Dated September 1892, this stunning little piece of Trinity history was in a recent auction of sports memorabilia in Chicago. Lee Smith (Trinity MA ’72, Economics), brought to our attention and helped us acquire this “carte-de-visite”–surely one of the earliest “football cards” produced. According to the auction description, “One of the top teams of the day was Trinity College, they played such teams as Harvard, Yale and even crushed Columbia 54-0. The uniformed players are identified as George Hartley and Richard Henry Macauley with a great inscription on the verso: ‘Presented to Miss Edith Ward by her latest conquest. The Freshman Richard Henry Macauley.'”
According to his student file in the Trinity Archives, while Richard Henry Macauley ’95 may have been Miss Edith Ward’s “latest conquest,” he married a Miss Sarah Tainter Bulkeley–the youngest daughter of Lt. Governor William H. Bulkeley (CT)–the year he graduated. He was from Detroit, and worked in his father’s wholesale millinery company for 5 years after graduation, and then four years on his own; his company went bankrupt, after which he entered the insurance business and eventually became manager of the Eastern Michigan branch of Aetna Life Insurance. He died on September 13, 1928 at age 55. In the 1906 College Bulletin he is listed as a graduate member of the “Medusa Society” and an honorary member of “The Royal Egyptian String Octette.”
We have less information so far on the senior, George Derwent Hartley ’93, a native New Yorker and son of an Episcopal clergyman. He was captain of both the football and baseball teams at Trinity during his senior year, was a banker & broker in New York by 1917, and apparently died in San Francisco in 1931, at the age of 62. Hartley was also a donor to the library, giving us an impressive rarity, which is described at great length in the College Bulletin of 1904 (pp. 7-12)–an English translation of John Calvin’s Institutio Christianae Religionis (The Institution of Christian Religion), published in London in 1587.
Last fall I got a call from a man in Illinois who said he had bought three 19th-century letters on e-Bay related to the Watkinson family, and did we want them? I admitted we were interested, since we are the main repository of Watkinson family papers, asked for a few details, which he provided, and then I asked what he wanted for them. “I want to give them to you,” he said, and continued, “I like to buy historical letters and documents like this, and if I find a place were they belong, I like to give them away.”
I was both astounded and pleased, of course, and I wish there were a thousand more like him.
The letter shown here was written March 18 & 19, 1827 by our founder, David Watkinson, to his brother, John R. Watkinson, asking the latter to represent David’s interest in an insurance claim. “I am requested by the Hartford Fire Insurance Company to . . . persuade you to accompany one of our Directors to Jewit [sic] City to appraise the damage . . .” A fire broke out in Jewett City, and the claimants estimated $20,000 in damages, to which David comments, “probably their property destroyed was not worth more than half the amount.”
The Watkinson is a favorite stop for those touring the College Library, and we have given half a dozen tours this summer to kids from the magnet school across the street from Trinity. Most of these middle school kids shuffle through without asking questions, but I often hear later that they are really interested. Certainly the highpoint this year is our demonstration of a 1920’s victrola that we do–it is amazing for them to see a non-electronic device produce music fit to dance to! See the play in action on our previous post.