Thursday, May 24, 2007

1899 and football

I found this fantastic photo on the yesterday morning. I meant to postit here yesterday morning, but other morning events pulled me away from my lap top. In any event, here it is now. The photo was taken in 1899. It's an early football team and based upon the looks of the fellows I would guess it to be a college team.

You can, and should, take at look at the larger version of this image which can be found here -

Their expressions are incredible and I find myself entranced with the image every time I gaze upon it. This photo is 108 years old! Who were these fellows and what became of them?

Take a look at the football that the fellow on the back row carries. According to, before American football reached it's modern form in 1912, the game was quite dangerous - "By the turn of the 20th century, football had become notoriously dangerous; 18 college players died in 1905 alone. Colleges responded with a series of rule changes to open up the game, most importantly the forward pass, along with outlawing dangerous formations such as the "flying wedge", and introducing and requiring better equipment such as helmets."

The clearly older, wiry fellow to the right of the ball carrier with the hat and bow tie must be some form of coach or instructor. He looks so very different than the other chaps in the photo and, in my opinion, is the only one of the group that actually looks like he belongs in 1899.

The haircut that most if these fellows wear must have been wildly popular. I have a photo of my great-grandfather taken around this same time period with the same cut - medium length hair, parted simply in the middle and close cut around the ears.

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