of the large colleges. Brown will do its best, our friends of Yale and Harvard, to help you to positions of real usefulness.”
Robinson’s remarks drew laughter, applause, along with editorial salutes in New York. But plaudits faded as Brown students predictably hurt each other in campus football. Rib fracture led a crippled sophomore to drop classes, depart for home, and a freshman sustained “serious” head injury at bottom of a football pile, according to newspapers. In 1886 a nightmare unfolded when Brown sophomore Edwin P. Goodell, 22, suffered injuries in a class scrimmage and died three weeks later, reported The Times.
The football experts, meanwhile, promised they were finally crafting solutions through yet another “reform” phase, no less than IFA’s third of the decade. Supporters spread positive word.
Harvard had allowed only class football for one season, and although severe injuries and fighting still occurred, players and faculty agreed the game was “much improved,” according to a release. In 1886 faculty permitted the Harvard team to resume intercollegiate games with Yale, Princeton and other schools. The Times blared the headline “Harvard Students Rejoice” on front page, commenting: “The wisdom of playing the class games last Fall is now seen. Through the interest aroused by these [campus scrimmages] more men have played the game than ever before, and a greater enthusiasm has been shown.”
Dr. Dudley A. Sargent, Harvard’s pioneering sports M.D. and trainer, blamed “professionalism,” moneyed interests, for harming intercollegiate games and health of players. Harvard’s stepping out of IFA for a year helped all of football, “too good a game to kill,” Sargent said. “Harvard athletics are assuming a purer and in every way a better tone than before. To give them this tone is our goal. When the strong public sentiment is aroused in the country, other colleges will have to come around to our position.” Sargent said “rough and tricky” football was being eliminated.
Many writers echoed Dr. Sargent. A Philadelphia newsman hit Harvard’s “officious faculty” for interfering, and progressive activist Elizabeth Powell Bond figured supervised football “may be made a safeguard to the morality of students or other young men, whose sedentary life has in it an element of danger.” Football, surmised The New York Herald, prepped a young man for leadership through crisis of industrializing America. “Sometimes the shins, then again the head, and once in a while the ribs feel as though they had been struck by a pile driver; but when a fellow can stand up against these mishaps and is anxious only to win in spite of them, he is in part fitting himself to become a bank president, able to carry the institution through a panic.”
The Times trumpeted both Harvard’s IFA reentry and the sport’s growth in 1886. “Prominent football players” had persuaded editors that “objectionable” elements were cleansed. The Times proclaimed nullification of “brutality and abuses which had crept into the game under the old rules.”
Skeptics knew that Harvard alumni and students had pressured faculty to resume IFA games, especially Yale and Princeton events flush with cash, blossoming as national spectacles. Moreover, cynics understood IFA officials methodically only tinkered with field rules, always short of wholesale change. The rule-makers’ primary moves from 1884 to 1887 were designating a field umpire to aid the referee, instituting automatic player ejection for “unnecessary roughness,” and pledging strict enforcement, moral adherence to code by all parties.
A ridiculing response circulated in Vermont, a state with a decade of football casualties including a boy’s severe TBI and the killing of Corvea. The news commentator abhorred football, suggesting players should consider iron face cages appearing in baseball. “The time has passed when the criterion of human achievement is confined to the low plane of physical prowess.”
Carlisle, Pa., held a grim statistic of three football deaths within 50 years of local memory, most recently for the 1886 game between Swarthmore and Dickinson, two little colleges dreaming big for sports. Dickinson sophomore Harry Garrison died of a brain impact. “Garrison captured the ball [on defense] when his opponents made a rush, and in the scramble that ensued he was thrown backwards with great force. His head struck the earth, or a stone, and ruptured a blood vessel behind the left ear,” a dispatch stated. A physician rushed to Garrison’s prone body but could do nothing.
The Harrisburg Telegraph editorialized the tragedy would “doubtless set thoughtful people to wondering whether, in the appeals to force which football contests encourage and the rules permit, too high a price is not paid for the physical culture they promote or the sport they are supposed to afford.” The Telegraph denounced faulty comparison to other activities:
Doubtless all games demanding fleetness and strength involve a certain degree of peril to participants. Death has resulted from an accidental blow with a ball or bat. Men have ridden to their death while engaged in the exciting sport of the race course. But it is not the purpose of the ball player to injure his opponent, nor of the jockey to put his life in peril. Therefore these cases are not analogous to accidents in football. In this game the object of the players on one side at certain stages is to stop the progress of their opponents, and the rules seemingly permit any degree of force to be used which accomplishes the result desired.
Football, “even under the new rules, is as dangerous as ever,” sports writer Jacob Morse observed in 1887. “The Amherst College team has been completely crippled by injuries to its players, while the Williams eleven have suffered much from injuries on the field… No one can deny, in the face of these facts, that a player goes into a game almost carrying his life in his hands.”
But football leaders did deny blame for injuries, as casualty reporting accelerated in newspapers. American football couldn’t stem its patent violence, but officials could influence information and public opinion. And football associates aided the denial—educators, doctors and newsmen.
Elite teams typically disclaimed responsibility for injuries and sickness among players, or conveyed nothing occurred at all. In early 1884, Camp of Yale contended that “not one of our men ever [has] been injured in the championship Rugby games” of IFA. “This is largely due to the system of training employed.” But med-student Camp was overlooking Yale’s publicized casualties in IFA games or “championship series” for years—including his own disabling injuries and those of teammates like F.M. Eaton, bedridden ill for a fractured collarbone. And publicized casualties rose on Big Three teams after Camp’s claim, unsurprisingly, with multiple calamitous cases occurring through decade’s end, whether football link could be verified or discounted.
A Harvard player died suddenly in June 1884, strongman Aaron Crane, while training for football and leading the school’s champion tug-of-war team. “The [coroner’s] inquest shows that his death was due to heart disease, and was brought on by overexertion in the gymnasium,” newspapers reported. But Dr. Sargent, Harvard’s famed gym director, dismissed talk of cardiac illness among his athletes. “That is absurd,” said Sargent, respected designer and marketer of training equipment and programs. “This belief is due to a misapprehension. I may have sometimes told men they had some tendency to heart trouble. Then, they have immediately rushed away and have said I told them they had heart disease.”
Sargent said athletes must follow his training protocols, and the sports doctor pledged to conduct regular medical assessment for Harvard teams. He suggested individuals were at fault. “Last year there were men in the crew, in the baseball nine, and in the football team, who had no business there,” Sargent said. “They didn’t keep the rules of training, and were not manly enough to let the people know about it until it was too late. I shall see that nothing of that sort happens again.”
Results were mixed-bag. Apparently no other Harvard football player died from 1884 to 1887, given available e-texts, but many were hurt seriously despite Sargent’s training and monitoring. Newspapers covered injuries for prominent players, and at least three Harvard stars played following severe brain trauma—W.B. Phillips, H.E. Peabody, and George Adams—while another hovered near death of chest trauma.
A “concussion of the brain” devastated Phillips in 1884, reportedly, an incident that prompted Harvard faculty to halt intercollegiate football. Neural specialists publicly warned of permanent disorder from brain trauma, yet Phillips was re-injured playing football, the 1885 campus games touted as safe by Sargent and players—Phillips himself. Finally Phillips quit football after repetitive TBI during Harvard’s return to IFA competition.
Adams, meanwhile, was knocked unconscious in 1883 and retired from football, supposedly, only to return three years later, pressed to play against juggernaut Yale amidst Harvard’s team rebuilding. Albert “Bert” Holden was Harvard’s brawling, butting captain before a foe crushed him with a knee-drop in 1887, causing sternum fracture and “nervous shock” that hospitalized him for weeks. The brilliant Holden, a genuine student-athlete injured throughout college, didn’t play football again.
Harvard casualties symbolized by Holden, among campus football problems in continuum, emboldened faculty members to again demand the sport be abolished. But their second rebellion was quashed. A Harvard professor celebrated in print, evolutionist Nathaniel Shaler, declaring football “cultivates swift judgment, endurance, and self-confidence, without which even the naturally brave can never learn to meet danger.”
Casualty accounts dotted Yale news, naturally, with intense focus on this greatest team. Yale stories were overwhelmingly positive and typically glorified Camp—“the great football authority,” gushed The Philadelphia Inquirer—but he bristled at muckraking reporters, such nosy outsiders. “I am sadly aware that the present tendency is to depreciate all games and exercise, and frown on strength and courage as old-fashioned things,” Camp stated for friendly pressmen in 1886. “It takes a brave man to play football constantly, and I believe it is well to have some game where courage is needed.”
Camp always took credit for instilling theoretical benefits of football, character lessons for players, but he and Yale cohorts dodged responsibility for tangible casualties, according to a wealth of historical evidence in news, books, Camp personal papers and other collections. Yale culture maintained a rough edge, like many “manly” institutions of the 1880s. Students partied, brawled, wrestled and gambled—wagering on football games as a body. Upperclassmen gangs attacked freshmen on campus and in town, thrashing newcomers bloody in “cane rush,” stripping away clothing, sending victims to hospital. Yale tolerated select violence and casualty, contributing perhaps to the football program’s nonchalance about injuries, and standard no comment.
Yale football was a physical maw, grinding up its players and foes alike during 49 victories over 50 games from 1883 to 1888. Some seasons Yale allowed zero points while scoring hundreds. Yale players savored peerless winning but paid mightily, with newsmen reporting a spectrum of health problems on the team, including: TBI or “concussion,” bone fracture from skull to feet, eye injury, nose bleed, laceration of mouth and tongue, broken teeth, organ rupture, chest trauma, stretched and torn ligature and cartilage, hematoma, fever, pleurisy, pneumonia and more ailments. Yale officials said little, beyond disputing casualty data and football blame in newspapers. Conflicting information muddled two deaths among Yale football players of the 1880s.
John A. Palmer was a Yale practice player, aspiring for the “university eleven,” when he died of a brain hemorrhage in autumn 1885. Palmer hadn’t played football for 24 hours, minimally, but doctors said such “violent exercise” spurred cerebral bleeding in the left ventricle, discovered postmortem. A New Haven physician and Yale alumnus, Dr. William O. Ayres, also attended the autopsy. He concluded differently, saying football wasn’t involved with Palmer’s death. Ayres, a Yale med-school graduate prior to the Civil War, said a diseased kidney triggered the brain clot. Finally, a local inquest determined brain trauma was culprit, but the medical examiner blamed impromptu wrestling prior to Palmer’s collapse, not football, according to newspapers.
Yale athletic officials flatly denied culpability in the second fatality. George Watkinson was a promising, popular halfback and New Haven native whose death ignited anger in the Northeast. Watkinson and star Yale quarterback Harry Beecher had fallen gravely ill following the Thanksgiving game at Princeton, in driving cold rain. Watkinson didn’t recover, succumbing on Dec. 14, 1886. The New York Sun reported Watkinson had nursed injury prior to the frigid drenching “but continued to play, took cold, and died.” The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle opined American football had hit “a setback.”
