Taking Sides: Vintage Ivy League Football Programs


To counter the over-the-top commercialization of the Super Bowl, I thought we’d take a look at football from an angle more related to culture than commerce.

These football programs come from the shop Collectable Ivy and boast some great concept art. The one above, from 1930, is my favorite.

The shop also runs a blog, and this post peeks inside a Yale-Princeton 1929 program. The game was held just a couple of weeks after the stock market crash and contains a fascinating array of high-end advertisements for things like first-class travel, foreign cars, and fine clothing, including of course, raccoon coats.

Speaking of which, here’s the cover, drawn by Deco-era illustrator Russell Patterson:


This cover from ’56 has a Norman Rockwell quality…


… while this one draws on design elements rather than narrative:


Here’s Cornell in balloons….


… and Pennsylvania in pipe smoke:


In our recent discussion of polo coats, some left comments indicating their subjective associations included gangsters and the like. To associate the polo coat with Chicago mafia rather than British colonial certainly reveals one’s taste and point of view. Here’s an ad for polo coats right where you’d expect to find one: in the pages of an interwar Ivy League football program:


As for that other infamous coat of the era, the raccoon, we once again have to credit Ivy guys with setting styles for the rest of the country. Here’s a 1958 LSU vs. Florida program in which one imagines a pair of proud parents got decked out in their collegiate best to see their son play starting quarterback:


Should be a good Super Bowl. After all, sexy diva Renee Fleming sings the national anthem. — CC

5 Comments on "Taking Sides: Vintage Ivy League Football Programs"

  1. The Rockwellesque 1956 Columbia vs. Brown program illustration was by C.C. Beck, the original illustrator of Captain Marvel. Here’s a link to a flapper illustration by Beck from 1929:


  2. I can not for the life of me locate an image for one of the programs I liked. It had a police officer ejecting two fans that were fighting. I believe they were wearing raccoon coats.

  3. The people in the bottom picture have obviously never been to Louisiana in October…

  4. Arthur E. Lloyd III | February 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm |

    If you ever come across anything from Bucknell I’m DEFINATELY interested…

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