OUR EARLIER COLLEGES: THEIR ATHLETICS AND AMUSEMENTS
THERE were no athletics in the modern sense in the earlier colleges. We find no record of any intercollegiate contests for more than two hundred years after Harvard was founded. In the Laws and Customs of Harvard, the freshmen were required to "furnish batts, balls and footballs for the use of the students, to be kept at the Buttery." There were, of course, class rushes and other rough sports, but no systematic training or scientific play of any kind. All games of chance, as well as bowling, billiards, etc., were either unknown or forbidden. There was a custom at Harvard
No athletics in modern sense. Rough sports.
"for the Sophomores to challenge the Freshmen to a wrestling match. If the Sophomores were thrown, the Juniors gave a similar challenge. If these were conquered, the Seniors entered the list, or treated the victors to as much wine, punch, etc., as they chose to drink. Being disgusted with these customs, we (Class of 1796) held a class meeting early in our first quarter, and voted unanimously that we should never send a Freshman on an errand; and, with but one dissenting voice, that we would not challenge the next class that should enter to wrestle."1
Neither Peirce in 1830, nor Quincy in 1840, mention sports, games or athletics in any way in their histories of Harvard. In President Maclean's history of Princeton written in 1876, and in most of the earlier college histories, college sports and especially intercollegiate games are substantially unnoticed. Such sports were introduced in connection with boat racing.
The first intercollegiate race was on August 3, 1852, at Lake Winnipiseogee, between the Harvard Oneida and the Shawmut of Yale, the former winning by about two lengths over a two-mile
First intercollegiate boat races.