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GWU: 1905

Washington, D.C., circa 1905. "George Washington football." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

Washington, D.C., circa 1905. "George Washington football." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Go Fightin' Turtlenecks!

Vision correction

Contrary to popular belief, pince-nez eyeglasses during the 1889-1919 era were by far the most popular type of eyewear. The rimless type was considered the height of fashion particularly for college men or high school students as yearbooks of the 1900-1915 era will show. For USA soldiers during World War I, the War Dept. recommended pince-nez as the best eyewear because of the ease of wearing a gas mask. It was only later, in the 1940's and 1950's that pince-nez gained the snobbish reputation mentioned above. Properly fitted, a pince-nez stayed securely yet comfortably attached to the bridge of the nose even during violent exercise. All lenses of the era were extremely fragile. If the pince-nez fell off the nose and hit the ground, the lenses would shatter.
Eyeglasses, the term for pince-nez in the 1870-1920s, and spectacles, the term for glasses with sides or temples, were unisex then.

GWU Football

The school bookstore sells a nifty shirt that reads "GW Football: Undefeated since 1967." My husband gets comments every time he wears it.

New School

This is a construction site, not a junkyard. Stack of windows or door frames to the left.

Nose guards

We have been through this on another thread. The items are the pre-face guard era nose protectors. Having played once without a face guard, one of those would have been a welcome addition to the uniform


Those are either nose guards or poorly worn cups.

What Is It

Looks like some kind of nose protection. You can see vent holes in it for the nose and some for the mouth.

Nose guards.

Nose guards.

The Thing

It looks like a leather mouth guard.


Well Jack Trice most likely would have survived had he been white. Minnesota didn't like playing against a black football player. There is a difference between football being a rough game and murder.

What Is It?

Far left, three rows up: what is hanging around his neck? (As well as the guy on the bottom row, 4th in from the left.)

Nice Hat

The fellow in the middle row, fourth from right looks eerily out of place amongst this group.

The Man in the Derby Hat

The hard guys aren't so scary. You'd know where you stood with them. But the one in the derby hat and pince nez glasses worries me. He's got that socially-prominent-looter-of-family-trusts look about him. Count the spoons!


This is their opponent's stadium -- after these guys finished with them and it.

That's not a junkpile.

The picture was taken in front of the locker room after an overly exuberant pep talk from the coach.

Lunch Time

This is the perfect location for a team photo based on the looks of some of these rounders.

A few look like they snack on scrap lumber and gnaw on steel grating. Maybe three lack the grim expression of someone who just that morning got sentenced to death for gassing their mothers.

Tough game then, tough lot of men in this grouping, but either with little talent or other school teams were far tougher. Their record was 3 wins, 4 losses and 2 ties. Virginia beat them 55-0.

The school finally gave up football in 1966. They started in 1881.

Lumbering backfield

You could run up a tree with those cleats.

Scary look of intent.

No wonder that there was so many deaths in football back then. In 1923 at Iowa State, Jack Trice, their first black football player wrote, "My thoughts just before the first real college game of my life: The honor of my race, family & self is at stake. Everyone is expecting me to do big things. I will. My whole body and soul are to be thrown recklessly about the field tomorrow. Every time the ball is snapped, I will be trying to do more than my part. On all defensive plays I must break through the opponents' line and stop the play in their territory. Beware of mass interference. Fight low, with your eyes open and toward the play. Watch out for crossbacks and reverse end runs. Be on your toes every minute if you expect to make good. Jack." He died from injuries suffered in the game.

Football Team or Rogues' Gallery?

Yes, I am being unkind and prejudicial; however, one look at the faces of this motley crowd calls to mind a rogues' gallery.

Charming location for a photo op.


Nothing like a team picture in front of a junk pile!

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