SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Old-School Football

College and high-school football a century ago, when the helmets were leather and sportsmanship was the name of the game. For maximum impact, use Full-Screen mode at 1080p resolution (click "Play," select 1080p, then click the icon).

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The Missing Link

mwernst, Ya beat me to it. The similarity between what they're doing in 1903 and rugby is so startling it's like seeing a photo of the missing link between man and ape.

Which makes you wonder, why did they modify the game in the first damn place. Why not just play rugby?

The Old Cliche

You can definitely see where the expression "three yards and a cloud of dust" came from.

Re: Unknown Teams c: 1920

The building in the background of the last clip is Bancroft Hall, the Midshipmens dormitory at the U. S. Naval Academy, so one of the teams is presumably Navy.


You can really see the evolution of modern football from rugby in these pics. The forward pass wouldn't be around for a few more years. Just a whole lot of rucking and mauling. Good fun!

Brutal game!

Football was brutal before the forward pass. I read just recently that 18 players died in 1905 before it was finally allowed.

Loved the video!

Just Great

Ha! That's fantastic, well done Ken, love it! 100 years is nothing, I'm nearly half that (though I stil think I'm young) but that seems like light years away.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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