The Path to Public Service at SEAS


Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum


Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President


Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study


Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum

Football, as an Organized Sport, Ceased to Form Initiation Battle for Freshmen, Knox Explains

Game Revived in 1871 Following Its Abolition by University Authorities


As football took on the aspect of an organized game, it ceased to be the initiating battle of the incoming freshmen; or rather football carried on during the full term while the opening Monday battle became known as the "Bloody Monday" greeting to the freshies by the sophs. It was all that the name implied, and it carried on until abolished by faculty edict sometime after the turn of the present century, in 1917; to be exact. While, as a participant during my college days, I can see some merit to the faculty's attitude, I can, however, assure you that the passing of "Bloody Monday" took away a something that used to knit the freshmen together as a unit, and it did it at the very start of the four years of college life. Nothing has even remotely replaced it as a cohering factor.

First, the football game, and subsequently "Bloody Monday" were social magnets attracting quite a few of the social elite of Boston and Cambridge every year.

Yale and Brown took up the game after the manner of the Harvard sport in the late 1850's.

The battle to abolish football along about 1860 was no more ably waged by those against it than by its defenders who boldly proclaimed, "We need more games; more cricket, symnaeiums, and exercise of every kind. One after another the old institutions of our college life are disappearing. Cling with greater tenacity to the rest. They will be among the pleasantest recollections of after years."

Given an untimely death in 1860 by the dear faculty, very elaborate ceremonies accompanied the burial. But the game went on; the students went to Boston or nearby places to play it for a year or so.

Because many school boys in and about Boston had played the game and continued to play after graduation, the game, when it was openly revived and modified or codified in 1871, was known as "Boston."

You might be interested to know what desperate characters played on the Harvard team of 1871 because foot-ball has always been classed in the minds of certain people with desperadoes, public enemies, and what-not!

On the '71 team were Arthur Cabot, later a leading surgeon and member of the Harvard Corporation; Robert Grant, later the beloved Judge Grant; Henry Grant, his brother; Charlie Prince, the banker; Henry Morse; William O. Sanger, Assistant Secretary of War under Teddy Roosevelt; George Wigglesworth, later member of the board of Overseers and President of the Alumni Association; W. R. Tyler, later Head Master of Adams Academy; and many others who proved to be quite as good citizens as those who were decrying football.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.