Not so, countered Yale football players and supporters. Eugene L. Richards, math professor and father of Yale football stars, speculated the robust Watkinson arrived at Princeton already sick with malaria. “Professor Richards said [on Dec. 17] that so far as he knew, the visit to Princeton was not the direct or indirect cause of Watkinson’s death,” stated a release from New Haven. “The game ought not to be proscribed because of his death, as he probably had the germs of the disease in his system, which were only waiting a chance to break out.” Yale president Timothy Dwight declined comment on the matter.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle blasted lack of contrition at Yale and throughout IFA territory. Eagle editors fumed that “lunatics” staged the Princeton game in horrid weather, editorializing:
The death of that fine athlete of Yale, young Watkinson, teaches a lesson the Faculties of the universities of Harvard, Yale and Princeton should ponder well, and it is that the game of foot ball as now played in the Intercollegiate Association is unfit for collegians as a physical exercise calculated to build them up to withstand the mental pressure their collegiate studies subject them to. It is nothing more than a game in which low, vulgar wrestling and fighting have become the main feature. There is but one game of foot ball which college students should play, and that is the English Association game…
Soon after, Yale struck back at naysayer journalists and more perceived adversaries during an alumni function at Delmonico’s. “Yale Men Talk About Athletics and Abuse The Press,” headlined The New York Tribune. Professor Richards spoke along with Robert Corwin, who was the football captain, a future Yale dean, and future NCAA delegate. Corwin “praised [football] and bitterly resented attacks on it,” The Tribune reported. “He said that there were two kinds of football, one, the noble game, and the other the fanatical fabrication of the reporters’ imagination.”
Many writers agreed with Corwin and apparently at his Yale, where campus press supposedly squelched negative information about football. The Yale allegation was dropped by Alfred P. Dennis, managing editor of The Princetonian paper, where editorial staff included football players. Former Princeton president James McCosh once lamented publicly how that campus paper “was often given up” to football interests. He added, “I have asked the faculty to devise effective measures to avert these extremes. A committee has prepared a careful report on the subject.”
That didn’t work, based on subsequent remarks of the editor Dennis. Speaking at a collegiate press convention in Philadelphia, 1890, Dennis was frank in qualifying Princetonian journalism ethic as situational when it came to football. Notably, he said, casualties were ignored. The college editor’s speech was titled Suggestions as to the Eradication from the Public Mind of the Growing Sentiment Against the Game of Football.
“During the last three years there have been fully a score of men temporarily laid off the Princeton practicing elevens through injuries received on the football field,” Dennis said. “None of these men have received permanent injuries, and none are ready now to regret that they ever donned the canvas jacket. In rare instances legs and collar bones have been broken, but any mention of the same has been vigorously excluded from the college publications. The same thing may be said in regard to the Yale News. We never read in its pages an account of football injury, except, perhaps, the casual notice that some man is temporarily incapacitated for play on the eleven.”
“Princeton men go further than this in case of serious injury on the football field,” the editor continued, pointing to a wider network for effecting positive illusion. “The correspondents for the daily papers have received official instructions to let their ‘Yea be yea and their nay, nay,’ concerning the matter,” he said. “Correspondents have been officially sat upon for breaches in this direction, until only one or two remain in Princeton College, unto this day, who [report] ‘blood and thunder’ style.”
Dennis had advice for student writers in football, “two methods which contribute to still the tongues of the defamers of the sport. Along both general lines the college press can have a very powerful and salutary influence. The first thing… is the suppression of reports that would injure the game in the eyes of the public, and, secondly, there must be a constant and well defined effort to educate the public eye to see science in the game as well as the manifestations of brute force.”
Trend in public criticism of football was “unfortunate,” said the college editor. “In the last few years the game has largely vindicated itself in the eyes of the general public as an open, manly sport.”
V. Late 1880s: Amoral Football and Serious Health Issues Are History, Say Educators, Theologians, Newsmen
In North Carolina of autumn 1888, student football teams organized quickly for intercollegiate games under IFA rules. A young Yankee educator, John F. Crowell, led tackle football’s campaign in the southern state. Football had been played on North Carolina campuses, different game versions, but American style flourished when Crowell arrived from Yale, taking over as president of Trinity College. Football fans were delighted, such as newspaper men in Raleigh.
“We are glad to see the game of foot-ball coming into popularity. It is one of the noblest of American games,” opined The Raleigh News and Observer, speculating “several thousand” would attend a Thanksgiving match between Trinity and Wake Forest. “Those who miss the game will regret it,” the paper declared.
President Crowell coached football at tiny Trinity. Additionally, as a former Yale sports writer and boxer, he penned football how-to stories and more promotion for Raleigh publications. “It is marvelous how this game transforms some slow-motioned and easy-going students into quick-sighted and ready, active athletes,” Crowell wrote, channeling Camp theory. “Nothing has done more than this interest in athletics to attach them to their College home. They will have strong, toughened bodies and good blood to bear up a mind.”
“As a rule the players can make the game a dangerous one or a safe one,” Crowell told readers in Camp mantra. Crowell, who played intramural football at Yale, instructed Carolinians:
No one is capable of judging this game until he has played in it. As a spectator he may consider it dangerous to the players. But it is dangerous only to the timid or the reckless, while to the one who plays either with a cool desperation or a furious energy there is no danger… Three years ago [football] was regarded as necessarily dangerous, but since then the feeling between the leading teams has improved and the temper of the game become milder… Every exhibition of pluck, whether foiled or not, should be acknowledged promptly by the lookers-on.
Despite Carolina papers’ pregame hype only 600 people saw Trinity defeat Chapel Hill, a small fraction compared to big games in New York. Some reporters raved, anyway. “Long life to the game of foot-ball!” cheered The Charlotte Observer. “This was the first scientific game of foot-ball ever played in the State and was appreciated to the full extent by the good people of Raleigh,” chimed The News and Observer. The Raleigh paper decided YMCA football facilities were required at state university in Chapel Hill, like at Yale, and editors solicited a $10,000 public offering “to build and endow such a centre of spiritual life and light.”
Muscular Christianity was a football benefit, swore proponents. A player learned moral strength for conquering evil impulse and behavior, according to football stars of Yale and Princeton, waving their Bibles. The notion was hawked in pious North Carolina, where education—and thus football—lay in control of theologians, divinity scholars. Indeed, it was the Reverend John Crowell as president at Trinity College, endowed by Methodists.
But many religious folks were appalled at football. Criticism unfurled at a brawling Trinity player and for injuries in a contest at the state capital, where a compound leg fracture startled spectators. “The game is entirely too rough,” commented The Raleigh Christian Advocate. “One young man was badly hurt, another slightly hurt, and several were bruised up… we would advise those concerned to quit the match games of foot ball.” Legislative clerk D.B. Nicholson intoned that football was cruel and immoral, “behind our civilization,” in commentary for Weekly State Chronicle. “It promotes betting and breeds dissipation.”
Wake Forest’s pastor president, Reverend Charles E. Taylor, denounced football at his college and others. “These games, as actually played, are dangerous and verge upon brutality,” Taylor wrote for The Biblical Recorder in Raleigh. “Colleges have other purposes in view than those which are fostered by these contests.”
Players denied football caused serious injuries, and Trinity president Crowell continued fighting for the sport reviled by many Carolinians. The state Methodists convention eventually abolished Trinity football and Crowell resigned amidst acrimony, overshadowing his accomplishments in modernizing the curriculum and leading campus relocation into Durham—where the college would expand, becoming known as Duke University. In departing, Crowell ridiculed critics of football as dumb, cowardly people. And while Rev. Crowell hadn’t publicly espoused enrollment enhancement for organizing blood sport at the college—he always declared manly, moral education as his motive—he predicted Trinity would lose students without football.
Crowell fashioned himself a prophet without appreciation in North Carolina, and certainly football-boosting educators like him won accolades elsewhere. The religious institution was warming to tackle football in many regions, as theologians increasingly reached for the glittering possibility while praying against potential catastrophe.
The national publicity of Yale’s Christian athletes encouraged religious schools to adopt tackle football. “It is a somewhat remarkable fact that Yale’s most prominent athletes in latter years have also been her most devoted workers in the Y.M.C.A.,” The New York Sun observed in 1889. The paper claimed hundreds of student “carousers” at Yale had been converted to “Christian workers” under guidance of religious athletes, particularly Amos Alonzo Stagg, football All-American and baseball star. Stagg prayed openly before athletic contests, and The New York Times narrated how a fatherly Yale professor once mentored the young leader “to tell and show the boys that a student could be a Christian while engaged in athletics.”
Catholic priests embraced football at little Notre Dame College, just across the Indiana border from Chicago. Notre Dame’s new football team promptly claimed the bi-state “championship,” although local parishioners might’ve cringed over the divine manly casualties. Conventional medicine wouldn’t have sanctioned the “rough” game between Notre Dame and Northwestern in 1889. One news scribe reported a Notre Dame player was “seriously injured,” possibly to lose an eye, while another “had his jaw badly smashed.” But a different newsman wrote in the football perspective—also reflective of emerging sports medicine—that viewed injuries as generally harmless:
CHICAGO, Nov. 15—The Notre Dame (Ind.) university eleven played a game of football yesterday at Evanston with the Northwestern university eleven, and “did up” the Northwestern boys in great shape, winning by a score of 9 to 0. Nobody was badly hurt, but several of the players limped off the field in a very bunged-up condition. Capt. Hepburn, of the Notre Dame team, dropped a row of teeth and fractured his jaw in one of the first scrimmages. Another Notre Dame man had his head pushed into the ground, and retired minus a large patch of his face.
Many news writers explained football violence as deceptive, not nearly as dangerous as appearances. Scribes suggested poor eyesight for anyone who saw blood-letting, versus transcendent sport with an occasional accident. In Delaware, The Wilmington News Journal opined “there is something superbly brutal about it which compels admiration.”
A raucous Pennsylvania affair between prep academy and seminary produced a nose laceration, a kneecap dislocation and two TBI cases, reported The Wilkes-Barre Sunday Leader—“But it was a great game of football.” The Wilkes-Barre Record added, “In fact the game was replete with brilliant rushes and fine tackles. Several claims of foul tackling were made but it is doubtful if they were intentional.”
At the University of Michigan, a student suffered lumbar damage and a severed earlobe during class scrimmaging that was “lots of fun just the same,” remarked The Detroit Free Press. In Washington, D.C., “Foot ball is really nothing like as dangerous as it looks if the two teams are in training and play the game as it ought to be played,” stated The Evening Star. “If the players are properly trained and know how to tackle and to fall when tackled, the danger is greatly lessened.”
