Two parts of my research on early (1887-1917) Notre Dame football are the mini-bio’s of 370 players and short summaries of the 197 games. I have tried to enliven the bios with various details about neither ND nor football, and spice up the game summaries with wildly tangential items.
Here are a few examples—
46. Monday, October 23, 1899 Notre Dame-17; Indiana-0
Five days after the Michigan game, ND hosted their in-state rival. Ernest Duncan had three (five-point) TD’s and Angus McDonald (future President of the Southern Pacific Railroad and ND’s 1931 Commencement Speaker) kicked two extra points. Perhaps future famed author Theodore Dreiser came up from Bloomington to watch the game. He was a lackluster I.U. student and didn’t return for the following year. In a few years he would become the Managing Editor of “The Delineator” (see Bill Draper bio). Dreiser’s brother was Paul Dresser (who changed his last name). Dresser wrote “On the Banks of the Wabash” and is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. When he was young, Dresser taught school in Brazil, Indiana (see Thomas Foley bio). The 1942 movie, “My Gal Sal”, was taken from a short bio of Dresser, written by Dreiser.
167. Saturday, October 17, 1914 Yale-28; Notre Dame-0
Notre Dame faced the third oldest (1701) college in the country on Yale Field, as iconic Yale Bowl would not be finished until later in the year. The oval design of Yale Bowl was copied by Michigan, whose stadium design was copied by Notre Dame. Among the Yale students who might have witnessed this game was Reinhold Neibuhr, who was finishing up his Masters of Divinity Degree. He would become one of the great theologians, credited by Martin Luther King, Jr. as being his biggest influence. Neibuhr may be best remembered for writing The Serenity Prayer. This loss ended a 27-game undefeated (24-0-3) streak for Notre Dame. The SCHOLASTIC reported on the team’s return to campus following the loss: “When the team pulled in at 2:50 last Monday, they received as big a welcome as though they were the victors: Classes were dismissed for the afternoon, and at 1:30, all the men formed at the Gym, and headed by the band marched to the Lake Shore station. When the train pulled in, cheer after cheer rent the air, in welcome to the men who had fought so well.” Knute Rockne came from the Yale “coaching tree”, begun by Walter Camp; through Amos Alonzo Stagg; and then to Jesse Harper.
Draper, William Aloysius
b. 11/10/1885, Chicago, IL; d. 6/30/1970 (84), Evanston, IL. 6’2, 172.
At ND, 1899-1907. At a time when Notre Dame was known for having great track athletes, Bill Draper was one of the best. Athletic Manager. WWI-Ridgeway Publishing Company. In 1928, he placed an ad in the ALUMNUS, which mentioned his years at Notre Dame, with the quote: “Great Years at the Greatest School of All!” and listed his title as Advertising Manager, “Delineator Magazine”, of Chicago. One of the early Managing Editors of the “Delineator” was Theodore Dreiser. On his WWII Draft Registration, Bill was working for McCall Corporation (“Redbook”, McCall’s”, “The Saturday Review”, and “Popular Mechanics”), whose President was Marvin Pierce, descendent of President Franklin Pierce and father of future First Lady Barbara Bush. Bill was Vice President, Notre Dame Alumni Association.
Foley, Thomas Francis
b. 9/13/1889, Terre Haute, IN; d. ? 5’11, 180.
At ND, 1906-1908, 1910-1911. Mother born in Ireland. At one time, his dad, James P. and uncle, John, owned "Foley Brothers: Hats, Caps, and Furs", in Terre Haute. In 1891, according to records on Ancestry.com, his dad owned “180 acres…a farm, store, sawmill, & several coal mines”, near Brazil, Indiana. Jimmy Hoffa and Orville Redenbacher were both born in Brazil, IN. Two years later, Mr. Foley was elected City Treasurer, of Terre Haute. A few years later, the family was living in the gold mining town of Cripple Creek, CO (population 1,189, in 2010). Tom is mentioned by Rockne, in his autobiography (The Autobiography of Knute Rockne, Indianapolis, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1931): “In the meantime I had sat at the feet of a learned tramp athlete whose name was then Foley, although he had played for many schools under aliases.” Rockne went on to speak against “…journeyman players who’d leave new names behind them wherever they went…taking loyalty and sometimes talent with them to whichever alma mater would give them the best break”. Married Sadie Huyler, in El Paso, TX, November 2, 1916. June 2, 1917-living at parent’s home, no longer married, and working as Deputy Sheriff for the District Attorney’s Office of the City & County of Denver, CO. Same info, in 1920 Census. His older brother, William E., was the D.A., 1917-1921.