Heroes in the Fall

Cover of souvenir program for 1892 championship football game in Seattle
Cover of souvenir program for 1892 championship football game in Seattle

A remark I overheard a colleague make the other day about there currently being “too much football” on television served to remind me of another lovely item I had decided to try to “rescue” from the fate of N-Pams near-oblivion — a souvenir program for  an 1892  championship football game played between two semi-professional teams, the Seattle Athletic Club “Blue Diamonds” and the Tacoma Athletic Club.  The fact that I am referencing a Rodgers and Hart musical here may give you some idea of the extent of my own interest in football, but I nevertheless found this little publication to be irresistible.

Although the catalog record I created for the program was fairly detailed as these things go, there was a lot more going on of interest in this slim volume than could be comfortably contained in that record.  As noted, the booklet, which had once belonged to Samuel L. Crawford (another name familiar from the scrapbook project, but that’s another story), had been rebound (back in the day when they did that sort of thing as a matter of course in libraries, I guess), but the original paper wrappers of the program were rebacked and retained, as well as the wealth of contemporary advertisements for local organizations and businesses it contained (curiously, a preponderance of dairy products).

In addition to that material, the program also includes an explanatory essay, Our Game of Foot-Ball, signed by a certain G.W. Woodruff, which I am now guessing is this guy (a seminal early Penn coach).  While it is amusingly written, a quick skim-through did not leave me feeling any more confident of my own understanding of the rules of the game (or how they may have have evolved over the intervening century plus).

First page of "Our Game of Foot-Ball" by G.W. Woodruff
First page of "Our Game of Foot-Ball" by G.W. Woodruff

Finally, the program contains group portraits of the two opposing teams (although, perhaps typical of its eternal sad sack status, the Tacoma picture is of the 1891 team, but this was a Seattle production, after all):

1892 Seattle Athletic Club "Blue Diamonds"
1892 Seattle Athletic Club "Blue Diamonds"
1891 Tacoma Athletic Club
1891 Tacoma Athletic Club

For the record, Seattle appears to have won.  You can find out all this and more on the history section of the very helpful Greater Northwest Football Association Web site.

As always, you are more than welcome to examine this program (or anything else that interests you) whenever Special Collections is open.  Me?  I probably will be heading home soon to watch the U.S. Open.

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Although I am a native New Yorker, I seem drawn to the Pacific Northwest. My current gig as Manuscripts & Special Collections Cataloging Librarian at the University of Washington Libraries represents my third stint out here. Prior to coming to the UW, I have worked at the New York Public Library, King County Archives, New York University, and Columbia University (to name but a few).

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