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November 9, 2019

1894 Univ of Penna Pendant

The 1894 University of Pennsylvania football team was arguably the Quakers at their finest, going 12-0 and outscoring their opponents 366 to 20.  Key victories were against Harvard, Cornell and Princeton.  After defeating Princeton 12-0 in Trenton, Princeton faculty mandated to "discontinue their contests with UPenn on account of the intense feeling of rivalry between the institutions, which would lead to undue roughness and engender more bitter feelings".  Princeton refused to play University of Pennsylvania for another 42 years!  UPenn tried to schedule a game with undefeated Yale for the 1894 Championship but Yale refused.  There were a record five players on the 1894 UPenn team which would later be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame - Charles Gelbert, George Brooke, Winchester Osgood, Charles Wharton and John Minds.

Below is a wonderful pendant of this 1894 championship team.  This vertical "T" style pin with catch is approximately 3 5/8 by 1 11/16 inches in diameter.  Constructed in nickeled brass with a clear celluloid of the Quaker team by Torsch & Lee, a 19th century silk badge company out of Baltimore MD.  

Big thanks to our friends at 'Football of Yore' for helping us track down this artifact.  They have a fantastic blog on 19th century football memorabilia from their impressive private collection.  Pay them a visit at

October 20, 2019

Richard Simmons

Richard H. Simmons was born July 5, 1869 in Penzance, England and was eighteen months old when he came to America. He attended the local schools of Shamokin PA and began work as a clerk in a drug store. In 1890 he enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with his Medical Degree in 1893. During his Penna days he played left end for the varsity football team from 1891-93. After graduation he established a successful medical practice, was a Medical Officer in the US Army during WW1 and medical inspector with the Pennsylvania State Department. Dr. Simmons passed away on July 31, 1948.

Below are Dr. Simmons 1891 UPenn football skull cap and stockings.  The stockings unfortunately shrunk after being washed in 1969.  

Richard Simmons 1891 skull cap

Richard Simmons football stockings

Richard Simmons knit cap (circa 1892)

Big thank you to Ellen Campbell and the Simmons family for this wonderful contribution.  The above items will be featured in a future traveling exhibit by our friends at

Charles Gelbert's 1894 Championship Gold Ring

A signet gold ring by Simons & Brother Jeweler was crafted for each starting member of the Championship 1894 University of Pennsylvania football team.  A similar silver ring was given to the team substitutes.  The ring is engraved along the top with "UofP" and "1894" with a football in the center.  Along both sides are crescent moons.  Along the inner band is engraved "Charles S Gelbert, Left End".  If you look closely at the 1895 University of Pennsylvania football team photo you can see Dr. Gelbert wearing this exact ring on his left ring finger (see below).  This particular ring was subsequently resized for his son, which smoothed out a portion of the inner etching.


Charles Gelbert's 1896 Football Silver hairbrush

This silver hairbrush was awarded to each starting member of the 1896 University of Pennsylvania football team.  The 4 x 3.5 inch wooden hairbrush is covered along the top with silver plating.  A second gold plate is centered on the top, with red (UofP) and blue (1896) enamel over a raised football.  Engraved along the top is "CSGJr", representing the initials of Charles Saladin Gelbert Jr.  Along the bottom is engraved "Left Half Back", his primary position in 1896.  Charles Gelbert was a 3x All-American for the University of Pennsylvania from 1894-96, where he played guard, left end and half-back.  

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