John L. Sullivan was incredulous, iconic Boston pugilist reputedly violent in various settings. “John L.” charged America for seeing double, simultaneously adoring football while scorning prizefighting, his sport banned in most jurisdictions. “The dudes lay each other up playing football, and the women go out and watch ’em pound each other,” Sullivan said after New York police shut down his boxing match. “It ain’t a square deal.”
The Oregonian articulated in the West, editorializing: “There is a great deal of nonsense about ‘physical culture’ and ‘scientific athletics.’ ” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle sneered at football in 1888, as it had for a decade editorially. Football constituted a “preposterous subject,” the paper termed, labeling young players naïve. “In after years when the pains of rheumatism become periodically sensible in disjointed limbs and when crutches lose their novelty, some of these young apostles of muscular Christianity may repent their early enthusiasm.”
Yet player groups and colleges dove into hosting collision football. Students organized teams at large universities in Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Nashville, Atlanta, Athens, New Orleans, Little Rock, Austin, St. Louis, Iowa City, Lawrence, Topeka, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto, and Salem, Ore. A college administration would either adopt a campus club or found the “university eleven” outright, pledging money, facilities and more support.
By end of the 1880s regional football loops were active far beyond the Northeast. Colleges competed against each other under IFA rules in North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana-Illinois, and California. A western football league was gelling among universities in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
A public football mass grew within the sport, funded by taxpayers and students, more welfare sources. The public obviously subsidized teams at state colleges and for “government football” of West Point Academy, Naval Academy, Army and Navy posts, and Native American schools. That fostered dissent among lawmakers, military officers and parents, but public football also moved into high schools and grade schools, shepherded by male principals and teachers, to leech educational resources. High-school loops played collision football in the metro areas of New York City-New Jersey, D.C. and Virginia, Chicago, and San Francisco-Oakland. Football crimped public space and manpower for handling traffic, field security, parades, street celebrations and riots. Police departments were pressed, among entities of municipalities and states.
American football plowed forward in growth and popularity, but trouble overtook college rule-makers once again by 1888. Bloodshed was rising and The Oakland Tribune urged West Coast teams to drop IFA code, resume the Association kicking game. Across country, in Boston, The Courier declared: “The modern game of football is savage, and its brutality far exceeds any claim it may have to be considered ‘scientific.’ ” The New York Sun determined American football was unreasonably dangerous and should be banished from education unless a last-chance “reform” succeeded.
But the fresh IFA experts, led by Walter Camp, were running out of ideas. “Fewer than a dozen young men, all representing elite universities and relatively privileged classes, controlled the game during these crucial early years,” observed cultural historian Michael Oriard, in his 1994 analysis Reading Football: How the Popular Press Created an American Spectacle. “The creators of American football seem to have had power but little control, as they revised the rules again and again.”
The measures of 1888 would stand as milestone, if not for safety success. Rule-makers finally sanctified offensive “blocking” for runners, which had been illicit but commonplace during 12 years of American code. Establishment of a line of scrimmage and elimination of the rugby scrum in 1880 had necessitated blocking in front of ball-carriers, rendering anti-rules obsolete and unenforceable ever since. The second significant change had been championed by Camp, a rule permitting “low tackling,” hitting a ball-carrier from waist down to knees—and ratified “with disastrous unforeseen consequences,” Oriard noted. Now it was easier to take down an elusive runner in open space. Lower tackling “virtually eliminated open-field running, led to increasingly brutal (and boring) mass play, altered the very shape of football players by tilting the advantage overwhelmingly toward sheer bulk, and necessitated the development of padded armor to protect the newly vulnerable players,” Oriard concluded a century later.
Many Americans didn’t view football as problematic in 1888, when 15,000 attended the Yale-Princeton game in New York. Some reporters carped at referee Camp and his umpire for their officiating debacle on Thanksgiving, failing to penalize head-butting between Penn and Wesleyan [see Part I, introduction]. But other scribes made no mention. The Philadelphia Inquirer informed readers that game had been “well played.” The popular press generally trusted the anointed football experts, once again, for so-called reform. The meta-narrative, once again, portrayed football hazards as diminished.
“Many of the rough features have been cast out and the rules have changed, improved and altered [play],” The New York Tribune opined. The Sun added: “Football is a beautiful game. It is a science. Too many people do not appreciate it because they see only the fighting, and the blood and mud-stained warriors. They ought to look on it as the real warfare of college men in times of peace.” The Pittsburgh Press quoted an anonymous player who said new rules meant “more precautions are taken to prevent accidents in football than in baseball.”
Official talking points of safer and beneficial football were galvanizing. Just two components remained to plant in public conscience and opinion: “proper” contact and “protective” equipment. Camp and fellow experts would tend the task.
VI. ‘Proper’ Tackling, ‘Protective’ Equipment Set The Rhetoric of Football Advocacy, 1889 Beyond
American football matured as national entertainment on Thanksgiving Day of 1889, with games staged coast to coast despite a prevailing pelt of rain and snow. Thousands collectively attended games in New York City, Syracuse, Elmira, Newport, Washington, Annapolis, Charlottesville, Richmond, Raleigh, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago, Omaha, Salt Lake and Los Angeles, among locales. Gate numbers ranged from a few hundred to the 25,000 paid in Manhattan for the college championship won by Princeton over Yale—the latter’s first defeat in five seasons. An estimated 5,000 were turned away at the gate, so many claimed vantage spots along bluffs overlooking the Polo Grounds. Telegraphic and telephoned news of the Princeton victory sparked celebrations as far west as Minneapolis, where happy fans wore orange-and-black in the streets and taverns.
Casualty accounts, including cases of severe brain injury and bone fracture, were obscured in voluminous football news of the holiday weekend. A 14-year-old boy died in New Jersey “from the effect of a kick while playing football,” per one sentence placed under “Brief Mention” in a newspaper. As if on cue out West, an opinion-page piece suggested a few must sacrifice for the larger good of glorious football, not to mention Anglo Saxon hegemony. The Los Angeles Herald editorialized:
Those were great “rushes made on the football fields [Thanksgiving]. … Some over-sensitive mammas will no doubt lie awake and bewail the disjecta membra of their boys, and these same mammas will suffer more from headache than the boys will from bruises. … It is much to be lamented that one or two of the brave fellows who made these “rushes” should perhaps be maimed or lamed for life. … There must be more or less vicarious suffering in the world, and the individual must take hard knocks in order that the race may work out its manifest destiny.
No one knew casualty rate in American football, whether small or substantial. But injury incidents spiked in newspaper coverage after the rule changes of 1888, for the content sampling of this investigator in 2016.
Regardless, the usual suspects, individuals mostly unidentified, were basically blamed for football carnage in 1889. “Football is a healthful and entertaining sport if properly conducted,” opined The Lawrence Daily Journal after Thanksgiving in the Midwest. “ The reports from all sections, of broken arms and limbs, and of scenes of ruffianism that would do discredit to a prize fight are due to the participation of ruffians in the sport.”
Later, the historian Oriard , former Notre Dame and NFL player, argued that football’s popularity actually relied on risks and casualties to have captivated generations of Americans. “Football becomes contact ballet,” Oriard proposed of its thrilling athleticism in face of annihilation, writing for The New York Times. “Injuries are not aberrations in football, or even a regrettable byproduct. They are essential to the game.” Reform to dramatically curtail injuries was impossible from the beginning of American football, Oriard argued. “I cannot imagine that happening without a profound change in the entire culture. Rule makers are very conscious of what fans want.”
It’s logical to assume Walter Camp, 30, fully grasped injury factor and prevention obstacles for contact football in 1889—particularly regarding brain trauma and potential damage—for his résumé as player, coach, referee, rule-maker, football writer, consultant, and, by this time, a med-school dropout. Regarding TBI, Camp must have grasped tackle football’s dilemma and potential consequences both legal and ethical. Camp surely knew neural specialists had diagnosed “concussion of the brain” for decades, of varying severity—and, presumably, he was intelligent enough to know clinical evidence strongly indicated brain trauma could lead to permanent disorder. Brain disease of head blows had been publicized in criminal trials since the early century, proposed by defendants and doctors, with the term “traumatic insanity” becoming standard in the 1880s. In 1888 New York neurologists examined boxers for “swollen ear” indicator of brain disorder, with jarred-up football players mentioned as ripe for study. Camp had witnessed countless TBI cases on football fields since his playing days, and in Yale’s vicious intramural boxing he helped stage. But he didn’t publicly discuss TBI in context of football, implying to the public that little or no danger existed for players.
Camp likewise ignored head-butting of Yale and all teams, apparently long as he could. American football’s rampant head-ramming had always been classified illegal, a conflict culminating with Camp and fellow referees catching heat for hardly citing the butting violation. Camp’s IFA committee quietly edited code in 1889, removing the term “butting” from IFA rules thereafter. [Not until 1976 would unenforceable anti-butting rules reappear in football, promoted along with “heads up” contact by officials of the NCAA and National Federation of State High School Associations.]
Action beyond scrubbing language was needed in 1889, nevertheless, because head tackles were known lethal, including for killing a former Yale player at the University of California. So American football coaches emphasized “low tackling,” striking with a shoulder and eyes up, head out of harm’s way—seed theory for “head up” teaching and campaigns to begin in next decade. The technique produced dubious results that season, since real-time hitting often required ramming or leveraging with the head and neck. Butting was imperative in the head-on contact of scrimmage line, for instance, but football officials insisted headless forward-colliding could be taught.
Camp and even his wife, Alice, preached “low tackling” to Yale players, who were long reputed as the worst for butting. Yale captain A.A. Stagg, famed Muscular Christian and YMCA leader, commonly rammed foes, bleeding from the nose himself in multiple games, per news accounts. But he rigged a dummy bag for teaching proper technique in November 1889, suspending a mattress for team tackling practice.
Harvard captain Arthur Cumnock had his own “dummy rusher,” meanwhile, for tackling drill. Cumnock tried a tree log then suspended a heavy bag to strike low with a shoulder while keeping head aside. “A stripe is painted around the bag, and if the player embraces the dummy above this stripe he makes a foul tackle,” reported The New York Times.
The enterprising Cumnock also designed so-called protective equipment that evolved toward introduction of leather helmets within a few years. In 1889 Cumnock constructed a wire cage to cover a teammate’s broken nose at Harvard, where baseball players previously assembled a metal catcher’s mask to complement rubber teeth guards. But football officials forbade metal armor so Harvard’s captain produced “the improved Cumnock nose mask” made of rubber, also touted to protect teeth. Cumnock’s innovation charged the field of football headgear, hurling technology forward with validity or not.
Head-injured Yale players already wore caps in hope of protection, and a New York Sun columnist joked football “head-gear” should be engineered to withstand 300 pounds of pressure. It was unclear whether the scribe seriously had in mind football’s ever-increasing player sizes, but large combatants were becoming common, topped by 300-pound behemoths at Dartmouth and Yale.
