At first, nearly two-thirds of the students were fraternity members; but the extraordinary growth of the University soon reduced the proportion of fraternity men. This came partly as a result of the relative slowness of the national bodies to establish new chapters in competition with the societies already on the ground, and partly because of the reluctance of the fraternities themselves to increase the size of their chapters or to take in students from the purely professional schools. For these reasons the percentage of fraternity men was reduced to about one-third the total number of students, a proportion which remained fairly constant for many years. The rise of fraternities in the professional schools and the comparatively recent establishment of many new fraternities, however, has brought the percentage up somewhat, though the growth in general attendance during the same period has prevented any marked increase in the relative numbers of fraternity members over the "independents."
Following the establishment of the first three fraternities, Chi Psi and Beta Theta Pi in 1845 and Alpha Delta Phi in 1846, whose early adventures have been noted, some twenty-eight other general fraternities have been established. Among the first of these were Delta Kappa Epsilon, 1855; Sigma Phi, 1858; Zeta Psi, 1858; Psi Upsilon, 1865; Beta Theta Pi, which had lapsed and was re-established in 1867; Delta Tau Delta, 1874, re-established 1900; Phi Kappa Psi, 1875; Delta Upsilon, 1876; Sigma Chi, 1877; Phi Delta Theta, 1864, re-established in 1887; Sigma Alpha Epsilon, 1888, and Theta Delta Chi in 1889. Since 1890 this list has been more than doubled and includes the re-establishment in 1902 of Phi Gamma Delta originally established in 1885, and Alpha Tau Omega first established in 1888 and re-established in 1904.
There are now thirteen sororities in the University. The establishment of the first one caused great amusement among the fraternities. This was Kappa Alpha Theta, which came in 1879 but fell by the wayside six years later and was not revived until 1893. The second arrival on the scene, Gamma Phi Beta, came in 1882, followed by Delta Gamma in 1885, and Collegiate Sorosis in 1886. The first professional fraternity to be established was Phi Delta Phi, a law fraternity, which organized its parent chapter in the University in 1869. It was not until 1882 that the medical fraternity, Nu Sigma Nu, and the dental fraternity, Delta Sigma Delta, established their Alpha chapters at Michigan. Since that time fourteen more professional fraternities have appeared.
These fraternities, together with the three house clubs, Trigon, Emerites and Monks, which in effect are maintained as fraternities, bring the total number of these organizations in the University to sixty-four, with an estimated active membership of something over 2,000 University men and women.
The first fraternity to establish a chapter house was Alpha Delta Phi, which occupied in the college year 1875-76, the old "Octagon House," later the home of Professor Winchell, on the site of the present Hill Auditorium. The present Psi Upsilon chapter house on the corner of South University Avenue and State Street was, however, the first chapter house built for that purpose. It was erected during the year 1879-80 and preceded by four years the erection of the old Alpha Delta Phi house, the second fraternity house to be built. Sigma Phi occupied, in 1882, the old home of Professor Moses Coit Tyler, on the beautiful site of the present chapter house. The Delta Kappa Epsilon house was built in 1889; the old Governor Ashley property on Monroe Street was bought by Delta Upsilon in 1887; Zeta Psi bought the property on which the present house stands in 1890; while Phi Kappa Psi bought, in 1893, the picturesque Millen property on the triangle between Washtenaw and Hill streets they had occupied for ten years, one of Ann Arbor's landmarks which has only recently been removed to make way for a new chapter house. At the present time practically all of the fraternities either own or rent chapter houses; ordinarily purchasing the property with alumni assistance, and issuing mortgages, largely held by the alumni, or the national organization, for any unpaid balance.
A comparison of this record of fraternity establishment with similar figures from other universities will show that Michigan was one of the first of the larger institutions in which the fraternity system took deep root. Student life at Michigan has always been colored by it, and the mass of students, from the first, has been divided into fraternity and non-fraternity elements; an unofficially recognized distinction which has had far-reaching effects in all student affairs, particularly class-elections, student athletics, journalism, and general society membership. The "independent" suffers no particular social disability, save as he misses the pleasant club life of the fraternity. Often, if he is a man of marked ability, he finds his independence a distinct advantage in college affairs, for non-fraternity men have always been in sufficient majority to see that the choice positions go to the "independent" representatives. Within the fraternities, too, there has always existed a division between the older and the more recent organization which was, for a long time, almost as marked as the division between fraternity and non-fraternity men. This came through the rivalry that arose between two groups of fraternities. The first, known as the "Palladium," took its name from an annual, first published in 1859, which came to represent the interests of nine fraternities in college up to 1876, while a second group was made up of the fraternities established after that date. The break came through the establishment of an "anti-secret" fraternity, Delta Upsilon, which the older fraternities refused to recognize though it later assumed a passive role, and became merely non-secret. This organization, however, with the addition of the new fraternities as they were established, formed an opposition to the older societies who stubbornly maintained their control of the Palladium. This continued until 1891 when the Palladium finally absorbed the Castalian, the annual of the independents, and Res Gestae, the law annual, and became at last a representative University publication.
Although in 1897 the name was changed to the present Michiganensian, the spirit of the old "Palladium," as an inner ring of fraternities, still existed, particularly in the administration of the annual Junior Hop, which had been a definitely organized student event at least as far back as 1877, and had been preceded by a similar ball given by the Seniors since 1868. The older fraternities long maintained an exclusive control of the Junior Hop. But in 1896 the out-fraternities and the independents protested to the Regents, who sustained their contention, that the Hop, given in the University buildings, should include representatives from the entire Junior class. The Palladium fraternities refused to participate, and that year two "Hops" were given, one by eight fraternities in Toledo, D.K.E. not being represented, and one in the Gymnasium by the more recent fraternities and the independents. The question arose again the next year but was eventually settled by a plan of organization admitting representation upon the committee from all fraternities and the independents in rotation.
The establishment in 1914 of an Inter-Fraternity Conference marked a further step in the relations of these organizations to the University. For some time "the fraternity situation," as it was usually spoken of, had been increasingly unsatisfactory. Ideals of scholarship were low, or non-existent, in practically all of the fraternities. The Junior Hop had become so uncontrolled and extravagant that the Faculty had abolished it,—while "rushing" methods, particularly the practice of pledging boys long before they were ready for college, called for drastic action. This was strongly recommended by the Committee on Student Affairs in its 1913 Report, and the fraternities were accordingly given notice to "clean house." The result was the establishment of the Inter-Fraternity Conference and the adoption of a constitution just in time to avoid decisive action by the University authorities, but not without great opposition from the Palladium group. The most striking provisions of this constitution are: the abolition of premature pledging through a provision that all pledging must be done in Ann Arbor and not before the tenth day previous to the opening of classes; the prohibition of any freshman living in a fraternity house, a rule since modified; and most important of all, a provision that no initiate shall have less than eleven hours of credits of at least C grade, and that no student on probation or warning shall be initiated. The sororities took similar action in a provision limiting the amount and character of the rushing and establishing a fixed day for the extending of "bids" to be sent out from one central office.
These efforts have all had a most favorable effect on fraternity scholarship and general deportment, which has been further stimulated by the publication of a scholarship chart showing the exact relative standing of all the fraternities and house clubs in the University. This has revealed a gradual rise in the average of fraternity scholarship, though few fraternities, it must be acknowledged, have ever exceeded the average for the whole student body, which is between C and B grades. There is significant evidence of the success of co-education, too, in the fact that few sororities have ever fallen below this average. The publication of this chart has at least had the effect of establishing a healthy rivalry among the fraternities as regards avoiding the last place on the list, whatever their attitude may be as regards first place; while the scholastic standings of the various fraternities proved their value immediately as an argument with prospective initiates, something almost inconceivable fifteen years ago. The unequivocal evidence furnished by these charts has also led to numerous investigations and subsequent action on the part of the alumni of many of the fraternities.
Student journalism, though it reflects in the rise and fall of paper after paper the changing complexion of successive student generations, is, after all, one of the best mirrors of undergraduate life. It is no surprising matter, therefore, even though it is to be regretted, that no student journal has survived from the University's earlier period, although the Michiganensian has a gallery of ancestors which, at least, establishes its lineage. In the very earliest period, whatever literary efforts there were, were lost or preserved only in the manuscript papers of the early literary societies, which provided the only practical outlet for the student who wanted to write. Paper and printing were too expensive for actual publication, so it was not until June, 1857, that the first real student paper appeared, with the impressive title of Peninsular Phoenix and University Gazetteer, a semi-annual four page sheet whose first page was devoted to lists of University officers and secret-society members, while its existence as a gazetteer was justified by a very few "connubial" items.
