uestion...Why would I feature a high school football poster
since I normally only collect ones with recognizable teams,
typically colleges ones? Answer: Primarily because of the region and
the time frame....First, it's from Connecticut...and Connecticut...along
with Massachusetts is where American
football was birthed and pioneered. Second,
It's from 1895 which was early for state sanctioned high
school football. Therefore this poster would be a very rare artifact of the
early development of American football at the high school
level from the region where it all started! That
is, the land of Yale...Matter fact, as we're about to see, Yale orchestrated this
game...Given those attributes I was very pleased
to add it to my collection of broadsides.
The poster gives
up some very interesting details.
1. It's for the Connecticut state championship. 2. It names the trophy, the Yale Cup.
I don't believe I've seen a
trophy referenced on a poster before! 3. The game was sanctioned by
the Connecticut Interscholastic Foot Ball Association.
It is interesting to note there was a governing body that
early for Connecticut high school football. 4. Someone
wrote on the poster in long hand the final score of the game, which is
great to know! 5.
And finally, it's fully dated!...One of the most important
features a broadside can have is
to be dated with at least the year...In this case however,
we have the year, day, and
all that was invaluable for research.
Speaking of research....this has
not been an easy one. However, with the assistance of
retired New Haven Register Sports Editor Bob Barton, as
well as Natalie Belanger, and Melissa Traub of the Connecticut Historical Society...I
was able to assemble enough pieces of the puzzle to
learn the background of this poster...
got it on eBay October 4th 2015 for $279.95 with a
"buy it now" option. An important aspect of this poster is that it's printed on
cardstock...Please note that 22" x 14" cardstock posters
from this era are very rare as they were easily broken.
The larger they were the more subject to damage they were.
So for this example to survive since 1895 is incredible and a
privilege to view! As
a special bonus it's printed on robins egg blue cardstock,
as opposed to the usual white or tan...which gives it extra
Email to seller:
thanks for your reply...I just pulled the trigger as I sit in a noisy mexican restaurant in
berkeley ca...what can you tell me about it's history....i.e. where it's been....can you say where you got it?...thanks
Carlton, Thanks for your purchase. I picked it up at an farm house estate that probably dates back to around that time. Owners probably got it from their parents, being they seems to be Octogenarians + is about all I can say. They lived probably 10 miles from the Yale bowl as the crow flies and I'd guess they we're Bridgeport Alumna. Actually though at that time there were no bridges
between these two areas, so they either have to ferry over via horse n buggy or travel 10 miles North to get the Derby Shelton Toll bridge to get across the Housatonic River. Hope that helps, I'll pack it up and try to get her out tomorrow.
AT THE ROPES" PAINTED BY FREDERIC REMINGTON
Western artist Remington played "rusher"
on the 1879 Yale football team
should be noted, for the most part the crowd had
to stand for the three Bridgeport vs. Hartford 1895
Championship games. Yale field where it was played,
which was the forerunner of the Yale Bowl, did not
build seating on a large scale until 1897
Field, as announced on the poster, is where Hartford High
and Bridgeport played. Yale Field is located at 252 Derby Avenue, West Haven, CT.
just across the city line from New Haven. Before the more
famous Yale Bowl stadium's first game November 21st 1914,
Yale Field was Yale's home football field. Yale Field is
about a three minute drive from the Yale Bowl and about
three miles from the Yale campus.
NEW YORK, NEW HAVEN AND
RAILROAD CO. RAIL MAP
HIGH AND BRIDGEPORT HIGH MET AT YALE FIELD IN WEST
HAVEN (BY NEW HAVEN)
miles from Hartford to West Haven
miles from Bridgeport to West Haven
teams would have traveled to the game by The New
York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad
appreciate the drama of the game on this poster,
let's examine what was going on in the background...First of all,
it advertises a "TIE GAME" playoff. This
was the second
of a three game series which
Hartford Public High School
and Bridgeport High School played for the Championship of 1895. The Yale Athletic Association
had donated a trophy, the Yale Cup, to the winning
team. Yale also let them play the game on the famed Yale Field.
Also note the Connecticut Interscholastic Foot Ball Association
referenced on the poster was formed in 1894 under the auspices of
the Yale Football
Association only a year
previous to this
game . The Yale Cup was also first awarded
in 1894, and was awarded annually to the Connecticut State
until it was retired in 1901 and
replaced with the Trinity Cup. The rules of the Yale Cup
called for it to be retired to the first team to win it
three times. Waterbury High of Waterbury Ct., later
renamed Crosby High, won it in 1899, 1900, and
LINEUPS OF HARTFORD HIGH AND BRIDGEPORT HIGH
first glance it seems admirable of Yale to put up a trophy
for a championship trophy and provide Yale Field for the
venue...I would speculate however, this was more than just
promoting football and fostering good sportsmanship for
youth...this was a recruiting exercise for the Eli.
Moreover we may be witnessing the beginnings of college
football recruitment...Think about it...Yale had been
playing interscholastic football for twenty years...read about their beginnings
here...By 1895 they
would realize the value of looking ahead to the next crop
of players...By promoting a state championship they were
essentially getting a look at the best players in the
wouldn't be at all surprised if Walter Camp and other Yale
football supporters were their at these last three games
watching for talent!
tying the November 16th game advertised on this poster 4 - 4, the
captains agreed to share the championship and have both
teams engraved on the Yale Cup. All was settled until the
Yale Athletic Association demanded only one school could
win the cup and a third playoff had to be played immediately.
That final game was played a week later on Thanksgiving Day.
the time of this game, the Connecticut Interscholastic Foot Ball Association
was divided into two divisions of four high schools each,
being North and South. The North was made up of Hartford,
New Britain, Norwich, and Suffield. The South was made up
of Bridgeport, Hopkins, Hillhouse, and King. The rules of
the Association called for the best teams of each division
to play each other at the end of the season for the
championship and Yale Cup.