In retrospect, further signals of 1889 pointed to deep cracks in American football, complex issues to persist and long ring familiar. The blood sport drew followers from every vital institution; government was populated with fan politicians. Sons of President Garfield played college football along with those of powerful lawmakers, federal and state. Rising politician Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt—noted Harvard alumnus, football fan and Muscular Christian—was appointed to committee by the Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Wesleyan professor Woodrow Wilson volunteered to coach football, and someday he’d follow Roosevelt as grid-fan president in the White House. Macho football also counted loyalists throughout medicine, religion and the print press, along with foundation support of education.
College teams placed bounties on opposing players in 1889, targeting talented foes for injury and removal. Football players purchased insurance coverage for “accident” and death through the international carrier underwriting English rugby. A Chicago high-school team performed the “V trick” wedge to flatten opponents and excite fans, modeling “mass formation” of college heroes. Prep academies advertised tackle football and cultivated publicity as recruiting hotbeds, celebrating their students who reached college stardom. And many Princeton students skipped days of class after their team’s championship won in New York, partying their way back to campus.
There was talk of a premier Big Three league, Yale, Harvard and Princeton exclusively, sans the clinging batch of colleges struggling to resource football programs. Teams talked of securing trainers and sideline doctors, and players assured the public proper falling was scientific and safe. Trainers and doctors of employment promised medical checkups, and players were blamed for injury or malady. A team surgeon earned $10 an hour, double to quadruple the pay of university president. Colleges provided “training table” menu and housing to football players. Football facilities rose in construction privately endowed or not. Football’s amateurism ideal was exposed as farcical on campuses, including prestigious universities. Madison Square Garden hosted indoor football featuring college teams. And The Sun reported a professional “national football league” was conceptualized by A.G. Spalding, business associate of Camp.
Again, little concern was publicly expressed, American response to last when it came to football issues. The talking points of safer play and muscular morality sufficed for society, if not real results, and the parroted rhetoric would fly through controversy and “reform” to span centuries. Football closed 1889 with a flurry of positive publicity, depicting problems as basically gone then.
“Football has come to stay,” journalist Edward B. Phelps surmised. Phelps, Yale grad and future founder of American Underwriter journal, ranked football “American Next” as bedrock tradition. “The crowds of these games are getting bigger every year and there can be no question about the immediate future of the game.”
The Vermont Watchman opined: “Foot-ball is becoming more and more popular in the schools and colleges… It has won this recognition very largely through the efforts of men like Walter Camp of Yale to free it of the objectionable ‘slugging’ feature.”
And The New York Times: “So much has football been improved during the last dozen years that it is likely to hold its popularity. … This year’s amendments in the rules have also been in the direction of diminishing disputes on the field and increasing penalties for unfair conduct.”
The Pittsburgh Daily Post urged citizens and groups to fortify football in this capital of industry. “The organization of a city league of foot-ball teams will be a good thing for the game in Pittsburgh,” the paper editorialized at Christmas 1889. “Football will ever be popular, and its popularity will be added to by a league which has a regular schedule of games. There is plenty of talent in the city for such an organization, and it should be pushed to success.”
In September 1890, Walter Camp and A.G. Spalding Bros. released their new IFA rulebook. Editor Camp summarized his rule committee’s work as “years of careful and well-considered legislation… of captains and delegates from each college through a dozen years.” Camp cited “professionalism” as prime nemesis of college football and swiped at press critics for “ignorance.” Fortunately, he added, “adverse criticism [has] decreased until it has now almost disappeared.” Camp lauded American football’s rapid expansion through the education domain, where “nearly every school and college has a team.”
Editor Camp mentioned neither injuries in his rulebook introduction nor the apparently insolvable butting blows to head and neck. Instead he maintained that intelligent Americans knew football benefits outweighed the risks. “No game has shown such a remarkable vitality in the face of all opposition,” Camp remarked. “It has steadily increased the number of its supporters, and it has no deserters. Every convert becomes an eager advocate of its merits.”
This article is in memory of Li’l Girl, my loyal friend in writing and family life for 15 years. Our beloved herder dog helped this project from research to post. She saw it to the end. Peace, Girl.
The author stocks additional information in histories, medical literature and news texts, among media, for this analysis. Also see ChaneysBlog news lines on Heads Up theory and football brain disease.
A Battle. (1886, Nov. 3). A battle of the kickers. New York Sun, p.7.
A Chicago Boy Hurt. (1885, Nov. 18). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.
A Classic Cane Rush. (1886, Nov. 21). Saint Paul Globe, p.10
A College. (1876, Nov. 24). A college foot-ball association. New York Times, p.2.
A Coming Sport. (1889, Dec. 1). Pittsburgh Dispatch, p.6.
A Damper On Football. (1886, March 20). Oakland Tribune, p.2
A Fatal. (1878, April 5). A fatal foot-ball match. New York Times, p.3.
A Father [LTE]. (1875, March 25). Football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.7.
A Feast For Kings. (1889, April 8). New York Evening World, p.1
A Foot Ball League. (1889, Dec. 21). A foot ball league for next season. Pittsburgh Daily Post, p.6.
A Foot-Ball Match. (1876, Dec. 1). A foot-ball match on the Athletic Grounds. New York Times, p.8.
A Football Accident. (1886, Oct. 25). Freeport Journal Standard IL, p.1
A Football Player [LTE]. (1875, March 25). Football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.7.
A French View. (1888, Sept. 14). A French view of foot ball. Hutchinson News KS, p.3.
A Game Of Football. (1889, Nov. 15). Sterling Daily Gazette IL, p.1.
A Game of Foot Ball. (1887, Nov. 22). Omaha Daily Bee, p.8
A Good Game. (1884, Nov. 25). New York Times, p.5.
A Great Game. (1889, Oct. 21). Wilkes-Barre Record PA, p.4.
A Great Game of Football. (1889, Oct. 20). Wilkes-Barre Sunday Leader PA, p.4.
A Gymnasium. (1880, Jan. 18). A gymnasium needed at Ann Arbor, Detroit Free Press, p.13.
A Harvard Student. (1885, Nov. 12). A Harvard student fatally injured. Lebanon Daily News PA, p.1.
A Huge Joke. (1887, Dec. 9). Harrisburg Telegraph [PA], p.2
A Lady Admirer. (1889, Nov. 9). A lady admirer of high kicking. Wilkes-Barre Evening News PA, p.4.
A Novel Advice. (1889, Nov. 10). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.14.
A Plea. (1860, Dec. 1). A plea for amusement and physical culture. Honolulu Polynesian, Hawaiian Islands, p.4.
A Plea. (1888, Feb. 22). A plea for the survival of the old Association rules. Oakland Tribune, p.7.
A Popular. (1888, Nov. 16). A popular out-door game. Washington Critic DC, p.2
A Pugilist’s Objection. (1887, Jan. 3). Frederick News MD, p.5.
A Recent Report. (1879, April 19). A recent report of the New York Board of Health. Raleigh News [NC], p.2.
A Rugby Boy [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 26). Rugby football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.6.
A Sharp Correspondence [LTE]. (1870, Dec. 22). [No headline or byline] A sharp correspondence has been going on in the London papers…. Leavenworth Times [KS], p.3.
A Sound Conclusion. (1888, May 12). Morning Oregonian, p.4.
A Surgeon [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 26). Rugby football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.6.
A Vermont Man. (1881, Dec. 3). [No headline or byline] A Vermont man dropped dead…. Winnsboro News and Herald [SC], p.2.
A Victim Of Football. (1885, Nov. 7). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.12.
A Victim To Football. (1886, Nov. 2). New York Times, p.1.
Affairs. (1888, Jan. 30). Affairs at Harvard College, New York Tribune, p.5.
Afraid. (1887, Dec. 12). Afraid of the rules. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.8.
Alexandria News. (1887, Nov. 30). Washington Critic DC, p.1.
All Sorts. (1879, Jan. 25). Parsons Weekly Sun KS, p.7.
Amateur Football. (1886, Sept. 30). Oakland Tribune, p.3.
Amherst Plays A Tie. (1891, Oct. 8). New York Sun, p.4.
Among The Colleges. (1889, Dec. 15). Philadelphia Times, p.8.
An Active Football Season. (1886, Sept. 6). New York Times, p.5.
An Eye-Witness [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 26). Rugby football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.6.
An Old Rugbeian [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 30). Rugby football: To the editor of The Times. London Times, England, p.8.
Annual Foot Ball Game. (1887, Oct. 17). Burlington Free Press VT, p.1.
Annual Picnic. (1879, May 13). Arkansas Democrat, p.4.
Arivaca Atoms. (1880, March 2). Tucson Daily Star, p.2.
Athletes Were The Lions. (1888, Feb. 22). New York Times, p.5.
Athletic Follies. (1884, March 20). St. Johnsbury Caledonia VT, p.1.
Athletic Sports At Yale. (1886, Oct. 3). New York Times, p.3.
Athletics. (1884, March 11). Athletics under a cloud. New York Tribune, p.1.
Athletics At Harvard. (1884, March 4). New York Times, p.2.
Athletics At Harvard. (1885, Feb. 25). Philadelphia Times, p.1.
Athletics At Princeton. (1886, Oct. 27). New York Times, p.7.
Atkins, J. (1893, Dec. 20). Aurelius, or Commodus. Raleigh Christian Advocate NC, p.3
Beaten By Lehigh. (1886, Nov. 19). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.2.
Because He Suffered. (1888, Feb. 17). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.5.
Beecher Keeps His Word. (1887, Nov. 11). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.16.
Behind The Age. (1883, March 15). New York Times, p.8.
Berkeley Items. (1881, Oct. 3). Oakland Tribune, p.3.
Big Ears Of Crazy Men. (1888, Oct. 25). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.7.
Big Kicking. (1888, Nov. 4). Big kicking by college boys. New York Tribune, p.5.
Blake, M.E. (1889, Dec. 18). A friendly word for foot ball. Boston Weekly Globe, p.4.
Boston’s Big Man. (1887, Nov. 19). Boston’s big man a feather weight. New York Evening World, p.4.
Brevities. (1879, Feb. 15). Nevada State Journal, p.3.
Brief News Items. (1883, Dec. 6). Richmond Dispatch, p.3.
Brief Locals. (1881, Nov. 24). Baltimore Sun, p.4.
Briefs. (1878, March 16). Hutchinson Herald KS, p.1.
Brown Alumni Dinner. (1884, March 15). New York Tribune, p.5.
Brutality In Sport. (1884, Dec. 2). Burlington Free Press VT, p.2.
Burning. (1889, Nov. 29). [No headline or byline] Burning the midnight oil… . Los Angeles Herald, p.2.
Busch’s Former Partner. (1888, April 25). Busch’s former partner at dancing. Chicago Daily Tribune, p.5.