The title of this publication was truly prophetic for its successor, The University Phoenix, arose from its ashes the following November,—in the form of an eight-page monthly, the first number of which was largely devoted to a long editorial, an article on the University Museum of Arts, and another on the Detroit Observatory. This was published by Green and Company, an organization which consisted of one S.B. Green, a student of the class of '60 who was a printer, and a non-existent company, though it was supposed to have the support of the three literary societies. Another publication which had appeared between the two issues of the Phoenix was the one issue of the University Register.
Though a list of fraternity men was published in all of these sheets, the fraternities were not satisfied and decided to establish a paper of their own. Thus was born, in 1859, the Palladium, a four-page paper which for some time appeared semi-annually. As the first issue was apparently listed as number 2, it is probable that it was considered the reincarnation of the Phoenix. In the issue for December, 1860, the editor reveals the fact that 800 copies were printed at a cost of $85. It was then a booklet of less than 50 pages, bound in glazed paper, with almost no literary matter included, although the first number did contain a "Freshman Song," the first bit of Michigan undergraduate verse. Eventually, as we have seen, it became part of the Michiganensian.
The Palladium was not long without a rival, which came with the establishment of the Independent, "a small quarterly of some forty violently written pages," illustrating "not only the bitter feeling between the societies and the independents, but also the hostile attitude of students towards the Faculty." It lasted for just four issues and was succeeded by the University Magazine, which quietly died after one gasp, leaving the independents with no representation until 1866 when the Castalia appeared. This survived through five issues, not to appear again until 1890 when the independents revived it as the Castalian, also merged in 1893 in the Michiganensian.
A combination of two publications which followed the old Castalia in 1867, the University Chronicle, an eight-page fortnightly of sometimes "rather hot discussions," and the University Magazine, which had been a most creditable student enterprise, produced one of the long-standing student papers, the Chronicle, the first number of which appeared in September, 1869. For the first few years of its existence, it was one of the best college papers in the country, though it made great capital of the hostile attitude of the students towards the Regents and Professors and undertook to speak boldly of "the evils that have crept into the University through the mismanagement of the Regents." It appeared at first as a large 16-page pamphlet, three columns to the page. At the same time the Chronicle was established, a sophomore annual appeared, The Oracle, which had a long and checkered career as a champion of co-education.
This triumvirate of student journals held sway with only occasional rivalry until a disputed election in 1882 resulted in the establishment of a new fortnightly, the Argonaut, as a rival to the Chronicle. This journal became a weekly in 1884. The two soon became the organs of opposing fraternity factions, and assuming a political rather than a literary character, lost ground rapidly. An eventual consolidation did not save them and the last number of the combined journals appeared in 1891. They were succeeded by two new ventures, the Daily, which was started in September, 1890, still with us as an institution in undergraduate life, and the Inlander, whose long and honorable, if somewhat spasmodic, career as a literary magazine only came to an end finally in 1918. Wrinkle, Michigan's first humorous paper, appeared in 1893 and was immediately popular. It survived until 1905, when it also died of inanition, to be succeeded after a few years by the present Gargoyle of varying merit. With the first discontinuance of the Inlander, about the same time Wrinkle died, the student body was left with only the Daily and the Michiganensian as unsatisfactory vehicles for purely literary efforts, save occasional fugitive sheets which usually passed away almost before they appeared. In 1916 the Inlander was re-established but seemed unable to make a place for itself and was succeeded in 1919 by the present Chimes. Of departmental publications only the Technic, established by the engineers in 1885, is still in existence and thus may honorably claim to be the oldest student journal in the University.
Uncertain and varying as the careers of most of these publications have been, they have filled their place in the student scheme of existence; at least they have given valuable experience to their amateur editors and publishers and have been a needed vehicle for the expression of student opinion. The long list of editors includes the names of many alumni who have made their mark, not only in the world of letters, but in many other fields. The papers that survived longest usually lived by virtue of their independence; those that died, did so because they filled no recognized need or were too crude or too conscientiously academic. Of the present-day publications, the Daily and the Michiganensian are apparently fixtures. The Daily sometimes tries all too apparently to ape the defects and not the merits of the greater journals and suffers from a constantly changing personnel and lack of experienced editors, but it is improving and benefiting through a certain degree of co-operation with the classes in journalism in the University. The editor and business manager are given a salary and are subject to close supervision by the Board in Control of Student Publications, which has so wisely administered the affairs of the various papers that a fund of some $30,000 has been saved towards the establishment of a University Press. The same is true of the Michiganensian, which has come to be of impressive bulk, and is usually on the whole a well edited and printed annual reference book with numerous illustrations and data concerning all of the student organizations. A directory of students in the University is also published under the supervision of the Board in Control as well as a tri-weekly paper, the Wolverine, by the students of the Summer Session. The alumni publication, the Michigan Alumnus, which first appeared in 1894, will be mentioned in a later chapter.
Interest in public speaking and debating has existed almost from the first days of the University, though it was only after the establishment of the Department of Oratory that instruction began to be given systematically and consecutively. Before that time, some elocutionary training had been given by Professor Moses Coit Tyler in combination with his work in English Literature, and later by President Hutchins, then instructor in Rhetoric and History, who introduced what was then known as the Junior Debates. These were continued by his successor, Isaac N. Demmon, who was to become in a few years Professor of English Literature. The great increase in the work in composition and public speaking which came with the broadening of the course of study in 1878, however, led to the abandonment of these debates and instruction in the subject fell to a low ebb until Professor Trueblood came in 1884 to give one-third of his time to this work. His success in this field eventually led to his appointment as Professor of Oratory in 1890.
But if the powers that be were slow to recognize the desire of the students for instruction in public speaking, there were many more or less unofficial avenues for those who desired to give vent to their oratorical impulses. Two escape valves existed almost from the first, the old literary societies, and the class exhibitions and Commencement programs which have been mentioned. The first literary society, Phi Phi Alpha, was organized in 1842, to be followed, after an internal struggle in the older society, by Alpha Nu, which has survived to the present time and has long been the oldest of student organizations. Adelphi, the other existing society, was not started until shortly before the demise of Phi Phi Alpha in 1860. The traditional programmes of these societies were largely orations, essays, and concluding debates in which such momentous questions as,
Resolved: That the benefits of novel reading will compensate for its injuries.
Resolved: That we have sufficient evidence for belief in ethereal spirits.
Resolved: That brutes reason.
Resolved: That woman has as much influence in the nation as man.
Resolved: That students should not form matrimonial engagements while in college.
These societies also maintained literary papers. Phi Phi Alpha had the "Castalia," Alpha Nu, the "Sybil," and Adelphi, "The Hesperian." In 1868 they established a series of prize contests, debates for sophomores and juniors, and orations for seniors. For these first and second prizes were awarded at public exhibitions, which never failed to arouse great interest. This traditional emphasis on public speaking has been maintained consistently down to the present time, and many distinguished alumni of the University have been numbered among the contestants.
For many years the two societies Alpha Nu and Adelphi have occupied two rooms on the fourth floor of University Hall, the only student organizations entirely independent of Faculty patronage thus recognized. Why they have not come to occupy the prominent place that two similar organizations hold at Princeton, the Clio and Whig societies, whose two marble temples are one of the distinguishing marks of Princeton's Campus, is a matter for speculation. Probably the fact that Princeton long remained a college while Michigan early became a university with a more inclusive curriculum, will best explain it. As it is, however, these societies have in the past done a great service for the University and deserve to survive. They are not, however, the only student organizations which have had exercise in public speaking as their reason for existence, for many such have come and gone, only to be remembered by their own student generation and by the heavy weight of their classical names. Such were a multitude of debating clubs which sprang up in the "60's" under such impressive titles as "Homotrapezoi," "Philozetian," "Panarmonian," or, in the Law Department, the less pretentious "Douglas," "Clay," and "Lincoln" Societies which were the forerunners of the present Jeffersonian and Webster Societies. A latter-day organization has been the long popular "Toastmaster's Club" which aims to perpetuate the doubtful joys of after-dinner oratory. Other means of self-expression for those oratorically bent, were those formal exhibitions of which the long-popular annual Junior Exhibition was the most prominent. Nowadays, the only vestige of student participation in programs of this character remains in the annual Class Day Exercises.
