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Lot # 1493 (of 1743)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1903 Harvard Football Panorama - Possibly the First Game in Harvard Stadium against Dartmouth!

Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $588

Exceptional panoramic football photograph capturing the overflow crowd at the newly built Harvard Stadium 1903. The photographer's credit, "Copyright by Elmer Chickering & Co./1903," which is handwritten in black fountain pen, appears in the lower right corner. Elmer Chickering, as most baseball collectors are aware, was an extremely prominent Boston studio photographer who is responsible for virtually all of the quality images we have today of the Boston Nationals in the 1890s. Obviously, his talents extended to panoramic work as well. The copyright date on this piece is important. Harvard Stadium, which was the first permanent concrete stadium of its kind in the country, was dedicated on November 14, 1903. Harvard's opponent on that date was Dartmouth and they closed out their 1903 schedule by hosting Yale the following week, on November 21st. Therefore, this photo must represent one of those two contests. Given what we know, it seems more likely to be from the first game on November 14th. The setting is clearly Harvard Stadium and one can easily see a large school flat bearing an "H" displayed at the top of the grandstand. The only other 1903 Harvard football panorama taken at the newly built Harvard Stadium that we could find resides in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. That example, also produced by Chickering, clearly captures the action from the first game at Harvard Stadium against Dartmouth. Interestingly, the Library of Congress photo, which encompasses nearly the entire field and captures the teams in action, was taken from a similar perspective (at the far corner end of the grandstand) but at the other end of the field. In the offered photo, only about a third of the playing field is visible and none of the players. Also significant is the fact that Chickering's copyright notice on this piece is handwritten, not stamped in white as on the Library of Congress piece. This may have been one of many different panoramic photos taken by Chickering on November 14th, so that he could capture every aspect of the new stadium. The example in the Library of Congress might represent the photo Chickering eventually settled on for his "final" print, whereas the offered photo was possibly one of a number of variations that were so considered. Further supporting the probability that this photo captures the first game at Harvard Stadium is the fact that we have been unable to discover any photos from the Yale game the following week. Given the time and expense it takes to produce panoramic photos such as this, it is highly probable that Chickering was hired to capture the historic opening of the stadium and not the second game, even though it was against longtime rival Yale. This is truly remarkable, historically significant, and rare Harvard football panorama dating from one of the first two games ever played at Harvard Stadium. The photo (29.5 x 9.5 inches), which is printed on thick stock, has some minor surface wear, including a few small abrasions and edge tears/chips, and light fading in a few areas, but displays beautifully. In Very Good condition. It remains housed in what appears to be its original wood frame (34 x 13.5 inches). Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+ SOLD FOR $588


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