Camp, W. [Ed.] (1890, June 2). Foot-Ball Rules and Referee’s Book, American Intercollegiate Association. A.G. Spalding & Bros.: Chicago, New York, Philadelphia.
Camp, W. (1891, Oct. 10). The best way to win. Indianapolis News, p.11.
Camp, W.C. [LTE]. (1884, Feb. 27). The new rules for college sports. New York Tribune, p.5.
Cambridge. (1875, Nov. 13). Boston Post, p.3
Canada. (1875, Oct. 24). New Orleans Times Picayune, p.12.
Carlisle Herald. (1886, Oct. 26). Harrisburg Telegraph PA, p.1.
Cause Of. (1860, Dec. 1). Cause of the Harvard College Trouble. Cincinnati Daily Press, p.1.
Chaney, M. (2009). Spiral of denial: Muscle doping in American football. Four Walls Publishing: Warrensburg MO.
Chaney, M. (2014, Oct. 3). King Football infests institutions, misleads public. ChaneysBlog.com.
Chaney, M. (2014, Oct. 24). Cardiac death foils medical tracking in football, all sports. ChaneysBlog.com.
Chaney, M. (2015, Jan. 20). Experts: Football death reports aren’t valid epidemiology. ChaneysBlog.com.
Chaney, M. (2015, Feb. 28). NFL deaths reflect inept care and record-keeping. ChaneysBlog.com.
Chaney, M. (2015, July 28). The 1890s: Brain risks confirmed in American football. ChaneysBlog.com.
Chaney, M. (2016, Jan. 30). 1900-1912: ‘First Concussion Crisis’ for beloved football. ChaneysBlog.com.
Chaney, M. (2016, April 11). News line: ‘Heads Up’ football and policy, 1883-1936. ChaneysBlog.com.
Chaney, M. (2016, May 11). ‘Heads Up’ theory, football helmets and brain disease, 1883-1962. ChaneysBlog.com.
Chaney, M. (2016, May 31). Teddy Roosevelt loved football, except when it brutalized his son. Sports.Vice.com.
Chaney, M. (2016, Nov. 29, 2016). “Slaughter of the innocents”: When D.C. considered banning high school football. Sports.Vice.com.
Changes. (1888, May 21). Changes in the college football rules. New York Tribune, p.5.
Chapel Hill, N.C. (1880, Nov. 20). Orange County Observer NC, p.3.
Checker-Board Foot-Ball. (1889, Dec. 15). Louisville Courier-Journal, p.20.
City And District. (1887, Nov. 26). Washington Evening Star, p.8.
City And District. (1889, Dec. 4). Washington Evening Star, p.8.
City And Suburban. (1886, Nov. 2). City and suburban news. New York Times, p.8.
City Items. (1881, Dec. 7). Topeka Daily Capital KS, p.8.
Cis-Atlantic Matters. (1882, Nov. 10). Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, p. 2.
Club Against College. (1887, Nov. 23). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.5.
Clubbe, C.J.B. (1883, Jan. 13) Fatalities from football. British Medical Journal, 83 (1), p.1150.
Collegians At Football. (1879, Nov. 2). New York Sun, p.6.
Collegiate. (1889, Jan. 20). Atlanta Constitution, p.19.
Collegiate Foot-Ball. (1877, Nov. 9). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.3.
College Athletics. (1887, April 14). Baltimore Sun, p.6.
College Athletics. (1888, Dec. 23). New York Sun, p.12.
College Athletics. (1894, Feb. 27). Durham Globe NC, p.1.
College Athletics Sports. (1882, Nov. 4). New York Times, p.4.
College Baseball Prospects. (1883, Dec. 31). New York Tribune, p.3.
College Chit-Chat. (1886, Dec. 25). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.
College Christians. (1888, Nov. 25). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.8.
College Clubs. (1884, March 4). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.8.
College Diversions. (1881, March 22). New York Times, p.4.
College Foot-Ball. (1882, Nov. 26). New York Times, p.9.
College Foot-Ball. (1883, Nov. 23). New York Times, p.5.
College Foot-Ball. (1883, Nov. 24). New York Times, p.1.
College Foot-Ball. (1888, Dec. 1). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.
College Football Games. (1882, Nov. 26). New York Tribune, p.2.
College Football. (1886, Nov. 27). Hazleton Sentinel PA, p.1.
College Kickers. (1888, Nov. 4). Wilkes-Barre Leader PA, p.6.
College Life—No. 4. (1874, June 19). St. Johnsbury Caledonian VT, p.2
College Notes. (1881, Nov. 17). Burlington Free Press VT, p.3
College Notes. (1886, Jan. 11). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.2.
College Rows. (1880, Dec. 18). Philadelphia Times, p.2.
College Ruffianism. (1887, Oct. 5). New York Tribune, p.4.
College Sports. (1884, March 17). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.1.
Columbia Athletes. (1889, Dec. 20). New York Times, p.9.
Columbia Men. (1882, Nov. 26). Columbia men lost at Princeton. New York Tribune, p.2.
Cornell College Notes. (1886, April 30). Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette IA, p.4.
Cost Of College. (1885, Aug. 6). Cost of college athletics. Osage City Free Press KS, p.6.
Crimes And Casualties. (1877, Sept. 3). Burlington Free Press VT, p.3.
Crowell, J. F. (1888, Nov. 27). The American game of foot-ball. Raleigh News and Observer, p.1.
Crowell, J.F. (1887, Dec. 21). President Crowell’s annual report. Raleigh Christian Advocate NC, pp.4,6.
Crowell, J.F. (1939). Personal recollections of Trinity College, North Carolina, 1887-1894. Duke University Press: Durham, NC.
Current Events. (1874, June 4). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.
Current Events. (1885, Nov. 17). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.
Dangerous Athletics. (1883, Dec. 5). Des Moines Register, p.1.
Davis, P.H. (1911). Football: The American intercollegiate game. Charles Scribner’s Sons: New York.
Death. (1884, June 6). Death of a college athlete. Indianapolis News, p.4.
District Brevities. (1882, Nov. 27). Washington National Republican DC, p.4.
Dr. Dudley A. Sargent. (1884, Oct. 5). [No headline or byline] Dr. Dudley A. Sargent of the Harvard gymnasium says… . Chicago Daily Tribune, p.4.
Dr. M’Cosh. (1883, June 21). Dr. M’Cosh remains president. New York Sun, p.3.
Dr. Sargent. (1889, Dec. 1). Dr. Sargent on physical culture. New York Tribune, p.4.
Durham, S.J. [LTE]. (1888, Nov. 1). Foot ball. Raleigh News & Observer, p.4.
Educating. (1888, Dec. 1). Educating the body. New York Times, p.5.
Educational. (1880, Nov. 13). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.11.
Educational Notes. (1886, June 10). Winston-Salem Western Sentinel, p.7.
Educational Notes. (1886,Oct. 16) Salem Statesman Journal OR, p.1.
English Journals. (1881, Jan. 6). [No headline or byline] English journals are paying great attention… . New York Times, p.4
Fair Play [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 30). Rugby football. London Times, p.8.
Fatal Accident. (1879, Oct. 3). Bloomington Pantagraph IL, p.4.
Fatal Football. (1883, May 2). Detroit Free Press, p.4.
Feeling At Yale. (1886, Dec. 17). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.8.
Fine Foot-Ball. (1884, Oct. 30). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.8.
Fined. (1859, Feb. 10). Louisville Daily Courier, p.1.
Foot Ball. (1870, Oct. 6). Burlington Free Press VT, p.3.
Foot Ball. (1872, Nov. 18). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.
Foot Ball. (1877, Nov. 28). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.
Foot Ball. (1877, Dec. 16). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.
Foot Ball. (1878, Feb. 16). Statesville American NC, p.1.
Foot Ball. (1878, Dec. 2). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.3.
Foot Ball. (1879, May 31). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.5.
Foot Ball. (1879, Nov. 23). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.
Foot Ball. (1880, May 12). Salt Lake City Herald, p.4.
Foot Ball. (1880, Oct. 14). Omaha Daily Bee NE, p.4.
Foot Ball. (1880, Nov. 27).Wilkes-Barre Record PA, p.1.
Foot Ball. (1881, Oct. 30). Detroit Free Press, p.3.
Foot Ball. (1881, Dec. 12). Delaware County Times PA, p.3.
Foot Ball. (1883, Dec. 2). Football ball has descended to prize fighting. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.
Foot Ball. (1884, Nov. 7). Pittsburgh Post Gazette, p.8.
Foot Ball. (1884, Dec. 7). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.
Foot Ball. (1885, Oct. 12). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.
Foot Ball. (1886, Dec. 5). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.1.
Foot Ball. (1887, De. 25). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.6.
Foot-Ball. (1864, Feb. 12). Cleveland Daily Leader, p.2
Foot-Ball. (1872, Nov. 17). Foot-ball: The inter-university match between Yale and Columbia. New York Times, p.1.
Foot-Ball. (1875, Nov. 16). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.2.
Foot-Ball. (1875, Nov. 21). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.12.
Foot-ball. (1876, Oct. 3). Louisville Courier-Journal, p.1.
Foot-Ball. (1877, De. 23). Boston Daily Globe, p.8.
Foot-Ball. (1882, Oct. 28). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.4.
Foot-Ball. (1885, Nov. 29). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.11.
Foot-Ball (1886, June 20). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.5.
Foot-Ball. (1889, March 10). Los Angeles Times, p.7.
Foot-Ball. (1889, Nov. 6). [No headline or byline] Foot-ball is becoming more and more popular… . Vermont Watchman, p.4.
Foot-Ball. (1889, Nov. 28). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.2.
Foot-Ball. (1889, Nov. 28). Los Angeles Times, p.7.
Foot-Ball. (1889, Nov. 29). Richmond Times VA, p.4.
Foot Ball Club. (1883, Oct. 30). San Antonio Light TX, p.3.
Foot Ball Coming. (1888, Oct. 28). Foot ball coming to the front. Raleigh News & Observer, p.4.
Foot Ball Is A Game. (1887, Nov. 21). [No headline or byline] Foot ball is a game that affords… . Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.
Foot Ball Rules. (1882, Nov. 9). New York Sun, p.4.
Foot Ball Teams. (1889, March 21). Scotland Neck Commonwealth NC, p.2.
Foot-Ball At Cambridge. (1883, Oct. 14). New York Times, p.9.
Foot-Ball At Hoboken. (1879, Sept. 13). New York Times, p.8.
Foot-Ball At Princeton. (1884, Dec. 26). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.6.
Foot-Ball At Yale. (1872, Nov.28). New York Times, p.2.
Foot-Ball Club Organized. (1885, Nov. 15). Nashville Tennessean, p.1.
Foot-Ball Contests. (1887, Nov. 20). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.11.
Foot-Ball Etiquette. (1888, Nov. 30). New York Sun, p.6.
