One of the most fascinating  of the early (1887-1917) Notre Dame football players is Daniel Casey...

Here’s the mini-bio I have put together on him:

Casey, Daniel Vincent

b. 3/14/1873, Crawfordsville, IN; d. 9/12/1943 (70), Crawfordsville, IN.  5 11’ ½, 165.

At ND 1899-1896.  Father born in Ireland.  Starting right guard, 1894-1895, playing all nine games and never leaving the field.  Scored five TD’s and eight extra points.  Elected Vice President, campus Temperance Society-1892.  First honor diploma-1893.  Won the Meehan Medal for Excellence in English-1895.  Football Captain, 1895.  Two years as Editor in Chief of the SCHOLASTIC.  Spanish American War correspondent for the “Chicago Record”.  Vice President Notre Dame Alumni Association, 1909-1910.  His WWI Draft Registration listed his occupation as Editor & Manager of “The Spy Glass” of the American Protective League.  The APL was a “volunteer auxiliary” force of tens of thousands of private citizens who worked with federal law enforcement agencies to look for German sympathizers during WWI.  Newspaper Advertising, Glen Buck Advertising Agency, Chicago; Publicity Director, Irving National Bank, NYC; Editor, “System” Magazine.  In 1934 he was coaching the adult CYO basketball team of St. Joachim, in Chicago.  He wrote many poems while a student.  He wrote the “class poem” in 1895:

Hope and Life.—Class Poem

"Spes Unica"—The University's Motto.

LIFE without hope is death, a starless night,

With ne'er a promise of the coming day.

The murky gleam of cities, wan and gray

Upon the troubled sky, all earthly light.

The leaden clouds press on in sullen flight,

But ever others, as the first give way.

Crowd fast upon them in a wild array, 

And peace comes not until the dawning bright.

Doubt is the cloud-rack that shuts in the earth

To death, and sorrow, and the dull despair

Of broken vows and high resolves betrayed.

But hope is mighty, courage takes-fresh, birth

With day's first radiant sunbeam; and the air

is vibrant with new forces, undismayed.


No man is lost who hopes—though stars grow dim

And sunrise is not seen for dashing waves;

Though no faint glimmer lightens up the caves

Of rayless gloom, and upward, from the rim

Of the dark world, we see no dear ship swim;

And from our desolation no hand saves.

No heart the comfort offers our heart craves,

Faith falters not, and life is one brave hymn.

Fear means but death; hope is the soul of joy—

There is no joy without expectancy;

Existence is a dull and heartless thing,

A bauble slight, a foolish, fragile toy,

When life from the gold chain of hope is free—

Free—but a wounded bird oh feeble wing.


Faith guarded Colon from the courtier's art.

The doubting sneer, the cutting laugh of scorn;

It led him through the darkness to that morn

Off Salvador, when, mist-veils rent apart,

He saw the dream-world of his fancy start '

To light and life; and glory yet unborn

Shone round him, and forgotten was hate's thorn;

For heaven and earth are for the brave of heart.

Hope sped before him o'er the trackless sea;

Hope spread her wings and sheltered his sad soul

When human love had perished all for him;

Hope led him through the land of poverty

And drew him, spite of doubting, to the goal,

Here, in our land, where faith is never dim.


Friends, let us to-day remember this:

That hope is power; the world is ours, if we

Have faith enough—to hope, it is to be

Forever in a world promised bliss.

To know, in darkest days, the vital kiss

Of joy to come, the glory of the three.

Of Faith and Love and Hope—life's Trinity;

But doubts are traitors and all joy we miss. 

Comrades and friends, in this place made by men

Whose lives were led by hope's transcending light,

Here, 'neath the shadow of the cross they reared.

Faith bids us hope until the death time, then— "

Hope lost in faith and ended the long fight—

We, conquering, will wonder that we feared.


Daniel wrote MANY poems…’s one, from 1894, about his football uniform:


To My Football Suit


Farewells I've spoken

And fond ties broken.

But, by this token,

O canvas mine.

My best endeavor

Is vain to sever,

I find, forever.

This bond of thine!

Oft have I worn thee,

Long would I mourn thee

If fate had torn thee

And me apart.

Though stains deface thee

They do but grace thee.

Naught can replace thee

In my fond heart.

Thy seams are ragged.

Thy edges jagged.

Thy knees all bagged,

Thy rents, a score;

But thou art dearer.

Thy beauties clearer.

My love sincerer.

Than e'er before.

Thou'rt rather muddy, .

A trifle bloody.

Thou art quite a study.

In gray and red;

But gold can't buy thee.

Or ragman eye thee.

Or soap come nigh thee.

Till love is dead.



He was quite a talented young man.  I found his occupation as Editor of “The Spyglass” when I located his passport application (the internet is wonderful!).  I had never heard of the American Protective League which sponsored this newspaper, so I did a little research on it.  I learned that Bill Mills had written a book, The League,  “The True Story of Average Americans on the Hunt for WWI Spies”.  It’s a fine book.  Unfortunately, Bill did not mention our man, Dan Casey.  Fortunately, I was able to locate Bill, in Concord, MA and had a great phone call with him.

He sent me this note and the attachments in this message, along with an earlier note:

Hi Cappy,

I have attached three items that may assist you.  (Two are in one attachment) The first is a brief mention of Daniel Casey as the editor of the Spy Glass found in Emerson Hough's 1919 APL history The Web.  The second item is the front page of the July 12 1918 issue that has an article titled "About the Spy Glass" that was almost certainly written by Casey. The last item is the entire July 1918 issue which has an article titled "The League and Dissolution" with Casey's initials at the end and was written by him.  This is a very significant article.  During the war League members never identified themselves other than by badge number, even in official Bureau of Investigation reports.  When they were sworn in, each member took a vow never to reveal their membership in the APL.  By adding his initials, Casey is emphasizing that the views expressed in this article are from him and not from Briggs, Elting, or Frey.  In the article Casey reiterates the position of the APL National Directors that it would be wrong for the League to continue as a secret police during peacetime.  Although the APL began as an idealistic concept to help America, due to the passage of laws that became ever more draconian, by mid-1918 the League had become a secret organization being used to deny U.S. citizens their consitituional rights.  Casey's legacy is well-served by his having published this final article.  Hope that these items help and good luck with your project!



Hi Cappy,

I found a lead article in the Spy Glass that was almost certainly written by Casey and an article that was definitely written by him (has his DVC initials) as well as a brief paragraph from The Web that notes that he was the editor of the Spy Glass.  I will email you copies of these pages tomorrow. 

There are two letters written by Casey listed in the UCLA Young Research library finding aid for the Charles Daniel Frey collection, and two letters that were written to Casey by Frey also listed.  You could contact the library to hire a research assistant to have copies of these letters made.  It would not take long and I can't imagine that you would be charged very much.





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