New York: Charles H. Nicoll, 1893. First Edition. This early football program is notable for featuring William H. Lewis (1868-1949), the first African American to earn First Team All-America honors, who is seen here at the center of the Harvard team portrait. After graduating from Amherst and enrolling at Harvard Law School, he played two seasons for the Crimson, helping the team compile a 22-2 record. In November 1893, Harvard team captain Bertram G. Waters was unable to play in the last game of the season due to an injury. The game was Lewis' last college football game, and the team voted him as the acting captain for the game, making him Harvard's first African American team captain.

Following law school, Lewis was hired as a football coach at Harvard, where he served from 1895 to 1906. It was during this time he proposed the "neutral zone" rule that is still used today to lessen the brutality of the game at the line of scrimmage before the snap. He also wrote one of the first books on the game, A Primer of College Football (1896), before entering into politics. Elected to the Massachusetts legislature in 1901, he was named assistant U.S. attorney general for Boston in 1903. In October 1910, William Howard Taft appointed Lewis as a U.S. Assistant Attorney General, sparking a national debate of the President's so-called "Black Cabinet". Later, he led a successful private practice in Boston, and emerged as a leading civil rights leader and speaker. Lewis was posthumously honored with induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

One of the only two losses in Lewis' Harvard career was the November 25, 1893 game against Yale at Hampden Park in Springfield, Massachusetts. For the first time, Harvard wore leather uniforms, rather than the expected canvas vest and canvas or moleskin pants. The Eli learned of the change about an hour before kickoff and countered by covering their uniforms with rosin, which proved successful as Yale triumphed 6-0 on the strength of a Frank Butterworth touchdown (in this era, touchdowns were worth four points, successful kicks after goal were worth two).

A striking production, die cut in the shape of a football. Oblong oval octavo (7 1/4" x 10 3/4"): [76] pp. with photographic illustrations and numerous advertisements. The original cloth-covered boards feature decorative blind stamping and a stitched leather binding emulating the construction of a football. Period pencil signature to the title page, with a few neat pencil notations to the blue Yale Score Card leaf. Some mild wear along the extremities, with a bit of light discoloration to the rear panel; otherwise very good. Item #76702

Price: $2,500.00

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