Foot-Ball Fighting. (1881, Nov. 21). New York Times, p.4.
Foot-Ball Is Hot Work. (1889, Nov. 19). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.8.
Foot-Ball Match. (1869, Nov. 18). Foot-ball match—Germantown Cricket Club vs. young America Cricket Club. Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.
Foot-Ball Match. (1869, Nov. 20). Foot-ball match between the Young America and Germantown cricket clubs. Philadelphia Inquirer, p.2.
Foot-Ball Well Started. (1887, Oct. 9). Philadelphia Times, p.2.
Football. (1882, Oct. 30). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.
Football. (1884, Nov. 29). Football is great fun. New York Sun, p.1.
Football. (1884, Nov. 15). San Francisco Chronicle, p.6.
Football. (1886, Jan. 7). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.8.
Football. (1888, March 26). San Francisco Chronicle, p.5.
Football. (1888, Sept. 4). New York Sun, p.5.
Football At Evanston. (1889, Nov. 14). Chicago Tribune, p.3.
Football At Harvard. (1885, Nov. 29). New York Times, p.10.
Football At Hoboken. (1882, Nov.12). New York Tribune, p.2.
Football At Lake View. (1889, Oct. 4). Chicago Tribune, p.3.
Football At Notre Dame. (1888, Dec. 7). Chicago Tribune, p.3.
Football Catching On. (1889, Dec. 10). Chicago Tribune, p.7.
Football Has The Call. (1889, Nov. 4). New York Evening World, p.3.
Football Here And There. (1889, Nov. 29). Pittston Evening Gazette PA, p.1.
Football In A Blizzard. (1889, Nov. 29). Indianapolis News, p.1.
Football Is Scientific. (1888, Dec. 23). New York Sun, p.11.
Football Justified. (1890, Dec. 28). Salt Lake Tribune, p.8.
Football News. (1887, Nov. 16). New York Sun, p.5.
Football Notes. (1889, Nov. 16). New York Sun, p.4.
Football Notes. (1889, Nov. 21). New York Sun, p.4.
Football Players. (1892, Nov. 27). New Orleans Times-Picayune, p.17.
Football Rules Changed. (1888,May 7). New York Times, p.1.
Foushee, H.A. (1889, March 22). One of the boys defends the scientific game. Raleigh Weekly State Chronicle NC, p.2.
From Head To Foot. (1883, Nov. 25). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.12.
From Mechanicsburg. (1877, Aug. 17). Harrisburg Telegraph PA, p.1.
From The Athletic Field. (1889, Oct. 29). Wilmington News Journal DE, p.1.
From The State Capital. (1883, Nov. 29). Baltimore Sun, p.4.
Fun, Fun! (1861, Oct. 31). Pittston Gazette PA, p.2
General News Items. (1888, Oct. 300. The Progressive Farmer NC, p.3.
General Sports. (1880, Nov. 15). Boston Globe, p.2.
General Sports. (1888, Nov. 18). Philadelphia Times, p.6.
Giles College Items. (1880, Oct. 28). Pulaski Citizen TN, p.3.
Gleanings. (1889, Nov. 24). Gleanings from the colleges. Philadelphia Times, p.7.
Good Points Of Foot Ball. (1888, Dec. 12). Pittsburgh Press, p.7.
Got $480. (1888, Dec. 5). Got $480 for seeing the football game. New York Sun, p.6.
Gov. Fowle. (1889, Feb. 15). Raleigh News & Observer, p.1.
Guarding The Young. (1887, May 17). Vicksburg Evening Post MS, p.2.
H.A. Garfield. (1883, Nov. 10). [No headline or byline] H.A. Garfield, the president’s son… . Leavenworth Times KS, p.2.
Harvard Athletes. (1886, Oct. 27). New York Times, p.1.
Harvard Beaten By Yale. (1886, Nov. 21). New York Times, p.9.
Harvard College. (1879, Sept. 5). Chicago Tribune, p.9.
Harvard Gymnasium. (1887, May 26). Hillsboro News-Herald OH, p.5.
Harvard Notes. (1881, Oct. 1). Boston Post, p.4.
Harvard Students Rejoice. (1886, Jan. 7). New York Times, p.1.
Harvard University. (1888, April 29). [No headline or byline] Harvard University has been thrown into a state of consternation. New York Sun, p.16.
Harvard Will Play Foot-Ball. (1886, Jan. 7). Chicago Daily Tribune, p.5.
Harvard Will Play Football. (1885, Oct. 8). New York Times, p.5.
Harvard Wins A Game. (1886, Nov. 26). New York Times, p.5.
Harvard Working Hours. (1879, Sept. 30). New York Times, p.5.
Harvard-Yale Football. (1888, Nov. 15). New York Times, p.1.
Harvard’s Athletic Contests. (1879, March 23). New York Times, p.1.
Harvard’s Coming Team. (1886, Sept. 19). New York Times, p.3.
Harvard’s Football Team. (1887, Oct. 27). New York Sun, p.5.
Harvard’s Hurrah. (1887, Nov. 13). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.1.
Harvard’s New Fall Term. (1886, Oct. 10. New York Times, p.14.
Harvard’s New Year. (1885, Oct. 2). New York Times, p.2.
Haskell Institute. (1887, Nov. 10). Haskell Institute items. Lawrence Daily Journal KS, p.3.
High Kickers. (1887, Dec. 11). Topeka Daily Capital KS, p.1.
Hopkins Academy. (1885, May 15). Hopkins Academy against the high school. Oakland Tribune, p.3.
How To Get Strong. (1879, June 26). Wyandott Herald KS, p.4.
Hurt At Football. (1886, March 12). San Francisco Chronicle, p.3.
Improving. (1887, Oct. 14). Improving a popular game. Des Moines Register, p.4.
In And Outdoor Sports. (1889, Dec. 30). New York Sun, p.6.
In Favor. (1887, Nov. 12). New York Evening World, p.1.
In The Domain Of Sports. (1886, Dec. 18). Chicago Tribune, p. 6.
Infantile Sports. (1841, May 25). New Orleans Picayune, p.2.
Injured. (1887, O)ct. 5). Injured in a cane rush. Pittston Evening Gazette PA, p. 1.
Inter Collegiate Foot-Ball. (1885, Nov. 1). Philadelphia Times, p.2.
Inter-Collegiate Foot-Ball. (1887, March 27). Philadelphia Times, p.2.
Intercollegiate Athletics. (1884, Sept. 5). New York Tribune, p.4.
Intercollegiate Football. (1885, Oct. 11). New York Sun, p.7.
Intercollegiate Football. (1887, Oct. 28). New York Times, p.2.
Interest In Foot-Ball. (1889, Nov. 30). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.4.
It Is Football Season. (1889, Sept. 9). New York Evening World, p.3.
It Is Insisted. (1888, Dec. 8). [No headline or byline] It is insisted in the East… . Saint Paul Globe, p.4.
It Is To Be Noted. (1877, Nov. 22). Philadelphia Times, p.2.
J. [LTE]. (1884, Dec. 1). Letters to the editor. New York Times, p.2.
James H. Campbell. (1887, April 18). [Advertisement] James H. Campbell Insurance. York Daily PA, p.2.
Jenkins, D. [LTE]. (1883, Dec. 11). Mailbox: Putting injuries in their place. New York Times, p.S2.
Johnston, A. (1887, October). The American Game of Football. The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 34 (6), pp.888-899.
Kicking As A Science. (1886, Oct. 11). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.
Kicking Collegians. (1886, Nov. 7). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.19.
Kicking The Leather Egg. (1879, Nov. 28). New York Times, p.8.
Lake Forest Wins. (1889, Dec. 15). Lake Forest wins at foot-ball. Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.
Last Of The Series. (1889, March 31). Wilmington Messenger NC, p.1.
Lawrence Letter. (1882, Oct. 12). Burlington Republican KS, p.1.
Lehigh Vs. Naval. (1889, Nov. 29). Lehigh vs. Naval Academy, Baltimore Sun, p.6.
Life At Fort Reno. (1885, Aug. 15). Lehighton Carbon Advocate PA, p.4.
Life At Princeton. (1878, April 6). New York Tribune, p.5.
Lively Rush At Yale. (1886, Sept. 26). New York Sun, p.9.
Local & General. (1883, March 27). Local & general items. Honolulu Evening Bulletin, Hawaiian Islands, p.2.
Local & General. (1883, May 23). Local & general items. Honolulu Evening Bulletin, Hawaiian Islands, p.2.
Local Brevities. (1881, June 4). Arkansas Democrat, p.1.
Local Brevities. (1888, Oct. 17). Arkansas Democrat, p.4.
Local Matters. (1889, March 13). Raleigh Christian Advocate NC, p.3.
Local News. (1878, Jan. 29). Idaho Semi-Weekly World, p.3.
Local Notes. (1888, Oct. 14). Palmyra Spectator MO, p.3.
Lots Of Fun Just The Same. (1886, Nov. 8). Detroit Free Press, p.2.
Lewis, G.M. (1965). The American intercollegiate football spectacle, 1869-1917. University of Maryland: College Park.
Mail Items. (1864, Sept. 14). Cleveland Daily Leader, p.1.
Manly Sports. (1889, March 14). Pittsboro Chatham Record NC, p.2.
Matters At Michigan. (1876, Dec. 10). Matters at Michigan University. Detroit Free Press, p.1.
McGehee, L. (1989, Aug. 15). Wofford and Furman made football history. Spartanburg Herald-Journal SC, p.5.
Medford. (1875, Oct. 28). Boston Post, p.3.
Men Of Mark. (1885, Oct. 17). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.4.
Men Of Muscle. (1889, Dec. 25). Los Angeles Times, p.7.
Miscellaneous. (1886, Dec. 26). Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, p.2.
Miscellany (1833, April 17). Salem People’s Press NC, p.1.
More Disgraceful Foot-Ball. (1887, Nov. 27). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.6.
Mr. Crimmins. (1883, oct. 220. Mr. Crimmins and the fathers help the Xavier Sodality kick football. New York Sun, p.3.
Mr. DePew. (1887, Feb. 26). Mr. Depew on Governor Hill. New York Tribune, p.4.
Mr. DePew. (1887, Oct. 31). Mr. Depew as missionary, New York Times, p.5.
Muscular Christianity. (1887, Nov. 1). Indianapolis News, p.2.
Muscular Education At Harvard. (1884, Oct. 7). Wilmington Morning News DE, p.4.
Muscular Morality. (1878, June 29). Philadelphia Times, p.2.
Nashville, Tenn. (1885, Nov. 27). Memphis Daily Appeal, p.1.
N.C. Conference. (1893, Dec. 12). Wilmington Morning Star NC, p.1.
Neighborhood Graphics. (1882, July 7). Kirksville Weekly Graphic MO, p.1.
Neither Side Satisfied. (1884, Nov. 29). New York Times, p.2.
