The Lost Century of American Football

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Click image to view on Amazon


800 Pages – 500 Articles – 500 Images – 500,000 words

“…The best single volume of primary sources on nineteenth-century football … a treasure trove for sports historians … immeasurably enhanced by hundreds of photographs and illustrations … a boon to teachers preparing class presentations … a good example of the value of the book for researchers, teachers, and fans of the game…” excerpt from review by Gerald R. Gems in the Journal of Sport History

American football was born in the 19th century, when the only sources of sports information were articles and illustrations printed in newspapers and magazines. This volume is a time capsule of hundreds of reports from the dawn of the game. Without these accounts, the inventive spirit and athletic vitality of football’s formative century would be lost in history.

Click to see the Introduction and Index and Quotations from the book.

This illustrated historical anthology includes articles from more than 100 source publications across the nation: New York, California, Texas, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Colorado, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Virginia, Minnesota, Utah, Maine, Arizona, Ohio, Michigan, and more. National publications include Harper’s Weekly, Leslie’s Weekly, and Outing Magazine.

Lively illustrations by Frederic Remington, Winslow Homer, Charles Dana Gibson, A.B. Frost, T. de Thulstrup, and other artists visually introduced the sport to millions of Americans.

Witness the invention of rules we now take for granted, feel the intense team passion of the players and fans, see the colorful pageantry surrounding the game, and learn the origins of fundamental features of the sport.

The number of players on a team, the line of scrimmage, the shape of the ball, the lines on the field, the scoring system, specialized positions, blocking for the ball carrier, holding penalties, the development of coaching, diagrammed plays, protective equipment, and raising a hand to indicate a fair catch.

Readers will be surprised by the extent of media coverage devoted not only to the game itself, but also to off-the-field issues of broader social significance that continue to stir debate to this day.

Themes include the role of college athletics in the educational system, eligibility standards for high school recruits, distinctions between professional and amateur status, financial disputes, ticket scalpers, public intoxication, unruly fans, gambling, sportsmanship, brutality, and the modern concept of masculinity.

This comprehensive illustrated anthology is an absorbing process of historical discovery that will enrich a modern fan’s understanding and appreciation of the gridiron game.

Entertaining and educational, an essential resource for libraries, sportswriters, fans, players, students, scholars, art lovers and history buffs.

Several of the articles were written by Walter Camp, the “Father of American Football.” Caspar Whitney‘s influential Amateur Sport column is also prominently excerpted. William Henry Lewis, the first African-American named to the All-American team, is one of the authors and is featured in several photographs.

The authors provide first-hand accounts of football in a notorious Civil War prison camp, the tradition of football on Thanksgiving Day, the split from rugby and soccer, the origin of the Army-Navy game, the national prominence of the Carlisle Indian team, the Stanford-Cal rivalry, the Midwestern powerhouses, the first East-West game, the rise of football in the South, and the innovator behind the infamous Flying Wedge.

The Lost Century of Sports Collection publishes compilations and classic works honoring America’s sporting heritage.

Click to see the Introduction and Index and Quotations from the book.

The Lost Century of American Football is available on Amazon.