Another organization which stimulated interest in platform speaking was the Students' Lecture Association, which was until recently one of the most successful undergraduate enterprises. It was organized in September, 1854, and continued for nearly sixty years to bring distinguished and sometimes, judged by later-day standards, undistinguished speakers before student audiences. It ceased to exist in 1912, but only after the broadening interests of the University began to attract to Ann Arbor many prominent visitors whose addresses have been usually given free of charge, while at the same time the multiplication of other forms of entertainment lessened the attractions of the traditional lecture course. But an association which, in its day, brought to Ann Arbor such men as Emerson, Bayard Taylor, Horace Mann, Wendell Phillips, Theodore Parker, Henry Ward Beecher, Winston Spencer Churchill, Henry M. Stanley, Wu Ting Fang, and Presidents Harrison, McKinley, Cleveland, and Wilson, played no minor role in University life. That the privilege of hearing some of these speakers was not always properly appreciated is shown by the comments of the editor of one of the local papers on a lecture by Emerson.
The subject of the lecture was "Human Beauty," rather a singular subject, it strikes us, from so homely a man as Mr. Emerson. Mr. Emerson is not a pleasing speaker—in fact, is an awkward speaker, and yet he demands the utmost attention of every hearer.
With the gradual organization of the Department of Oratory, public speaking soon came to have a recognized place among student interests, and eventually inter-collegiate debates and contests were organized to stimulate student interest. These were first inaugurated by the Oratorical Association, which, soon after its establishment in 1889, issued an invitation to neighboring universities to form an Oratorical Union. This resulted in the Northern Oratorical League, which has long maintained an annual series of inter-collegiate contests and debates. The representatives of the University are selected only after several contests and preliminary debates in the various societies, with an average of at least fifty candidates participating. Michigan has always maintained a leading position in this form of undergraduate activity and of the twenty-nine inter-collegiate contests in which she has taken part she has won nine first honors and four second honors. The University has also participated in some sixty-four inter-collegiate debates, of which she has won forty-two; her nearest rival being Northwestern, with nine victories. Eleven of these debates were won in succession, and twenty-four by the unanimous decision of the judges.
This form of inter-collegiate rivalry has been greatly stimulated by a medal and testimonial of $85 given to the winner of the annual University Contest by the Chicago alumni and by similar prizes to the winners of the inter-collegiate contests and debates.
Interest in the drama on the part of the students was of comparatively slow development, though in recent years it has come to be one of the most conspicuous "student activities." While a "Shakespeare Club" existed as early as 1860, the stage did not hold a particularly high place in public regard in the University's earlier years, and good plays were seldom seen in Ann Arbor. The celebrated actress, Mrs. Scott Siddons, gave several recitals in the seventies, while a performance of Hamlet, given in 1879 by Lawrence Barrett, was received with the highest praise. His visit gave an impetus to dramatic affairs and led to the organization of a Barrett Club which gave a performance of Dollars and Cents in 1880—the first recorded amateur dramatic performance in the University. But it was not until two years later that the University's dramatic history may be said to have begun with the two Commencement plays, the Adelphi of Terence, given in Latin under the direction of Professor Charles M. Gayley, '74, and Racine's Les Plaideurs, in French, under Assistant Professor Paul R. de Pont of the Department of French.
From that time on interest in college dramatics steadily increased. Professor de Pont, whose interest in student life never flagged, took a leading part in the presentation of several plays, and one opera, Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe (1883), by companies of students and faculty members. Largely through his efforts a University Dramatic Club was organized in 1885 and gave such plays as A Scrap of Paper (1885) and The Memoirs of the Devil (1888), which "caused the student body to sit up and take notice." Plays of this lighter character were all that were attempted until 1890, when another Latin play, Plautus' Menaechmi, was given so successfully under the direction of Professor J.H. Drake, '85, that it was later presented in Chicago. This was the last effort in classical drama until twenty-six years later, when the Menaechmi was repeated with great success in Hill Auditorium on March 30, 1916. This was followed in 1917 by Euripides' Iphigenia Among the Taurians, given by the students in Greek, for which special music in the ancient Greek modes was written by Dr. A.A. Stanley.
The old Dramatic Club was eventually disbanded in the early '90's, only to be succeeded by another student organization, the still existing Comedy Club, which has had a varying career. Soon after its organization it became an exceedingly close corporation among certain fraternities and confined its offerings to light comedies and farces of the type that offered no great difficulties, such as The Private Secretary, All the Comforts of Home, and My Friend from India. A reorganization of the Club in 1908 made membership dependent upon real ability, and since that time Farquahar's Recruiting Officer, (1908); Barrie's Admirable Crichton, (1909); Gogol's Inspector, (1910); Percy McKaye's Scarecrow, (1914), and Barrie's Alice Sit by the Fire, (1919), are fairly representative of the plays given.
The reorganization of the Comedy Club came largely because of the successful efforts of the Deutscher Verein and the Cercle Francais, to give a series of the best plays in German and French literature. The list of these productions has been a long and creditable one, those in German including, after their first performance, Der Hochzeitsreise by Benedix, in 1904; Die Journalisten, (1906 and 1912); Minna von Barnhelm, (1908); Egmont, (1909); and Der Dummkopf, (1911). Since the French Circle made its debut in 1907, with Les Deux Timides by Labiche, and Moliere's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, several other comedies by Moliere have been most successfully given; as well as Beaumarchais' Barbier de Seville, (1909); Rostand's Les Romanesques, (1911); and Pailleron's modern comedy Le Monde ou l'On s'Ennuie, (1912).
Somewhat different from these revivals of the best in dramatic literature, have been the far more popular Michigan Union Operas, written and produced almost entirely by students. Originally designed as a means for raising funds for the Union, always needed, particularly in the earliest days, they speedily became an institution in undergraduate life. All the librettos, with one or two exceptions, have been the work of students, and the same is true of the music, which has often developed an extraordinary vein of undergraduate talent. In fact, more than once it has been the music which has given these operas their chief merit. Save for one war-time emergency, when University women participated, the entire cast has always been recruited from the men of the University and the burlesque of the "chorus girls" has always been one of the perennial charms of the opera in undergraduate estimation. The first opera, given in 1908, was entitled Michigenda and became instantly popular, not only because of its novelty and the excellence of its music, but also because its plot was built about the local color of undergraduate life, a precedent which, unfortunately, has not always been followed in later operas. The 1920 opera, George Did It, was artistically as well as financially the most successful of the Union's productions. Five or six performances are usually given in Ann Arbor, and of late years a trip during the spring vacation through the cities of Michigan and occasionally to Chicago has drawn large audiences of alumni and others, attracted by the real merit and novelty of this student effort. Not to be outdone by the men of the University, the junior class women have also, for some years, presented a similar extravaganza which, though not open to the general public, is always noted for its cleverness and real humor.
For some twelve years also a feature of the Commencement program has been the annual play given by the senior girls, usually on Tuesday evening of Commencement Week. The list of plays presented includes, She Stoops to Conquer, (1905); The Knight of the Burning Pestle, (1906); Cranford, (1908); Euripides' Alcestis, (1912), in which the classical entrance to Alumni Memorial Hall was used most effectively; Prunella, (1914); The Piper, (1916); and in 1919, Percy McKaye's A Thousand Years Ago. Within recent years, "Masques," an organization of University women, has given unusually artistic performances of Pinero's The Amazons, (1918), and Barrie's Quality Street, (1919). The Department of Oratory has also interested itself in the drama and is responsible for several well-considered presentations of such plays as Galsworthy's Silver Box; Kennedy's The Servant in the House, (1916); Ibsen's Pillars of Society, (1917); and Masefield's Tragedy of Nan, (1918).
Contemporary interest in pageantry has likewise not been without its effect in the University, as was shown by a praiseworthy though perhaps over-ambitious pageant, Joan of Arc, given under the auspices of the Woman's League on Ferry Field in 1914, and a less elaborate but more effective celebration of the Shakespeare Centenary two years later, entitled The Queen's Progress, given in Hill Auditorium. The Cosmopolitan Club, composed of the foreign students, has also taken advantage of the same spacious stage to give two elaborate entertainments in 1916 and 1917, an All-Nation Review, and The Magic Carpet.
This brief outline of student dramatic efforts in recent years reveals a multiplicity of interested organizations as well as a wide variety of offerings. Necessarily this has given rise to rivalries and sometimes inadequate preparation, though it has stimulated a vital and intelligent interest in the drama as an actual form of artistic expression. One of the greatest needs these student actors and their Faculty directors experience, is a university theater which will, in effect, be an actual dramatic workshop. These conditions have led to the recent organization of a University Dramatic Society, composed largely of members of the Faculty and a few students, whose aim is to correlate the work of the various dramatic organizations of the University and to arouse interest in the project for a Campus Theater. As a producing organization it made its bow in December, 1919, when, with the co-operation of the Michigan Union, it produced a most finished performance of Reginald DeKoven's operetta, Red Feather.
