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"Yell Cornell" Blog

Stories about unique pieces of Cornell's athletic history.

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Just as students meet on campus today to watch out-of-town athletic events, before the Internet and television fans of the football team would gather in great numbers to follow the games.

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An extremely rare 1909 Postcard adverting Cornell Tailor, Bernstein, featuring a college women basketball player.  Isaac K. Bernstein was a prominent Tailor in Ithaca, and he and his wife were prominent members of Ithaca society and the Cornell community.

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Edmund Burke “Stubby” Magner was the Captain of the 1911 Cornell baseball team and hockey team.  Not only a great baseball shortstop, he captained the Cornell hockey team to an undefeated season in 1911 (10-0),  winning the Intercollegiate Ice Hockey Championship.  After graduating he played baseball for the New York Yankees.

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George Benjamin Fillmore, Lafayette '12, and Leslie Douglas Clute, Cornell '13, played baseball against each other just one time on May 23, 1912, at Cornell.  110 years later their uniforms remain treasured artifacts.

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Harry Franklin Porter, '05, Cornell Hall of Fame. 1910 “CHAMPIONS” TOBACCO CARD SET.  Issued with packs of Hassan and Mecca Cigarettes.  153 Athlete Cards in the set.  As a member of the U.S. track and field team, Porter won the gold medal in the running high jump at the 1908 Olympics.

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1919 Junior Smoker. Bristow Adams, Toastmaster. Addresses by John L. Collyer and John Paul Jones, as well as James Armand Meissner.  Presentation of "C's" by Col.  Frank Arthur Barton, Class 1891.  Cornell Hall of Fame members awarded "C's" - Ivan Chandler Dresser, Howard Burnship Ortner, Charles Edwin Ackerly, Walker Smith, Joaquin Molinet.

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On May 27th, 1911, Cornell accomplished an outstanding athletic Record Sweep.  On May 29th the Boston Evening Transcript publishes an article with deep admiration and respect, praising the accomplishments of Cornell.

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In 1903, as was done in previous years, the Cornell Baseball Team, coached by Hughie Jennings, took a trip down South during early Spring, to play their first games in warmer weather.  Stops in 1903 included Baltimore, Washington D.C., Charlottesville V.A., and Raleigh and Durham N.C.

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1876 Cornell Freshman Crew - Winners of Intercollegiate Regatta at Saratoga. Photograph taken around July, 1876, by J. Beardsley. One of the earliest know cabinet portraits of a Cornell Crew. Cornell crews in 1875 and 1876 won the intercollegiate regatta at Saratoga. Cornell won the freshman and varsity races both years.

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During the course of my collecting I frequently come across other historic, non-athletic related, ephemera and memorabilia.  Although Athletics is by far the focus of the collection - if I can acquire an interesting or significant piece, inexpensively, I am happy to add to the collection. 

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Jessie Edwin Read, Cornell Crew in 1880 and 1881. Member of Cornell Four-Oard Crew that went to the England Henley Regatta in 1881. One of the earliest known Cornell athletic photographs of prominent photographer Evan D. Evans.

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Charles Henry (C.H.) Howes was a prolific photographer of Cornell Athletic Teams from the early 1880s until about 1910.

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J.P. Troy was the official Cornell University photographer from about 1903 to 1928.  His photos of events, campus views and athletics appeared in every Cornell publication from yearbooks to calendars. Troy was an iconic fixture at Cornell. When he retired in 1928 his studio had over 20,000 negatives.

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Real Photo Postcard, by J.P. Troy, of C.F. Magoffin, '07, winning Auerbach Cup Marathon Race on November 10th, 1906. Magoffin was Captain of the Cross Country Team. This is one of the earliest known Cornell athletics real photo postcards by Troy.

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1900 Cabinet Photo of Cascadilla School Baseball Team. Photo by E. McGillivray. Measures 22" by 18", and was owned by Harold Grant Metcalf.  The Cascadilla School was established in 1876 as a college preparatory school for Cornell University. The years around the Turn of The Century saw many ‘Cascadillians’ contribute significantly to Cornell's athletic successes.

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Because the official Cornell Seal did not "lend itself easily to decorative purposes”, in December 1908, a Faculty Committee chaired by Dean T. F. Crane, commenced a competition for a new Emblem that was to be used for non-official decorative purposes. It took over 2 years to select the new Emblem.

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Leather postcards were first made in 1903 and quickly became very popular.  They were short lived, however, after the US Post Office banned them in 1908, but not before many decorative and humorous images were made capturing Cornell images. 

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The Observation Train would hold up to 4,000 spectators, 40 cars, each with 100 people, and provided the perfect platform for Cornell fans to watch their champion crews. The exploits of the Cornell Navy would make headlines in every newspaper across the nation, and globally.

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Cornell wins remarkable series of four victories in a single day - across Track, Rowing and Baseball - resulting in the grandest of celebrations by thousands of Cornell students parading through the streets of Ithaca.

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1896 cabinet photograph of Asa Carlton King, ’99.  A.C. King rowed No. 4 on the victorious Cornell Varsity Crew at the 1897 Poughkeepsie IRA.  He was also, notably, a distinguished and influential professor in the College of Agriculture at Cornell for thirty years.

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1888 Cabinet Card Photos of Robert Lee McComb, Stroke on the Four-Oared Varsity Crew, and John Kneeland Garnsey, End on the Varsity Football Team.  McComb would lead Cornell to the Downing Cup in 1888 and become an accomplished artist. Garnsey was a member of the first Cornell football team to win a game, and was one of the founders of the Sphinx Head Society.

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Recently the granddaughter of Robert Smith Torrance, ’16, emailed me about her family. After some discussion, she sent me some fascinating materials. Among the papers of her grandfather she discovered a piece of music composed by his close friend, the extraordinary composer R. Alex Anderson, also class of 1916.

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H.C. Troy was captain of the 1892 freshman crew, and captain and stroke of the Cornell crew that competed in the first intercollegiate regatta at Poughkeepsie, in 1895. When you mention the name Hugh Charles Troy and Cornell, most would understandably think of the legendary prankster, H.C. Troy Jr. ’27,  whose exploits on the Cornell campus are legendary - however, it is his father, H.C. Troy Sr., who made his indelible mark at Cornell long before junior.

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March 5th, 1904, Cornell Freshman Banquet program. Remarkably designed program with a faux-bamboo hard cover. Contains autographs of James Lynah, ’05, and Hugh Jennings, ’04, Cornell Varsity Baseball Coach from 1899 - 1906. Jennings is one of two Cornellians who have been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

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Arthur William Engel, ’09, was an avid runner and protege of Jack Moakley. Although Engel was never quite good enough to make the Cornell Varsity Track team, from the tutelage of Moakley he became an accomplished runner, following his graduation, as Captain of his Pittsburgh area YMCA track team.

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The Trophy Room in Barnes Hall was the first official Trophy Room at Cornell. It opened in May of 1900 for Cornell to have a proper place, similar to the likes of Yale, Princeton and Penn, to house its vastly growing treasuries of athletic victories.

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On a recent visit to the Cornell Library Archives I viewed several student scrapbooks, from the 1890s to 1910s, containing a treasure of athletic memorabilia. The following are highlights from several of these scrapbooks.

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Two 1950s hand crafted wooden Cornell Mascots, 5” tall,

by Carter Hoffman and ANRI.

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