New Haven, Conn. (1886, Nov. 11). New York Times, p.5.
New Jersey. (1869, Nov. 9). New York Times, p.8.
New Way of Stating It. (1885, Dec. 26). Topeka Daily Capital KS, p.6.
News From The State Capital. (1889, March 11). Durham Tobacco Plant NC, p.4.
Nicholson, D.B. (1889, March 14). Pittsboro Chatham Record NC, p.2.
No More. (1883, Nov. 23). No more football at Harvard. New York Tribune, p.1.
Normal. (1881, April 15). Bloomington Pantagraph IL, p.3.
Normal Notes. (1883, Feb. 23). Kirksville Weekly Graphic MO, p.3.
Not Caused By Football. (1885, Nov. 12). Lebanon Daily News PA, p.1.
Not Over-Study. (1886, Jan. 3). Not over-study after all. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, p.1.
Notes From Yale. (1879, Nov. 4). New York Tribune, p.10.
Nothing To Nothing. (1878, Nov. 16). Philadelphia Times, p.1.
Now For The Fray. (1889, Nov. 28). New York Evening World, p.1.
Observer [LTE]. (1860, Nov. 2). The foot-ball nuisance. St. Johnsbury Caledonian VT, p.2.
Ohio Championship. (1889, Nov. 29). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.2.
On Defensive Play. (1891, Nov. 29). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.12.
On The Football Field. (1889, Nov. 4). New York Sun, p.4.
Orange And Black Wins. (1888, Nov. 18). New York Times, p.3.
Organizing. (1880, Nov. 20). Organizing a foot ball club. Colorado Springs Weekly Gazette, p.5.
Oriard, M. (1883, Nov. 20). Why football injuries remain a part of the game. New York Times, p. S2.
Oriard, M. (1883, Dec. 11). In Jenkins, D. [LTE]. Mailbox: Putting injuries in their place. New York Times, p.S2.
Oriard, M. (1994). Reading football: How the popular press created an American spectacle. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill.
Other Games. (1889, Nov. 29). New Orleans Times Picayune, p.7.
Our Common Schools. (1880, Oct. 2). New York Times, p.8.
Our Exchanges. (1889, March 18). Durham Tobacco Plant NC, p.2.
Our New York Letter. (1884, Nov. 29). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.
Outdoor Amusements. (1880, Nov. 9). New York Sun, p.4.
Outdoor Amusements. (1880, Nov. 20). Sacramento Record-Union CA, p.3.
People. (1887, May 4). Detroit Free Press, p.3.
People And Events. (1889, Nov. 23). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.4.
Personal And General. (1874, May 16). Rutland Daily Globe VT, p.1.
Personal Mention. (1885, Nov. 24). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.8.
Personals. (1884, Oct. 5). Chicago Tribune, p.4.
Phelps, E.B. (1889, Sept. 7). Football next. Lancaster Daily Intelligencer PA, p.6.
Phillips Vs. Adams. (1880, Nov. 15). Boston Globe, p.2.
Physical Culture. (1883, Feb. 18). Physical culture in colleges. New York Tribune, p.6.
Physical Culture. (1888, Dec. 5). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.
Physical Exercise. (1890, Nov. 9). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.24.
Physical Training. (1883, March 25). Washington Post, p.4.
Playing At Foot-Ball. (1875, Nov. 19). New York Sun, p.5.
Playing Foot-Ball. (1888, Nov. 27). Nashville Tennessean, p.5.
Polo And Foot Ball. (1879, July 9). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.1.
Poser, M.S. (1947, Oct. 31). Football in the ’80s wild and woolly, featuring pulled whiskers, flying wedge, fancy kicking. Harvard Crimson.
President Adams. (1888, May 1). [No headline or byline] President Adams of Cornell University says… . New York Sun, p.4.
President McCosh. (1883, June 24). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.
Princeton And Harvard. (1879, Nov. 16). New York Times, p.5.
Princeton Loses At Last. (1887, Nov. 13). New York Times, p.2.
Princeton Outplays. (1885, Oct. 15). Princeton outplays Stevens Institute. New York Sun, p.3.
Progress Of Football. (1890, Nov. 22). Washington Evening Star DC, p.10.
Qualifications. (1843, Oct. 13). Qualifications of a Whig candidate. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.
Questions. (1887, Oct. 16). Questions by Sun correspondents. New York Sun, p.9.
’Rah For Georgetown. (1889, Nov. 29). Washington Post, p.7.
’Rah For Princeton. (1889, Nov. 29). Saint Paul Globe, p.1.
’Rah For Yale? (1887, Nov. 25). Brooklyn Eagle, p.2.
Rebellion At Rugby. (1871, April 30). Nashville Tennessean, p.3.
Rees, S.G. [LTE]. (1875, March 24). Football. London Times, p.12.
Reform Necessary. (1889, Oct. 11). Burlington Free Press VT, p.7.
Religious Gleanings. (1888, Feb. 23). Wilkes-Barre News, p.2.
Religious Work. (1889, Dec. 29). Religious work at Yale. New York Sun, p.8.
Result. (1886, Dec. 11). Result of a football game. New York Times, p.1.
Reunion. (1856, Sept. 26). Reunion of “Old Woodward.” Cincinnati Enquirer, p.1.
Rough And Tumble Play. (1879, Nov. 23). New York Times, p.5.
Rough Foot-Ball Playing. (1889, Nov. 15). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.2.
Rough Games. (1885, Dec. 23). Fort Wayne Daily Gazette IN, p.3.
Rough Sport. (1882, Jan. 22). San Francisco Chronicle, p.8.
Rugbeiensis [LTE]. (1870, Nov. 26). London Times, p.6.
Rugby Directory. (1882, Jan. 14). Rugby Rugbeian TN, p.2.
Rugby Foot Ball. (1881, Nov. 25). Wilkes-Barre Daily Union Leader PA, p.2.
Rugby Rules. (1883, Nov. 30). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.5.
Rules Governing. (1882, Dec. 3). Rules governing the inter-collegiate games. Boston Daily Globe, p.6.
Sanitary Science. (1883, Nov. 15). Detroit Free Press, pp.1,3.
Saturday Chat. (1883, Dec. 1). St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.4.
Senator Vance. (1888, Oct. 19). Senator Vance and an overwhelming crowd yesterday. Raleigh News & Observer, p.4.
Several Surgeons. (1883, Nov. 7). Atlanta Constitution, p.4.
“Slugging” At Football. (1889, Nov. 8). New York Evening World, p.5.
Smith, R. A. (2011). Pay for play: A history of big-time college athletic reform. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, Chicago and Springfield.
Society Topics. (1889, Dec. 1). Society topics of the week. New York Times, p.12.
Some Sporting Gossip. (1889, Dec. 21). Pittsburgh Daily Post, p.6.
Splendid In-Door Games. (1889, Jan. 20). New York Sun, p.2.
Sporting. (1885, Nov. 29). Wilkes-Barre Sunday Leader, p.12.
Sporting. (1887, Dec. 31). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.10.
Sporting. (1888, Feb. 5). San Bernardino Daily Courier CA, p.8.
Sporting. (1888, Dec. 13). Pittsburgh Press, p.5.
Sporting Extra. (1889, Nov. 6). New York Evening World, p.1.
Sporting Matters. (1883, Nov. 22). Detroit Free Press, p.6.
Sporting News. (1874, April 10). Rutland Daily Globe VT, p.2.
Sporting News. (1878, Nov. 27). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.2.
Sporting News. (1879, May 16). Daily Milwaukee News, p.4.
Sporting Notes. (1884, March 5). Wilmington News Journal DE, p.4.
Sporting Notes. (1889, Sept. 7). Wilkes-Barre News, p.1.
Sporting Notes. (1889, Nov. 22). Chicago Inter Ocean, p.3.
Sport-Pastime Notes. (1886, Dec. 26). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.6.
Sports And Pastimes. (1876, Nov. 20). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.3.
Sports And Pastimes. (1882, Nov. 29). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.2.
Sports And Pastimes. (1884, Dec. 7). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.
Sports In 1878. (1879, Jan. 10). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.3.
Sports In The Colleges. (1884, Sept. 5). New York Tribune, p.2.
Sportsman’s Stew. (1888, Jan. 22). Nashville Tennessean, p.9.
State Convention. (1889, March 23). Wilmington Morning Star NC, p.1.
State Intelligence. (1889, Nov. 28). Jackson County Banner IN, p.2.
State News. (1877, April 17). Hillsdale Standard MI, p.1.
State News. (1879, Oct. 10). Matton Gazette IL, p.1.
State Notes. (1882, May 24). Harrisburg Daily Independent PA, p.1.
St. Paul Boys Won. (1887, Nov. 8). Saint Paul Globe, p.4.
Stop That Ball! (1839, Dec. 9). Philadelphia Public Ledger, p.2.
Students Play Football. (1885, Oct. 11). New York Times, p.3.
Students’ Sports At Yale. (1886, Nov. 14). New York Times, p.3.
Suing For Big Estates. (1889, Aug. 17). Chicago Tribune, p.9.
Thanksgiving. (1889, Nov. 30). Wilmington Messenger NC, p.1.
Thanksgiving At Cornell. (1889, Dec. 2). New York Tribune, p.3.
Thanksgiving Day. (1889, Nov. 30). Newport Mercury RI, p.1.
Thanksgiving Kickers. (1889, Nov. 29). Detroit Free Press, p.8.
The Alumni At Their Dance. (1884, March 5). New York Times, p.1.
The Article. (1887, Oct. 19). [No headline or byline] The article on physical training… . Walnut Valley Times KS, p.3.
The Athletic Policy. (1885, June 10). The athletic policy of Dr. Sargent. Bangor Daily Whig and Courier ME, p.1.
The Battle Of The Ball. (1879, Nov. 9). New York Sun, p.6.
The Body And The Soul. (1881, Nov. 14). New York Times, p.8.
The Boys Of Town. (1881, June 3). [No headline or byline] The boys of town are getting up a game of foot ball… . Jamestown Weekly Alert ND, p.1.
The Budget. (1881, May 13). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.
The Chicago Times. (1889, Nov. 13). [No headline or byline] The Chicago Times, speaking of the intercollegiate convention… . Anaconda Standard MT, p.2.
The City In Brief. (1888, Feb. 4). Los Angeles Times, p.8.
The College World. (1886, May 23). Philadelphia Times, p.11.
The Commonwealth. (1881, Nov. 12). Louisville Courier-Journal, p.11.
The Cumnock Nose Mask. (1890, Nov. 2). New York Times, p.2.
The Cutlers. (1887, Dec. 16). The Cutlers are the champions. New York Times, p.8.
The Dangers Of Foot-Ball. (1887, Oct. 27). Waterloo Press IA, p.2.
The Deadly Game. (1876, April 3). The deadly game of football. New York Sun, p.3.