The first mention of any musical organization in the University occurs in some reminiscences of the class of 1846. Winfield Smith says that the flute was very popular in those days, and that "several could be heard in different rooms when the windows were open on a summer evening." A quartette orchestra was organized by John S. Newberry, '47, while the first vocal music was started by Fletcher Marsh, of the first class to graduate, in 1844, which "rapidly developed into a good chorus." Dr. Nathaniel West, '46, tells of the fine singing in the chapel exercises of his time, with "excellent support from a University Band of nine pieces." With evident pride he confesses: "This hand used to slide the trombone and sometimes the cornet."
Interest in music apparently continued and was actively fostered by Professor Frieze after he came to the University. An exceptionally fine musician himself, he presided at the organ in one of the local churches for many years, and took every occasion to encourage good music among the students. The early numbers of the Palladium and its rivals mention many ephemeral musical organizations beginning in 1859 with a nine-piece orchestral club, "Les Sans Souci." Evidently the name was too much for this modest effort and the same or a similar organization appears as the "Amateur Musical Club" the following year. The same issue of the Palladium also lists a University Choir of four persons. After that time hardly a year passes without vocal and instrumental musical organizations in some form; in 1863 we have the "Junior Glee Club," and the "Sophomore AEolians," while in 1865 a "Cremona Club" appears. In 1867-68 the first "University Glee Club" of eight members was organized and in 1870, the senior year of its members, it gave some twenty-six most successful concerts throughout the State. They appeared in University caps, apparently something entirely new, as some thought they were members of a fire company, while others "mistook them for Arabs from Forepaugh's circus." The example set by this successful club, to which belongs the credit of elevating and popularizing college songs, was not immediately followed, however, and there were several years when the glee club was dormant. With its effectual revival in 1884, the history of the University Glee Club has been continuous to the present time. It was supplemented in 1889-90 by the Banjo Club and in 1895 and 1896 by the Mandolin Club—and after that time the triple organization went by the name of the University Musical Clubs. The first extended trip was taken in 1890 when the organization visited several Michigan cities, and also Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. In 1896 the trip went as far afield as Salt Lake City, an extensive itinerary which crippled more than one cash balance. Since that time, under more careful management, several most successful trips have been made to the Pacific Coast.
The various University orchestras and musical clubs supplied the University's needs until, in 1895, the University Band was organized. This suffered a precarious existence, though much appreciated by the students, until in 1914 the Regents made an appropriation for its support which enabled it to blossom out as one of the most creditable college bands in any American University. Not only does it play at all football and baseball games, but it has come to be indispensable during such occasions as the annual Commencement.
Though not strictly a student organization, the University Musical Society and the Choral Union, since their organization in 1879-80, have had as their main object the musical welfare of the student body, and so successful have they been in their effort, that Ann Arbor has become one of the musical centers of the country. The modest concerts first given by the Choral Union, composed largely of students, prepared the way for the establishment in 1893 of the annual May Festival, which has become an established event of the University year under the energetic and able direction of Dr. A.A. Stanley, who has well accomplished the task he set himself when he came to Ann Arbor in 1888, to create a true musical atmosphere in the University of Michigan. The number of concerts given under the auspices of the Choral Union, including the May Festival Concerts, now totals 318.
The gregarious club-forming habit, as we have seen, began as far as the University is concerned almost with the admission of the first class. A list of such organizations might be compiled from old Palladiums and Michiganensians, but it would be to little purpose. In most cases these societies have been ephemeral, and if they did survive their own generations, they soon lapsed into pale shadows, or faded away, with no one to mark their passing. There are certain societies, however, which have been in existence some time, that serve to mark a definite trend in undergraduate life, though most of them reflect not so much scholastic attainment as personal popularity. The most conspicuous of these is "Michigamua," a society which was organized in 1902 as an all-senior organization. It has always stressed the Indian tradition in its practices and names, and has made a picturesque ceremony of its annual "rope-in" of new members, who are surrounded on a certain day in spring with a howling band of painted braves. Similar societies in other departments and classes soon followed, and we now have the "Griffins," another all-campus society; "Druids," senior literary; "Sphinx," junior literary; "Vulcans," senior engineering; "Triangle," junior engineering; "Archons," junior laws; "Galens," medical; "Alchemists," chemical students; "Craftsmen," Masonic students; "Quarterdeck," marine engineering; as well as several similar societies among the women, notably the "Senior Society" and "Mortarboard."
As for the real "honor" societies, those whose membership is in itself an academic honor, there are several whose members are selected with Faculty co-operation. These are best illustrated by Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest inter-collegiate organization, which was established at Michigan only after long opposition centering about the introduction of a marking system, the absence of which was long a special characteristic of the University. In spite of this, many alumni were elected at the time of its establishment in 1907, upon the special recommendation of older members of the Faculty whose co-operation had been requested. Five years before the time when Phi Beta Kappa was established, Sigma Xi, a similar organization, was inaugurated as a recognition of excellence in science. Tau Beta Pi in engineering likewise came in the field in 1906. There followed quickly, after this auspicious start, the following societies, most of them of national scope; Alpha Omega Alpha, in the Medical School; Tau Sigma Delta, in Architecture; Phi Lambda Upsilon, in Chemistry; the Order of the Coif, and also the Woolsack, in the Law School; Phi Sigma, in Science; Pi Delta Epsilon, in Journalism; Iota Sigma Pi for women specializing in chemistry; and Phi Alpha Tau for students in oratory. Analogous to these distinctions are the annual appointments to the editorial board of the Law Review, open to the best senior students in the Law School.
A society organized by upper classmen in 1900, "Quadrangle," for many years maintained outstanding scholastic ability as well as a certain degree of popularity as qualifications for membership. Its traditions have perhaps changed somewhat through a too great, though perhaps inevitable instructorial complexion and the abandonment of its original emphasis on literature and the arts. Among the women a similar association is found in "Stylus," a society established in 1908. Similar societies, which emphasize the literary and scientific interests of their members, are the University Branches of the American Institutes of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, the "Prescott Club" of students in Pharmacy, the "Architectural Society," the "Commerce Club," and another women's society, "Athena."
For some years there was a marked tendency in the University to form sectional clubs, such as the "Rocky Mountain," "New York," "Pennsylvania," and "New England" clubs, usually with their own house and dining-room, organized somewhat on the example of the fraternities. The impulse, however, has lapsed somewhat, though the foreign students in the University still maintain the "Cosmopolitan Club," a very active organization with national affiliations, as well as a "Chinese Students Club," a "South African Union," and a "Nippon Club."
In the earlier years the students came almost entirely from nearby towns in Michigan, many registering from little hamlets now almost forgotten. By 1850, however, almost one-third of the total of 64 students in the academic department were from outside the State, some even hailing from as far as New England. Ten years later almost half the 526 enrolled were from other states than Michigan, with a sprinkling from Canada. The same was true of the 1,112 students in 1870, though by this time practically all sections of the country were represented—even California. Less than half the students in 1880 were from Michigan, 642 out of a total enrolment of 1,427, a condition that also held true in 1890, when the proportion was 1,019 out of 2,153. But by 1900 Michigan was again sending more than half the students in the University, 2,009 out of 3,440; and the same was true in 1910 with 2,832 out of 5,383 and again in 1920 with 5,793 out of 9,401.
Professor Hinsdale in his "History" publishes a significant little table showing that in 1870 the ratio of Michigan students to the population of the State was one to 2,300. This ratio was increased slightly ten years later and then dropped to one in 1,802 in 1890, one in 1,206 in 1900, and to one in 992 in 1910. The 1920 census shows one in 636.
The enrolment of foreign students in the University is also significant. Aside from students registering from Canada, who came almost from the first, the first appreciable showing of foreign students came in the eighties, with nine enrolled in 1880. In 1890 there were forty-three including twenty-one from Japan, but ten years later the number had dropped to nineteen. This was due partly to the fact that there were only seven Japanese students, while the seven from Porto Rico and two from Hawaii were no longer "foreign." The total, excluding fourteen from the United States dependencies and twenty-five from Canada, was sixty-eight in 1910. Of this number eleven students were from China; a little band which grew to thirty-six in 1919, when they formed no inconsiderable proportion of the 140 foreign students enrolled, strongly organized for social and educational purposes and affiliated with similar organizations in other universities. Japan sent eighteen and South Africa twenty-eight the same year. Aside from these, seventy-four were registered from Canada and fourteen from Porto Rico, the Philippines, and Hawaii. Of late years there has also been a marked increase of students from Central and South America.
