More than twenty-five of the University's former athletes in addition to the undergraduate "H" men were present at the Varsity Club luncheon yesterday. President Eliot introduced by Mr. George B. Morison '83, president of the Club, as "one of Harvard's foremost athletes", told the story of how crimson was chosen as the University color. At the time when President Eliot rowed, two graduates were in the boat, as there were not men enough in the college who were interested in rowing to fill a six-oared shell. There were no finances to pay for outside help, and so all the care of the boat was done by the oarsmen. In the regatta, which was to be raced against 13 other crews, the University men were without a distinctive uniform. In order to have some characteristic sign, Mr. Eliot and the stoke went into Hovey's store on Summer Street, and from a collection of bright colored handkerchiefs, selected a red Chinese silk one as the best. The men on the crew tied these handkerchiefs around their heads in the race on the following day. As no colleges had colors at this time, the adoption of this to represent the University was a new step. The University color was later changed to magenta, and then again became crimson, because it was found that the magenta color faded.
Other well known athletes who were at the dinner were: Robert Gould Shaw '69, Thomas C. Thacher '82, George P. Keith '83, who played football against Walter Camp on a rainy day in which the contestants plastered their hands with pitch to get a better grip on the ball: Philip M. Sears '89, Thomas W. Slocum '90, F. W. Moore '93, Norman Bingham '95, Dr. L. D. Shepard '96, Arthur Beale '97, Hugh Hancroft '97, Arthur Adams '99, James Lawrence '01, John W. Hallowell '01, G. P. Gardner '10, who won his "R" in four sports; Lothrop Withington '11, Walter Trumbull '15, and A. R. Bright '19.