The Earliest Ivy League Football Programs

7th Mar 2020

We know the first game between ivy league schools when when Columbia met Yale on November 16, 1872 at Hamilton Park near New Haven, Connecticut.

As far as the first program printed for a football game, we estimate that the first was for the Harvard-Yale game also played at Hamilton Park on November 13th, 1875. This was the first time Harvard played Yale in a Football game and the first time any two college teams worm uniforms to play the game. This simple four page program listed the last names of the Harvard Players in red and the Yale Players in blue and had a space for the name of the referee and space to keep track of goals and the time of each goal. The images below are from an 1876 program, but is substantially identical to the 1875 program. An original 1876 program sold at auction recently for almost $4,000!

harvard yale

Note the Yale player Camp ’80. This is Walter Camp, the “father” of American football who played for Yale in these early years.

harvard yale 2

Early turn of the century Harvard-Yale programs:

harvard yale 1897

harvard yale 1904