Michigan differs in no respect from other American universities in the general and, some would have it, the extravagant interest in outdoor sports which have come to be defined under the general term "athletics." This emphasis on contests and games of strength and skill is universal and is woven into the very fabric of student life in all our universities and colleges. We cannot therefore avoid the conclusion that it is an inevitable and characteristic expression of the American spirit. It is only natural for the sons and grandsons of the men who settled this country to take an interest in wholesome and vigorous sports; in fact it would be a sad commentary on the degeneracy of the modern generation if such an expression of their inheritance were not evident. But a distinctively American attitude towards sport is also manifested in the intense personal and university rivalries developed, the very rock upon which the modern system of inter-collegiate athletics rests, no less than in the genius for organization and systemization which has, within the last twenty-five years, made organized athletics such a tremendous factor in the life of all American universities.
Whatever changes the future is to bring in the development and control of inter-collegiate athletics, our universities cannot very well escape the fundamental fact that they have become an integral part of our university system, and that, rather than attempting a change by radical measures, they can best correct any present abuses by wise regulation, by a constant effort toward a modification of the present overwhelming emphasis on the one game, football, and above all, by a consistent encouragement of universal participation on the part of the students in some form of college sport. This, in fact, is the latest development. It is not so much a reform as a return to older traditions, from which we have departed only in comparatively recent years, as the following review of Michigan's athletic history will show. This survey is offered, however, not so much because of its relation to the general development of the present-day attitude toward sports in American universities as because it may have particular interest for every Michigan graduate, whether he counts himself a radical or a conservative in matters athletic.
It goes without saying that there was almost no thought of organized sport in the early days. Nathaniel West, '46, once told the Washington alumni, that "among our athletics were various forms of activity—the foot race from a quarter to a half mile,—baseball, a few rods from the stile,"—and what will seem certainly a novel event to a modern athlete,—"sawing our own wood and carrying it upstairs." Edmund Andrews, the President of '49, has also left a record of his time.
Athletics were not regularly organized, nor had we any gymnasium. We played base-ball, wicket ball, two-old-cat, etc., but there was no foot-ball nor any trained "teams." There was mere ex tempore volunteering. We had jumping wickets in the same way. Fencing and boxing were totally neglected. The Huron River furnished little opportunity for boating.
This we may take as a fair picture of athletic activities for many years. Cricket was undoubtedly the first sport to be organized in the University, as the Palladium for 1860-61 gives the names of the eight officers and twenty-five members of the "Pioneer Cricket Club," while the Regents' Report for June, 1865, shows an appropriation of $50 for a cricket ground on the Campus,—the first official recognition of athletics in the University. The game of wicket, which was a modification of cricket, was played with a soft ball five to seven inches in diameter, and with two wickets (mere laths or light boards) laid upon posts about four inches high and some forty feet apart. The "outs" tried to bowl these down, and the "ins" to defend them with curved broad-ended bats. It was necessary to run between the wickets at each strike.
The need for a gymnasium was speedily recognized, but the agitation for it among the students continued for thirty years before the present building was finally completed in 1894. The first gymnasium was an old military barracks which was transformed into a gymnasium of a sort about the year 1858. It stood near the site of the old heating plant at the side of the present Engineering Building, and as it was very open to the weather, resting only on poles sunken in the ground and with a tan bark floor, it was used only in warm weather. The apparatus consisted of a few bare poles, ropes, and rings. Even this make-shift was short-lived, for in 1868 the class of '70 erected a "gymnasium in embryo" described by a graduate of '75 as "two uprights with a cross-beam and ropes dangling from eye-bolts—the remains of some prehistoric effort towards muscular development," which was to be found "back of the Museum";—otherwise the old North Wing. Mark Norris, '79, thus pictures the comparatively primitive state of athletics in the University of his day:
The athletic side of the University was almost wholly undeveloped in 1875. There was no organization and no chance for systematic work. The absence of a gymnasium and practice ground will account for this. Football was a contest between classes, and a mob of 100 to 150 men on a side chasing the pig-skin over the Campus was a sight to make the football expert of today go into convulsions. We had a little base-ball of the "butter fingers" type. At one time we had a boat-club, which navigated the raging Huron above the dam in a six-oared barge.
But with the opening of the year 1885 the old rink, later to become the armory, was fitted up as a gymnasium and a great impetus was given to all athletic interests, which by this time were beginning to be organized. As a natural result the student demand for a real gymnasium was becoming more and more vociferous. As far back as 1868 the University Chronicle had voiced the sentiment in a two-column editorial, in which the writer thus describes the awful state of the University, when the only form of exercise was the opportunity to,—
walk around two or three squares, down to the post office and back to our rooms again. This already has become a melancholy task; but we must choose it, or its sadder alternative,—the old buck-saw. True there are students among us who will have exercise if cramming professors are ever so vexed. They will not study on Sunday; they escape to the woods, admire nature—desecrate the Sabbath. They find relaxation at the billiard table, make effigies in the night to be burned in the morning, remove side-walks, dislocate gates, or arm-in-arm parade the side-walk singing: "Happy is the maid who shall meet us."
By 1865 the efforts of the students resulted in a fund of something over $4,000. The Legislature that year almost gave the necessary appropriation for a gymnasium provided the students contributed what they had raised. But the project finally fell through and it was not until 1891, when Joshua W. Waterman, of Detroit, long a patron of sports in the University, offered to give $20,000, provided a like amount be raised from other sources, that the building became assured. Three years later Waterman Gymnasium was at last completed at a cost of $61,876.49 toward which sum private donors had contributed $49,524.34. The $6,000 which the students eventually raised through so many years of effort were used for equipment. The new "gym" was 150 feet long by 90 feet wide, with a running track in the balcony of 14 laps to the mile. These accommodations proved ample for many years; but the recent growth of the student body finally made an increase in space imperative, and in 1916 an extension of 48 feet was added at each end, making the main floor 248 feet long with a ten-lap running track.
The interest in all forms of outdoor athletics, which was developing rapidly by 1890, made an athletic field no less necessary than a gymnasium. The corner of the Campus where the Gymnasium now stands, which, from the earliest days of baseball had been devoted to athletics, was crowded and inconvenient, even for practice games; while the old fair grounds in the southeastern part of the city were not under University control, besides being ill-adapted to college games. The streets and Campus were popular for impromptu games, although the arm of the law was unduly active in the spring, and "the batting of balls" was conspicuously forbidden on a sign which long decorated the south wall of the Museum. The Regents recognized this need of a great playground, however, and purchased what is now the south ten acres of Ferry Field in 1891, though it was not opened to the students until 1893. This went by the name of "Regents' Field" until 1902, when the Hon. D.M. Ferry of Detroit gave an additional twenty-one acres lying between the old field and the University, and furnished funds for the present impressive entrance gates and ticket offices, since which time it has been known by the name of the donor. Subsequent purchases of neighboring property have increased the total to nearly eighty acres. Though this is by no means all in use at present, thirty-eight acres are graded, drained, and enclosed on three sides by a high brick wall. Two great stands, one of concrete, accommodate nearly 25,000 spectators at the "big games," while an attractive club house at one end furnishes accommodations for the players and members of visiting teams.
An effective student athletic organization was only less tardy in making its appearance than the long-awaited gymnasium and athletic field. In contrast to the modern student journals, the earliest files of the Chronicle are distinguished by their exceedingly rare references to athletic events, and then only in a very occasional modest item giving the immodest score of some class contest, such as the baseball game between '71 and '72 on May 29, 1869, when the score ran 50 to 36. Shortly after this time came the first student athletic organization, informally known as the "Baseball Clubs" which became the Baseball Association in 1876. A similar Football Association was organized in 1873 and continued until 1878 when both clubs were merged in the first Athletic Association of the University. This was the organization responsible for the student fund for the Gymnasium. But successful as the new organization proved in financial matters, it soon fell into the almost inevitable desuetude of so many student undertakings and finally, in 1884, fell "victim of the football and baseball teams which it sought to control."
Its successor was the present Athletic Association, organized in 1890 through a consolidation of all the athletic interests in the University. This Association was long maintained almost exclusively by the students whose voluntary membership was marked by a little "athletic button" of varying design, without which no student in good standing with his fellows would be seen. With the establishment of a general athletic fee, or "blanket tax," by the University in 1912, which admitted the student to all athletic events and was paid with the other University fees, and with the growing influence of the Board in Control of Athletics, the character of the Athletic Association gradually changed. However, the organization still continues to elect its officers and Board of Directors, who elect the three student representatives on the Board in Control from a list of six nominated by the Board. The student managers of the athletic teams are now appointed by the coach, the captain of the team and the retiring manager. Since 1899 the general direction of the affairs of the Athletic Association has been in the hands of two men, Charles Baird, '95, who was appointed Graduate Director of Athletics in that year, and Phillip G. Bartelme, a former member of the class of '99, who succeeded him in 1909, and now holds the title of Director of Outdoor Athletics.