It should be noted 1895 was the second year in a row Hartford and Bridgeport had
battled for the
championship...The two had faced off for the championship
the year before in 1894. Bridgeport won it then 22 - 16.
connect the dots of this three game saga, let's reiterate....The same two teams on the poster had battled for same
championship and trophy the year before, which Bridgeport
won 22-16. Then in this 1895 battle, they played first on
November 9th and tied 10 - 10...then played again on
November 16th and tied again 4-4, which this poster
represents...Then to break that tie...and at the demand of
Yale Football Association,
who sponsored Yale Cup, the two teams met on November 28th
Thanksgiving Day, where Bridgeport won 16-12 and clinched
it from someone who has collected and studied antique
sports broadsides 30 years...You can never say never in
the antiques world as no one knows what's out there that
has survived. But generally speaking a poster like this
only comes around once! My
aim is to bring you rare exceptional items you
would never see if it weren't for this site, and this poster
serves as an excellent example!
HIGH'S 1894 TEAM
I didn't nail for this story
got a lot of peripheral aspects but what I’d
really liked to have had for this story is more information
on the November 16th game the poster is for, and the
players…Were I in Connecticut or anywhere close I could access the newspaper microfilm of both the Bridgeport and Hartford newspapers….but I’m out here on the left
coast…I got close
though...I did get newspaper play by play of
the final game on Thanksgiving. The first
on my want list would be team photos of each team, which is sorely missing
from the story…Next I’d mine for details of what
happened to the players after graduating. I was able to identify the winning team’s star player in one “Pop Foster” who played full back for Bridgeport. The only photo I could acquire was one of him in a baseball uniform. I did also find a grainy photocopy of
a newspaper page that had a team photo of the Bridgeport football team of 1894, which has some of the 95’ players in it, see it
above. I stumbled on an interesting aspect of one of
the Hartford players. In the Hartford lineup is the
name Twitchell playing right end...I believe that
was a misspelling and was suppose to have been
"Twichell". According to my research the
only Twitchell who graduated from Hartford Public
High before 1904 was an "R. Lincoln Twitchell"
who graduated in 1902. There was a Burton P.
Twichell who graduated in 1897. So no doubt it was
Burton who played right end for Hartford...Young
Burton was from a very prominent Hartford family.
His father Joseph H. Twichell was the pastor of Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford
for fifty years...He was also Mark Twain's closest
Reverend Joseph Hopkins Twichell (November 30, 1838 – December 20, 1918), writer and pastor, was Mark Twain's closest friend for over forty years, and appears in A Tramp Abroad as "Harris." They met at a church social after the Civil War when Twichell was pastor of Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, his only pastorate for almost 50 years. Reverend Twichell performed Twain's wedding and christened his children, and counseled him on literary as well as personal matters for the rest of Twain's life. A profound scholar and devout Christian, he was described as "a man with an exuberant sense of humor, and a profound understanding of the frailties of mankind.
so given all that...young Burton not only played
right end on the second best high school football
team in the state of Connecticut...but he would have
been almost family to Mark Twain...Twain may well
have been at the game of my poster cheering on his
nephew...Hey I was at most of my best friend's kids
about that Yale Cup…
After failing to acquire all I wanted for this story…I
made a great discovery...How
would you like to see the Yale Cup...Yes I mean
"thee" actual Yale Cup trophy referenced
on the poster!!!...Far fetched?...That's
what I thought...So
here's what happened...As I was writing this story I
was thinking about the Yale Cup...Idly speculating
on what ever became of it...I'm pretty well versed
in antique football trophies having collected them thirty
years...and know very well the many scenarios that
could have befallen it...Schools get remodeled,
School move stuff gets lost...fires happen...all
kinds of things happen to school trophies over many
years...They get pilfered, they get thrown out...One
friend of mine, his wife worked at a major big name
university...and found a cache of antique trophies
thrown out in the trash...So there was no telling
what happened to it...Heck Harvard hardly has any of
it out here...most
of them have disappeared...
the thought occurred to me that it could still be at
the school...I think if I would have put money on it
I'd have given it about 10% chance it was still
I took a run at it...As I said earlier my research
indicated Waterbury High School in Waterbury took
permanent possession of the Yale Cup in 1901 after
winning it three years...And so I looked up
Waterbury High...They renamed it Crosby High in
1897, just two years after this poster was printed.
I sent Principle Jade Lee Gopie an email to
inquire...below our exchange:
October 12, 2016 at 3:29 PM
Carlton Hendricks here...Say I’m sorry to bother you I know you’re busy...but I’m writing a story and according to my research Crosby High School took permanent possession of a trophy called the “Yale Cup” for winning the Connecticut State football championship three times...
....."The Yale Cup was also first awarded in 1894, and was awarded annually to the Connecticut State Football Champions until it was retired in 1901 and replaced with the Trinity Cup. The rules of the Yale Cup called for it to be retired to the first team to win it three times. Crosby High School of Waterbury won it in 1899, 1900, and
Would Crosby High still have the Yale Cup?...if so could I please get a photo of it?...Thank you so much.
Most Kindly –Carlton
Friday, October 14, 2016 9:58 AM
We do have this in our school and will get a picture to you ASAP.
Jade L. Gopie, Principal
Crosby High School
short email from Principle Gopie had to have been
one of the most fascinating emails I ever read...my
eyes were as big as silver dollars as I read
it!!!...See it below...
Cup Championship Trophy, donated by Yale
7/8" tall, Made by Black Star & Frost, NYC
YALE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
THE CONNECTICUT INTERSCHOLASTIC FOOT BALL