The Difference. (1889, Dec. 8). Omaha Daily Bee NE, p.9.
The Draw Game. (1881, Nov. 26). Philadelphia Times, p.4.
The Eastern Papers. (1886, Dec. 4). [No headline or byline] The eastern papers are full of accounts… . Lawrence Daily Journal KS, p.4.
The Elevation. (1883, June 22). The elevation of muscle. New York Times, p.4.
The Event In Football. (1888, Nov. 18). Raleigh News & Observer, p.4.
The First Victim. (1886, Oct. 1). The first victim of the season. Lebanon Daily News PA, p.1.
The Foot Ball Season. (1880, Oct. 20). New York Sun, p.4.
The Foot-Ball Candidate. (1875, Jan. 23). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.2.
The Football Championship. (1882, Nov. 30). New York Tribune, p.2.
The Football Championship. (1887, Nov. 7). Indianapolis News, p.1.
The Football Match. (1888, Jan. 22). Atlanta Constitution, p.10.
The Football Season. (1882, Oct. 23). New York Tribune, p.2.
The Game By Bulletin. (1889, Nov. 16). New York Evening World, p.1.
The Gentle Game. (1884, Sept. 30). The gentle game of football. Philadelphia Inquirer, p.1.
The Great Rebellion. (1861, Oct. 17). New York Times, p.1.
The Hanover College. (1889, Nov. 18). [No headline or byline] The Hanover College foot ball team… . Columbus Republic IN, p.4.
The Harvard. (1884, Nov. 23). The Harvard badly beaten. New York Times, p.2.
The Harvard College Nine. (1885, April 24). New York Times, p.2.
The Harvard Football Teams. (1885, Dec. 16). New York Times, p.2.
The Harvard Men. (1883, Oct. 21). The Harvard men victorious. New York Times, p.7.
The Harvard Nine. (1885, Oct. 19). New York Times, p.5.
The National Game. (1885, April 24). Middlebury Register VT, p.3.
The Naval Cadet. (1889, Nov. 23). Baltimore Sun, p.9.
The New National Game. (1881, Nov. 23). Philadelphia Times, p.2.
The Old Game Of Football. (1878, March 4). London Belgravia, England, p.3.
The Pennsylvania Wins. (1888, Nov. 30). Philadelphia Inquirer, p.8.
The Perils Of Football. (1886, Oct. 25). Harrisburg Telegraph PA, p.2.
The Pic-Nic Party. (1858, May 20). Highland Weekly News OH, p.3.
The “Play.” (1889, Nov. 24). The “play” of the period. Detroit Free Press, p.4.
The Possibilities. (1889, Feb. 15). The possibilities of foot ball. Charlotte Observer, p.2.
The Rules. (1883, Nov. 23). The rules must be amended. New York Times, p.5.
The Rules Of Foot-Ball. (1881, Dec. 2). Cincinnati Enquirer, p.2.
The Season For Football. (1888, Nov. 11). New York Tribune, p.15.
The Seventh Annual. (1857, Dec. 1). New York Times, p.1.
The Seventh In The Rain. (1882, June 28). New York Tribune, p.5.
The Sporting Department. (1888, Feb. 22). New Orleans Times-Picayune, p.4.
The Surgeons Were Busy. (1887, Nov. 14). [No headline or byline] The surgeons were busy among the college football players… . New York Sun, p.4.
The Trinity. (1888, Dec. 7). Wilmington Messenger NC, p.4.
The University. (1878, Feb. 18). The university-practical instruction. Raleigh Observer NC, p.2.
The University. (1888, March 12). The university football association. Burlington Free Press VT, p.1.
The University Wins. (1889, Nov. 24). Philadelphia Times, p.3.
The ’Varsity Beaten. (1880, Nov. 8). Philadelphia Times, p.1.
The Y.M.C.A. (1889, Feb. 12). The Y.M.C.A. at Chapel Hill. Raleigh News & Observer, p.3.
The Yale. (1884, March 9). The Yale athletic meeting. New York Times, p.1.
The Yale-Princeton Game. (1886, Nov. 27). New York Sun, p.3.
To Make. (1882, May 5). To make football more interesting. New York Sun, p.3.
To Prohibit Football. (1884, Nov. 6). Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.
To Support. (1888, Oct. 4). To support football at Dartmouth. New York Tribune, p.1.
Too Much Football. (1884, Nov. 26). Columbus Republic IN, p.2.
Training For Head Or Feet? (1889, Dec. 12). St. Johnsbury Caledonian VT, p.2.
Trial. (1846, March 28). Trial of Charles E. Goodwin, for an assault with intent to kill concluded Howard District Court. Baltimore Sun, p.1.
Trial Of Spreckels. (1885, June 4). San Francisco Chronicle, p.5.
Trinity Wins. (1888, Dec. 1). Raleigh News & Observer, p.1.
Triumphed O’er The Blue. (1889, Nov. 29). Chicago Inter Ocean, pp.1-2.
Trying. (1884, Oct. 5). Trying Princeton’s football team. New York Times, p.1.
Tyng, A.J. (1888, March 26). Base ball prospect. Fort Worth Daily Gazette TX, p.5.
Universities Win. (1888, Feb. 19). San Francisco Chronicle, p.11.
University. (1888, Nov. 5). University of Pennsylvania and Yale. Philadelphia Inquirer, p.3.
University Doings. (1887, Nov. 13). Philadelphia Times, p.11.
University Items. (1877, Sept. 26). Oakland Tribune, p.3.
University Items. (1883, Jan. 26). Oakland Tribune, p.2.
University Notes. (1882, Sept. 24). Lawrence Daily Journal KS, p.1.
University Notes. (1886, March 9). San Francisco Chronicle, p.5.
University Notes. (1886, March 16). San Francisco Chronicle, p.7.
University Notes. (1886, Dec. 9). Austin Weekly TX, p.7.
University Notes. (1889, Jan. 28). Salem Daily Capital Journal OR, p.4.
University Notes. (1889, Dec. 8). Saint Paul Globe, p.12.
University Topics. (1886, Nov. 4). Atlanta Constitution, p.2.
Various Topics. (1879, Nov. 2). Detroit Free Press, p.5.
Very Rough. (1888, Nov. 30). New York Sun, p.3.
Views Of Harvard. (1888, April 30). Views of Harvard athletics. New York Sun, p.3.
Wagenhurst, E.V. (1889, Nov. 10). The Foot-Ball Result. Philadelphia Times, p.16.
Walter Camp’s Opinion. (1889, Nov. 16). Walter Camp’s opinion of the football trouble. New York Sun, p.4.
Washburn College Budget. (1881, Dec. 10). Topeka Daily Commonwealth KS, p.1.
Washburn College Notes. (1886, Feb. 6). Topeka Daily Capital KS, p.5.
Water Proof. (1845, April 11). [Advertisement] Water proof India rubber balls, Goodyear’s patent gum elastic. New York Tribune, p.4.
Wesleyan Comes Last. (1888, Nov. 30). New York Tribune, p.8
Wesleyan In The Rear. (1888, Nov. 30). New York Times, p.8.
Wesleyan University. (1889, Nov. 7). New York Times, p.20.
Weyand, A.M. (1926). American football: Its history and development. D. Appleton and Company: New York.
What We Are All Talking. (1889, Dec. 1). What we are all talking about. New York Sun, p.6.
Wills, W.H. [LTE]. (1881, Nov. 24). The noble game of foot-ball. New York Times, p.3.
With Saturday’s Meeting. (1889, Nov. 21). [No headline or byline] With Saturday’s meeting of the Princeton and Harvard elevens… . New York Times, p.4.
With The Colleges. (1889, Oct. 20). Philadelphia Times, p.16.
With The Collegians. (1889, Nov. 10). Philadelphia Times, p.7.
Woodbridge Grove. (1874, Aug. 13). Detroit Free Press, p.1.
Woodward, J. (1996). Taylor, Charles Elisha. In Powell, W.S. [Ed.]. Dictionary of North Carolina biography. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill.
Work At West Point. (1879, Nov. 7). Burlington Free Press VT, p.1.
Yale Again Victorious. (1883, Nov. 30). New York Times, p.8.
Yale Again Victorious. (1888, Nov. 25). New York Sun, p.13.
Yale Against Harvard. (1886, Nov. 20). New York Times, p.1.
Yale And Harvard. (1881, May 27). New York Times, p.4.
Yale And Wesleyan. (1882, Oct. 8). Yale and Wesleyan at football. New York Tribune, p.2.
Yale Beats Harvard. (1886, Nov. 21). Yale beats Harvard at football. New York Sun, p.1.
Yale College Gossip. (1881, Oct. 12). Chicago Tribune, p.3.
Yale Defeats Harvard. (1881, Nov. 13) New York Tribune, p.2.
Yale Defeats Columbia. (1882, Nov. 19). New York Times, p.2.
Yale Foot Ball Game. (1852, Oct. 18). New York Times, p.2.
Yale Outplays Harvard. (1887, Nov. 25). New York Times, p.1.
Yale Overtops Them All. (1889, Dec. 10). New York Sun, p.5.
Yale Vs. Harvard. (1890, Nov. 8). Pittsburgh Daily Post, p.6
Yale Vs. Rutgers. (1887, Nov. 6). New York Sun, p.11
Yale Whitewashes. (1888, Nov. 4). Yale whitewashes the University of Pennsylvania team. New York Tribune, p.5.
Yale Wins. (1887, Nov. 24). New York Evening World, p.1.
Yale Wins. (1887, Nov. 25). Yale wins a glorious day. New York Sun, p.1.
Yale’s Athletic Team. (1884, Sept. 6). New York Times, p.1.
Yale’s Easy. (1880, Nov. 18). Yale’s easy victory at foot-ball. New York Times, p.5.
Yale’s Kickers This Year. (1887, Oct. 27). New York Sun, p.5.
Yale’s New Athletic Grounds. (1884, Sept. 25). New York Times, p.1.
Yesterday’s Foot Ball. (1889, Nov. 29). Omaha Daily Bee NE, p.2.
Young Arthur. (1884, Oct. 12). [No headline or byline] Young Arthur, the president’s son… . Brooklyn Daily Eagle, p.4.
Young Chicago. (1888, Oct. 27. Young Chicago vs. Old England. Chicago Tribune, p.8.
Young Men. (1888, Dec. 28). Young men of muscle. Baltimore Sun, p.4.
Copyright ©2016 for historical arrangement by Matthew L. Chaney
Matt Chaney is a writer, researcher and consultant on public issues in sport, specializing in American football for three decades. Chaney, an MA in media studies, is a former college football player and coach whose books include Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football, from his Four Walls Publishing in 2009. Chaney’s study for graduate thesis, co-published with the University of Central Missouri in 2001, analyzed print sport-media coverage of anabolic substances in football from 1983-1999. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website for more information.