The first attempt at organized collegiate sport in the University dates from the time of the Civil War, for it was in 1863 that baseball was first introduced among the students. Two men are given the credit, John M. Hinchman, '62-'65, who had been a member of the Detroit Club, and E.L. Grant, '66, who as a freshman became interested in accounts of the game as it was being played by a few clubs in and around New York. With some of his friends he wrote for information in the spring of 1863, and later ordered bases, balls and clubs, and proceeded to lay out a diamond on the northeast corner of the Campus which was afterward maintained by the University.
Baseball in those days differed considerably from the present game; the pitcher was restricted to an underhand delivery; the catch of a foul bound meant an "out"; strikes were not called; and bases on balls were unknown; while owing to the straight-arm pitching, the batting was much heavier and the scores larger. There was not much of a team in 1863, but the effort resulted in the organization of the first University Baseball Club in the spring of 1864, with Hinchman, who was the catcher, as president and captain. The members of the team had no uniforms and paid their own expenses, as no admission was charged for the games. While the opposing teams and the scores are not on record, the nine was judged highly successful and was very popular. In the fall of 1865 the team defeated Jackson, Ypsilanti, and Dexter and was in turn defeated by a team from Lodi Township near Ann Arbor. General interest in the game was evidently spreading rapidly.
In 1867 the Club was groomed for the championship of the State; student subscriptions were solicited; class nines were formed to give them sufficient practice, and the dignity of white uniforms was at last attained. Finally the team, accompanied by seventy supporters,—it was long before the day of "rooters,"—traveled to Detroit and met the Detroit Champions. The game lasted three hours and a half, included six home runs, and was won by the University with the wholly satisfactory score of 70 to 18, Detroit being unable to hit Blackburn the University pitcher sufficiently, though, judged by modern standards, his record was not exactly a "shut-out." A return game, however, played in the fall resulted in the defeat of the University 36 to 20, while the final game of the series, a year later, ran to eleven innings with the University finally winning 26 to 24. Soon after this the Detroit team disbanded and for some years baseball languished in the University; partly because of the lack of opponents for so redoubtable a nine, and partly because the first enthusiasm for the game had waned. Interest revived somewhat in 1873, but aside from inter-class games the only available opponents were mostly professional clubs from the neighboring towns, who were ordinarily outclassed by the college men. With the abolition of the old straight-arm pitching in 1875 and the calling of strikes established, the extravagant scores began to be materially reduced.
Michigan's first inter-collegiate baseball game was with Wisconsin on May 20, 1882. It was played at Ann Arbor and resulted in a victory 20 to 8. This game came as a result of the formation of an Inter-collegiate Baseball League, composed of Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Racine, in which the Varsity easily won the championship. Unsatisfactory arrangements for the traveling expenses of the team, however, caused Michigan to withdraw from the League the next year and the nine was forced once more to fall back upon the professional and semi-professional teams in neighboring cities. Oberlin appeared upon the schedule in 1886 and Michigan Agricultural College twice defeated the Varsity the following year. But if these years saw no remarkable schedules, the team was, nevertheless, steadily improving. The fielding average of the '88 team was .908; and though less can be said of the batting, two members, McDonnell, '88, and McMillan, '86-'89, had averages of .448 and .406 respectively. The Chronicle also was jubilant over the financial success of the '88 season which left a surplus of $50 in the treasury, after "elegant new suits" had been purchased.
Confidence in the ability of the team led to the first Eastern trip in 1890, which resulted in a close and exciting 2 to 1 victory over Cornell at Ithaca, May 16. From this time on Cornell and other Eastern colleges appeared with fair regularity in the schedule. Games with Harvard and Yale were arranged in 1891, and every candidate was pledged to strict training after February first under Peter Conway, a famous National League pitcher. The trip resulted in a creditable record; and although the game with Yale was lost 2 to 0, only three hits were scored off the pitcher, Codd, '91, a record for the Varsity almost as welcome as a victory. The game with Harvard, won 4 to 3, was peculiarly satisfying to the tired team, which had already played six games, and had had, in the words of Captain Codd, "as hard a course of training as any University team had, up to that time, ever undergone.... We had given our Eastern antagonists a pretty good 'practice game,'" (the Harvard manager's term). Conditions were reversed the following year when Yale was defeated 3 to 2, but Harvard won 4 to 2. Michigan returned to her Western rivals in 1893 and was almost uniformly successful for several years.
An Eastern trip in 1894 was less fortunate, for it resulted in an unbroken series of defeats from Vermont, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, and Cornell. The spell with Cornell was broken, however, in 1895, when Michigan won a decided victory 11 to 0, at Detroit, and had some revenge for previous defeats. E.C. Shields, '94, '96l, center field and captain of the team that year, has described the winning of this game as the "most satisfactory moment" of his athletic career; the team was the best Michigan had ever had, and the game after the first few innings became a successful struggle on the part of the pitcher, Sexton, '98m, and his team-mates to make it a "shut-out." Since that day Michigan has more than broken even in her games with Cornell.
Baseball at this time was genuinely popular; all of the classes in the Literary Department as well as many in the professional schools had their own teams, which not only gave the Varsity good practice but played in a league among themselves, while the fraternities also had a league of some years' standing. This popularity of the national game was soon to pass, however, with the increasing vogue of football, and it has never regained the pre-eminent place it held in student favor during the period which ended in 1900, though, it has always had many enthusiastic followers.
The year '99 saw an especially strong team, which not only was successful in the West but at least divided honors on the first Eastern trip of some years. Particularly spectacular was the final game with Illinois which won the championship. Michigan had already won two out of three games, but with a victory in the last of the series Illinois saw a chance to claim the Western honors. In the sixth inning Illinois had men on second and third and no one out. Guy Miller, '98, '00l, otherwise known as "Sox," was put in as pitcher, and though he had won a hard game the day before, he struck out the next two batters. The last man was put out easily, and Miller held the rest of the game safely, with a final score of 4 to 2.
Two fairly successful years followed, marked, however, by a uniformly disastrous Eastern trip in 1901. Then followed in 1902 "the most unsuccessful baseball season in years," though the end came with a victory over Cornell, 7 to 4, largely through the efforts of Michigan's greatest all-round athlete, Neil Snow, '02, in the last contest of his athletic career. He was responsible for six of the seven runs, bringing in three men with one three-base hit, while he himself managed to score on a poor throw.
A final defeat from Illinois the following year just missed the championship of the West for Michigan. It is worthy of mention that it was at this game, on which many undergraduate hopes were centered, that the custom of singing "The Yellow and the Blue" in defeat as well as in victory was inaugurated. The Western championship rested with Michigan in 1905 and again in 1906, but this was destined to be the last time for many years. Much of the success of these two teams was due to Frank Sanger, '07l, who was considered the best college pitcher in the West.
With 1907 begins another story. Michigan was now out of the Conference and there began a progressive decline in interest in baseball. Many small colleges soon appeared on the schedules, and in 1908 the South began to figure prominently in the earlier season games. A few games with Eastern colleges relieved the monotony, but the results were far from being always satisfactory. Two interesting games with the Japanese students of Keio University ended the season of 1911. While the University won both games with scores of 20 to 5 and 3 to 1, they demonstrated how apt the Oriental has been in picking up the fine points of the great American game. Some amends for an unsuccessful season were made on June 26, 1912 by a thrilling 2 to 1 victory over Pennsylvania before the thousands of guests and alumni who had gathered to celebrate the University's Seventy-Fifth Anniversary.
The painstaking efforts of Branch Rickey, who had been coach of the team since 1910, and later became manager of the St. Louis American League team, began to show results in 1913. The following year Michigan, in spite of no significant Western games, had some justification for claiming the national championship through victories in two series of games with Cornell and Pennsylvania, the acknowledged leaders of the East. This record was due in no small part to the prowess of one player, George Sisler, '15e, who, from his first season in 1913, showed the extraordinary ability that made him not only Michigan's greatest baseball player but one of the best all-round players in the history of the game. While in the University he alternated as pitcher and left fielder and was captain of the team in 1914. This was the year Carl Lundgren began his successful career as baseball coach. An unexpected weakness in critical games and an unfortunate discussion over professionalism were probably the reasons for the poor success in 1915 of what was essentially an unusually competent team, while a nine composed almost entirely of inexperienced players counted heavily against the 1916 record.
With the declaration of war in the spring of 1917 all forms of athletics were suspended. The value of outdoor sports, as a means of developing the physique of the future soldier, as well as the powers of leadership and co-operation so necessary in military service, was not at first recognized, and only after the baseball and track seasons of 1917 were long past was a more reasonable attitude toward collegiate athletics inaugurated as a result of an earnest plea on the part of the Government that, as far as practicable, they be re-established.
