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    1875 Columbia vs. Princeton College Football Championship Program. We offer our sincere gratitude to Ms. Amanda Hawk of the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library at Princeton University for her invaluable assistance in researching this remarkable early artifact, quite possibly the only surviving example of this early football program (Ms. Hawk confirms that none exists in the Princeton archives). The November 13, 1875 game for which the publication was issued is recounted in Athletics at Princeton: A History, by Frank Presbrey and James Moffatt. The book notes that the rules of football had begun to diverge among the main collegiate forces in 1875, with Princeton remaining true to the original Association football rules, involving more kicking than carrying, and utilizing a round rubber ball. Harvard and Yale, on the other hand, had moved away from the Association and were playing according to English Rugby rules, a conflict which made a gridiron meeting with Princeton impossible. As such, Princeton met only two teams in 1875: Stevens Institute, which they defeated six to zero, and Columbia, a six to two victory recounted on the rear cover of the presented program.

    Though modest in its 5.5x7.25" dimensions (when open, as in the images), the program represents an enormously important stage of collegiate football's early evolution. It's intriguing to note that this very date of November 13, 1875 likewise marks the first gridiron contest between Harvard and Yale, the start of the longest football rivalry in NCAA history. The number of football programs predating the presented example which have appeared at auction in the last decade could be counted on a single hand, and none of these claim Championship notoriety.

    The lightly toned paper stock program features an elegantly designed front cover noting the date and combatants, and opens to reveal the rosters of the Columbia and Princeton squads. The back cover of the four-page relic reveals the hand-scored results of the game, apparently initially applied in pencil and soon after enhanced with fountain pen ink for posterity. Some minor toning and wrinkling causes no genuine concern, and must certainly be excused in light of the tremendous scarcity and historical relevance.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2010
    22nd-23rd Thursday-Friday
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