Princeton-Harvard football: A history in pictures


1877: Princeton’s 1877 squad was the first to beat Harvard (and the first to lose to the Crimson – the teams played twice that year.) Now entering its 103rd game, the Princeton-Harvard series trails only Princeton-Yale on the Tigers’ list of most-played rivalries.  (Athletics at Princeton: A History)


1921: Seven years after Palmer Stadium’s opening, the Tigers still were winless against the Crimson in their new home. With 50,000 fans looking on, Princeton’s Ralph Gilroy ’23 turned a short pass into a 65-yard touchdown play with five minutes remaining, and the Tigers held on for a 10-3 victory. To view this post as a slide show, click on the image above. (Bric-a-Brac)

1926: On game day, the Harvard Lampoon stoked the rivalry by rolling out a phony edition of the Harvard Crimson that reported, among other things, the death of Princeton coach Bill Roper. The Tigers won, 12-0, in a game that PAW reporter Hugh McNair Kahler 1904 called “indescribably intense” but cleanly played. Still, bad blood had been building for several years, and in the weeks that followed, Princeton and Harvard announced plans to suspend their series. (PAW Archives)

1934: Harvard captain Herman Gundlach and Princeton captain Mose Kalbaugh ’35, right, shook hands at midfield before the game that restored the two schools’ rivalry. The Tigers won, 19-0. Since then, the series has endured just one interruption, from 1943-45, due to World War II. (PAW Archives)

1957: Eight days after the death of legendary coach Charlie Caldwell ’25, the Tigers traveled to Cambridge and earned a 28-20 come-from-behind win, a crucial step in Princeton’s first official Ivy League championship. (The league formed in 1956.) Running back Mike Ippolito ’60, above, scored three touchdowns in the game. (The Daily Princetonian Larry Dupraz Digital Archives)

1969: Ellis Moore ’70, above, may have been the greatest Crimson killer of his era. He ran for five touchdowns – still a Princeton single-game record – in a 45-6 Princeton rout in 1967 and racked up three more scores in a 51-20 win two years later. (Bob Matthews/PAW Archives)
PU football vs. Harvard2006: Trailing by four points in the fourth quarter, Jeff Terrell ’07 drove the Tigers 61 yards in eight plays, throwing to Brendan Circle ’08 for the game-winning touchdown. Princeton would finish the year 9-1, win the Big Three championship, and share the Ivy League title with Yale. (© Beverly Schaefer)

4 thoughts on “Princeton-Harvard football: A history in pictures

  1. Brandon B.

    Thank you for sharing the history of the rivalry between Princeton and Harvard football teams. The old photograph are great and really added to my appreciation of the rivalry tradition between the two schools.

  2. Brett Tomlinson, PAW


    Thanks for your comment. PAW’s game coverage back then included a condensed play-by-play. Here’s the description of the game-winning touchdown drive:

    “Eichelberger takes Gahan’s kickoff on the 12, retreats to the seven in order to find running room and is downed there. Martin pulls the Tigers out of a hole by skirting the right side for 16 yards. Bracken slants off right end for two yards, then throws to Pierce for 19 yards and a first down at the 46. Bracken goes off tackle for one, is hit in the backfield for a loss of three, then throws to Pierce for 11 yards. Still a yard short of the first down, Princeton goes for it and makes it as Martin picks up two around right end. Martin goes up the middle three times and picks up a first down at the Harvard 32. Bracken breaks through the left guard spot for 18 yards. Bracken hits the middle for two, Martin goes off tackle for five, Bracken bulls down to the three-yard line for the first down. Martin sweeps right end for two, picks up a half yard up the middle, and then goes over the middle of the line for the score. Garcia converts. Princeton 18, Harvard 14.”

  3. Peter Kashatus '68

    Sorry. My previous comment incorrectly referred to the Princeton _ Harvard game of 1967. It was in fact the Princeton – Harvard game of 1966.

  4. Peter Kashatus '68

    I’m sorry you omitted one of the most exciting Princeton – Harvard games in the series when in 1967 Princeton drove 95 yards late in the game to score the winning touchdown and then held off a Harvard drive in the final minutes to seal the victory. A classic picture in the NY Times shows a jubilant Princeton defense throwing helmets into the air as the officials signal 1st down for Princeton after measuring a 4th down attempt by the Crimson in their final drive of the game thus ending Harvard’s undefeated season and earning a tie for the Ivy title.


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