Michigan's return to the Western Conference early in 1918 was marked by her first undisputed baseball championship since 1905, the team winning nine out of ten Conference games played. This record was practically repeated in 1919, the Varsity winning all but one out of a schedule of thirteen games, and that one not with a Conference college. The 1920 season was equally satisfactory.
Football was introduced in the University a few years after the establishment of baseball. The first record of a game appears to be the following notice in the Chronicle of a game played on April 23, 1870.
The first foot-ball match in the University of late came off on Saturday last, between the fresh and sophs. Seven goals, or byes, or tallies, or scores, or something—we are not au fait on foot-ball phraseology—constituted the game, which was won by the freshmen, the sophs coming out second best each time. Foot-ball is a new institution on the Campus, but bids fair to be popular, at least on cool days.
This was not strictly the first appearance of the game, as the sophomore class in 1866 had secured a football, and the resulting impromptu contests had aroused some patronizing comment in the college paper. But this first effort was short-lived, and the sport went "to a grave too cold by far." That this death was "greatly exaggerated" is suggested by the paragraph quoted. As a matter of fact football steadily grew in favor from that time, although in its earliest years it was by no means the game we know now. There seemed to be no hard and fast rules, at least not according to the Michigan practice of the early '70's. It was largely, or more properly, entirely, a kicking game, with any number up to thirty on a side. This made it particularly popular as a vehicle for class rivalries, and we have record of one game in 1876 in which forty-two sophomores were defeated by eighty-two freshmen, though the result was different when the two sides were equalized in a later contest. The number of participants in class games was not always limited to eleven players as late as 1889-90. The number of goals requisite to win a game also varied, depending upon a previous agreement of the two sides. The popular attitude toward football, and the status of athletics in general is amusingly suggested in the following paragraph which appeared in the Chronicle, October 19, 1872:
The base-ball ground is well filled on these pleasant afternoons. The games of foot-ball, base-ball and cricket are played at the same time. It is quite laughable for an outsider to witness the consternation of the players of the two more scientific games when the mob engaged in the other sport comes towards them.
By 1872 all four classes had their teams and the four captains formed a loose football organization, which became a Football Association the following year. Modern football, the Rugby game, was introduced in 1876 by Charles M. Gayley, '78, better known to generations of Michigan students as the author of "The Yellow and the Blue," and now Professor of English in the University of California. No inter-collegiate games were played, however, until May 30, 1879, when Michigan defeated Racine at White Stocking Park, Chicago, 7 to 2, in what was probably the first inter-collegiate contest in the West; certainly no game had ever attracted such attention or drew such crowds as this one. I.K. Pond, '79, in after years to be the architect of the Michigan Union, made a touchdown in the first half, and a goal from the field by De Tar; '78, '80m, accounted for the balance of the Varsity's score, while a safety was all that was permitted to Racine. In the autumn of the same year Michigan played a tie game with Toronto at Detroit. Four cars filled with students accompanied the team and demonstrated the growing popularity of the Rugby game. The team fully deserved this support, for the Canadian eleven was more experienced and even the Chronicle acknowledged that they excelled in almost every part of the game. The following fall Michigan won a second game at Toronto, 13 to 0, much to the disgust of the Canadians.
For some time there had been a growing demand for a series of games with Eastern colleges. As a result Michigan's first invasion of the East came in the fall of 1881. The outcome was far from discouraging, in view of the inexperience of the Michigan eleven and the greater interest in the game in the East; for though the Varsity was uniformly defeated, the scores were by no means overwhelming. The game with Harvard was lost 4 to 0, and those with Yale and Princeton, 11 to 0 and 13 to 4.
Inter-collegiate football was dormant the following year, but in November, 1883, a second Eastern trip resulted in another clear demonstration of the greater advantages the game enjoyed in the seaboard colleges. The game with Yale was a decided defeat 46 to 0; but Harvard barely avoided a tie with a 3 to 0 score; Wesleyan won 14 to 6, while the one victory for the West was over Stevens Institute 5 to 1. The Harvard game was the greatest disappointment as Michigan, with a much better team than in the previous game, had hoped for victory. All the circumstances, however, were unfavorable. The only possible schedule called for a game with Yale the preceding day, and a series of new rules were flashed upon the team as the only ones under which the Easterners would play. The game, which was played November 22, was an exceedingly close one, however, and the first half ended with neither side scoring, and most of the play in Harvard's territory. A failure to kick goal following a score by Harvard in the second half still left hope, though Harvard repeatedly saved her goal by kicking. Finally a Harvard man ran out of bounds on Michigan's twenty-five yard line and the ball was thrown out from that point according to the rules then in force. Michigan secured it and by using the one trick play in her repertoire, the time-honored fake run, Prettyman, '85, the manager of the team, started off with Killilea, '85l, as his interference behind him, as the rules then demanded. The opposing full-back was ready for them, but just before the tackle the ball was passed to Killilea, who went on for the touch-down while Prettyman went head-on into the Harvard full-back, calling "down" in accordance with the plan. The Harvard umpire insisted that the ball was "down" where Prettyman had been tackled, and the referee ordered it back to the middle of the field and then called the game on account of darkness. The Michigan team arranged immediately to stay and play another game the next day. But instead of playing, Harvard pleaded faculty interference and paid a $100 forfeit. An eleven that could play Yale one day, Harvard the next, and then be ready for a third game, made a profound impression, however, and created great respect for Western grit and sportsmanship.
After this venture into the lime-light there came several years of comparatively minor games, due largely to the fact that few teams were available as competitors. For many years Albion had a regular place on the schedule and was regularly defeated, save in 1891, when it won for the first and last time. The Chicago University Club, the Windsor Club, the Peninsular Club of Detroit, and Notre Dame were the principal opponents until the first game with Cornell in 1889. The result of this contest, 56 to 0 in favor of Cornell, was discouraging, but in a second game the following year the Varsity managed to score five points against Cornell's twenty. This score came as the result of a long field goal by James Duffy, '92l, who three years previously had won the first Varsity medal for breaking an inter-collegiate record, with a drop-kick of 168 feet 7-1/2 inches, surpassing Yale's previous record of 157 feet, five times before he was satisfied.
A new era in the history of football at Michigan began in 1891, when with a fair schedule and an experienced coach, Frank Crawford (Yale, '91), '93l, the systematic development of a team began; though it was not until several years later that football assumed the undisputed supremacy it now holds as a college sport. Cornell won twice that year and gave Michigan her first experience with "real interference and fast play." Michigan took her first Western trip the following year. The team was coached by Frank Barbour, a classmate of Crawford's at Yale, and for the first time played a complete schedule with the leading universities of the West, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Chicago, with varying success. The Varsity lost most of her principal games in 1893, Minnesota winning for the last time in twenty-seven years, though a final victory over Chicago, 18 to 10, was some compensation for the earlier defeats.
The autumn of 1894 saw the beginning of a long series of remarkably successful seasons, which lasted with one or two partial relapses until 1906. These twelve years were not only Michigan's "golden age" of football, as far as the game itself is concerned, but also one of the longest series of almost uniformly successful seasons in the history of any of the larger American Universities. It is true that a decisive defeat from Cornell, 22 to 0, marred the early season in 1894, but a second game, 12 to 4, redeemed the record. This was Michigan's first victory over a rival of long standing. The team was a formidable one, equally strong on offense and defense, and included such well-known names in Michigan's football annals as H.M. ("Mort") Senter, '90-'95, m'95-97, end; Gustave H. ("Dutch") Ferbert, '97, end in '94 and later half-back; G.R.F. ("Count") Villa, 96l, tackle; F.W. ("Pa") Henninger, '97, guard; and "Jimmy" Baird, '96, quarter-back. W.L. McCauley, Princeton, '94, who had entered the Medical School, proved his ability as a coach during this and the two succeeding seasons.
Previous to this time there had been little supervision of athletics on the part of the Faculty, and no attention was paid to the composition of the teams or the academic standing of the players. When the general Athletic Association was organized in 1891, an Advisory Board of three non-resident alumni and four Faculty members was established, though at first it had slight influence. The Faculty members were becoming impressed, however, with the significance of the growing interest in athletics all over the country and realized the necessity of some form of effective supervision.
Up to this time there had been no real distinction in the West between professional and amateur. The question came home to Michigan as the result of a disclosure that two men on the 1893 track team were sub-freshmen, not yet in college, although they entered the following fall. The Athletic Board promptly requested the resignation of the captain of the team and published the facts. The Faculty was also aroused. The result was the organization in 1894 of the Board in Control of Athletics, which ordinarily has had the final word in the administration of athletic affairs since that time. It is at present composed of four Faculty representatives, elected by the University Senate, three alumni, appointed by the Regents, three students appointed by the Directors of the Athletic Association, and the Director of Outdoor Athletics.
