Football 157 Years Ago – September 8, 1854

September 8, 1854, Wednesday – The New-York Times


We are gratified to learn that the Freshman class just beginning its course at Harvard College is extraordinarily large, numbering, we believe, one hundred and five. Besides these, there have been accessions to the other classes of students admitted to an advanced standing.

The annual foot-ball match upon the Delta took place last evening, the first Monday of the term, in accordance with the time honored custom. The Freshmen were able to muster in such strong force that it was supposed that the almost universal result of their game with the Sophomores might be reversed in this instance: but although they played remarkably well, this proved not to be the case, and they were thrice beaten, as usual.

In the next match the Freshmen were reinforced by the Juniors, (always a favorite class,) and the Sophomores by the Seniors.

The support afforded by the Juniors might perhaps have given victory to the Freshmen this time, but there are in the present Senior class six stalwart men whose vigorous limbs, aided by their associates, carried everything before them, and the result was the same as before. It was universally conceded upon the ground, however, that the Freshmen made a most gallant stand. They contend, of course, to a great disadvantage, not knowing the ground, and scarcely each other.

After the foot-ball playing the students formed a large ring, hand-in-hand, and joined in singing Auld Lang Syne. This, we believe, is a modern feature in the proceedings. Hearty cheers were then given for President Walker, the late President, Mr. Sparks, Professor Felton and others, and for the several classes.

The afternoon was a fine one for the game, and the closing scenes were illuminated by the nearly full moon. While literature and learning flourish at the university, the manly sports are not neglected.

From “The Lost Century of American Football


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