1894 Walter Camp Handwritten Letter - "Father of American Football"

Sold For: $600

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 2210

Item Year: 1894

Category: Football/Basketball/Hockey/Boxing/Other Sports

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One-page handwritten letter signed by Walter Camp (1859-1925), the "Father of American Football." The letter, dated September 15, 1894, on New Haven Clock Company letterhead, reads "My Dear Mr. Bishop, What have I done! Mrs. Bishop will never forgive me I am sure for starting you off on the downward road of a beef eater. However here is the detail. I am proud to have secured a convert. My regard to Mrs. Bishop and the children. Yours most sincerely Walter Camp. Both the text and signature have been scripted in black fountain pen, with the text grading "9" overall and the signature grading "8." Camp was the Stanford football coach in 1894. This is the first Walter Camp letter we have ever offered and the earliest example we have seen (the few that have come to auction mostly date from the 1920s and are typed-signed examples). The New Haven Clock Company was a Camp family business, and Walter Camp is identified within the letterhead as the company's "Sec'y and Ass't Treas." Although making clocks was a noble profession, Camp's fame today rests upon his contributions to the game of football. Camp, who was a star player at Yale, later enjoyed a successful coaching career at both Yale (1888-1892) and Stanford (1894-1895). During his seven-year coaching tenure, he was responsible for many of the early innovations in the game and won three National Championships. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. The letter (8.5 x 5.5 inches) displays three horizontal and vertical folds, as well as five small pieces of clear tape affixed along the edges from its once having been mounted in an album. In Very Good condition overall. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Pre certified by Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. Reserve $200. Estimate (open).

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