The year 1894, therefore, aside from the beginnings of a real football team, was important also because it saw the awakening of the Faculty to its responsibility in athletic affairs, and a corresponding growth in the whole University body of higher ideals of inter-collegiate sport, with the University "started fairly and squarely on the road to athletic cleanliness." The movement thus inaugurated resulted in the establishment of the Western Inter-collegiate Conference on February 8, 1896. This is a body composed of representatives from the athletic boards of seven (later ten) leading mid-western Universities, which has aimed from the first, not only to regulate and standardize the conditions of all forms of inter-collegiate athletic competition but also to maintain a high ideal of amateurism in college sports. The formation of this body, which soon came to be the most powerful influence in the West for clean athletics, was due in no small part to President Angell, who was instrumental in calling the first meeting, as well as to Dr. C.B.G. de Nancrede and Professor Albert H. Pattengill, the Michigan representatives at that first meeting. Professor Pattengill's interest in outdoor sports was lifelong. His was the moving spirit in the Conference through many years; and to him, more than to any other, Michigan owes, not only the present effective organization of athletics, but the securing of Ferry Field and its equipment.
The records of the football teams of 1895 and 1896 were quite overwhelming for those days, 266 points to their opponents' 14 in 1895 and 262 points to 11 the next season. The only disappointments were a 4 to 0 defeat from Harvard in 1895 and a 7 to 6 victory for Chicago in 1896. A season of uninterrupted victories in 1897 was again cut short by a defeat from Chicago 21 to 12 in the last game. Chicago had now come to occupy the chief place on the schedule and the seeds of that rivalry which was later to prove so unfortunate in Western inter-collegiate affairs were already being sown.
An unbroken series of victories marked the 1898 season, with the Championship of the West decided by a thrilling 12 to 11 victory over Chicago. At the end of the first half in this game the score stood 6 to 5,—a touchdown for Michigan and a goal from the field by Chicago's great punter, Herschberger. One of the most spectacular runs in Michigan's football history came in the early part of the second half when C.H. Widman, a freshman, broke through between left end and tackle, ran down the field sixty yards, broke away from the Chicago full-back, and squirmed across the remaining five yards for a touchdown. Chicago's subsequent touchdown made the score a close one but left the championship, the first in three years, with Michigan. The center on this team, W.R. Cunningham, '99m, was Michigan's first player on an All-American Team.
This team had been coached by a number of the older players, a system that was followed again in 1899, but with no brilliant success. A change came in 1900 when Langdon Lea, of Princeton, took charge. He instituted some revolutionary changes and insisted on the fundamentals of the game,—always the weak point of Western football. The season, however, was not a great success, and in the final game with Chicago, Coach Stagg, with his famous "whoa-back" formation, was able to take advantage of Michigan's weakness in backing up the tackles, and won with a score of 15 to 16.
The record for the following year was very different. Fielding H. Yost, who received his football training at the University of West Virginia and Lafayette, was called to Michigan from Stanford and entered upon his long and successful career as Michigan's football coach. Not only has he proved himself time and again a master of football strategy, but his insistence on the highest ideals of sportsmanship has been one of the strongest factors in the development of clean athletics at Michigan.
The new coach undeniably had good material to work with in his first team. Most of the men comprising it had been well trained in the finer points of the game by his predecessor and included such exceptional players as Captain Hugh White, '02l, tackle; Curtis Redden, '03l, end; Neil Snow, '02, full-back; Harrison S. ("Boss") Weeks, '02l, quarter; and Everett Sweeley, '03, half-back; while to this list were added that year Martin Heston, '04l, one of the greatest backs in the history of the game; the center, George Gregory, '04l; and the old reliable guard Dan McGugin, '04l. This team under Yost's astute and resourceful direction proved invincible, and became one of the greatest elevens in the history of football. Whether it could have dealt successfully with the Eastern champions will always be a question, but it certainly found little effective opposition in the West; for the final record showed an uninterrupted succession of victories with not a point scored against the team. The total tells the story, 550 points to 0; with the University of Buffalo beaten by the extraordinary score of 128 to 0. The final game of the season was played with Stanford at Pasadena, California, on New Year's Day, 1902. The quality of the team was shown by the fact that they won by a score of 49 to 0 in spite of the fact that they had been in training for four months, and left Michigan in zero weather to play in what was to them a summer heat. Snow was given a place that year on Caspar Whitney's All-American Team, while Walter Camp selected Snow, Weeks, Heston, and Bruce Shorts, '01l (tackle), for the All-Western team.
Except for the fact that the eleven was scored upon twice, once by Case and once by Minnesota, the record in 1902 was much the same as in 1901, 644 points to their opponents' 12.
Although there were many changes in the team the following year, there was a consistent development of team-work, which, combined with Heston's extraordinary ability in carrying the ball, enabled Michigan to go through the season with only one score against the team, in a tie game with Minnesota. The 1904 team, though it was scored upon three times, was also uniformly victorious under the leadership of Heston, who was twice given a place on Camp's All-American, as well as his All-Time All-American team chosen in 1910. The 1905 Championship passed to Chicago, however, though the team was scored upon only by the two points which lost Michigan the final game with Chicago. This defeat came as a result of an error in judgment which cost Michigan a safety instead of the touch-back that might easily have changed defeat into at least a tie. The following men composing this team were very generally selected for All-Western honors; Thomas S. Hammond, '06l, half-back; Joseph S. Curtis, '07e, tackle; and Henry F. Schulte, '07, guard, who were members of the 1903 and 1904 elevens, and Adolph ("Germany") Schulz, e'04-09, center. Not a little credit for the record of this team must also be given to the captain, Fred S. Norcross, '06e, while John C. Garrels, '07e, end, destined to hold a record only second to Niel Snow, as an all-round athlete, and Walter ("Octy") Graham, '08e, who proved extraordinarily active at end and later at guard, in spite of his 215 pounds, first won their "M's" as players on the 1905 eleven.
Meanwhile a change had come in Michigan's relations with the other universities composing the Western Inter-collegiate Conference which eventually led to her withdrawal from that body, and brought to an end for some twelve years all competition with her natural rivals in the West. This action applied to all forms of inter-collegiate sport, but the agitation centered almost exclusively about football and may therefore be properly mentioned in this place. For some years there had been developing throughout the country a powerful opposition to inter-collegiate football which began with the introduction of the Rugby game. The old-time open game had been replaced by powerful mass-plays, dangerous to limb and even to life. The conditions under which the "big games" were played had little reference to wholesome college life, the essential amateur spirit was fast disappearing, rivalries were becoming bitter, as was the case between Michigan and Chicago, and in fact the whole academic spirit was threatened by the exaggerated emphasis on this one phase of college sport.
Michigan took the initiative for a reform, through a letter from President Angell, calling for a meeting of representatives of the leading Western universities in Chicago in January, 1906. All the institutions represented at this meeting were unanimous in the feeling that drastic measures were necessary; Wisconsin even asked for the abandonment of the game for two years. The result was a series of demands for fundamental reforms, including the abolition of the training table and excessive gate receipts, a modification of the professional coaching system, and finally a provision that no freshmen should be allowed to take part in inter-collegiate contests, and that no student should participate more than three seasons.
This action was a bomb-shell whose fragments disrupted the student and alumni bodies of all the Western Conference colleges. Criticism became intense, but eventually all the nine Conference colleges accepted the new rules with certain amendments except Michigan, where a four-year contract with Yost made special difficulties. The student body and many alumni felt aggrieved at a clause in the new rules which made the three-year playing rule retroactive, thereby barring out several of the most prominent players, including Garrels, after their junior year. They therefore demanded that Michigan sever her relations with the West and seek her future opponents among Eastern universities. Implicit in the whole discussion also was the question as to whether the Faculty was to have the last word in the control of athletics. This was the fundamental demand of the Conference, while the effective opinion at Michigan favored a broader control by students, Faculty and alumni, in which the final decision was to rest with the Board of Regents. This view was accepted by the Regents; changes were made in the organization of the Board in Control of Athletics which limited the authority of the Faculty, and Michigan, by simply refusing to abide by certain of the rules of the Conference, automatically ceased to be a member in 1908. For twelve years, 1906 to 1918, Michigan put to the test the conviction of the students and many alumni that Michigan could find satisfactory opponents elsewhere than in the Conference. The result was not encouraging, for on the whole these were lean years. The football schedules proved unsatisfactory and though Michigan won her share of games, interest and enthusiasm waned correspondingly, while the baseball and track teams suffered even more. Henceforth the principal opponents were Pennsylvania, Cornell, Syracuse, and for a time Vanderbilt.