M977.46.1 | Football cap
1894, 19th century
Gift of Mrs. Monteith Douglas
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Cap (39)
Keys to History
This cap was worn by a member of the McGill University football team in 1894.
In the late 19th century, athletic skills were an important part of a young man's education and were thus part of university life. Team sports, although not as highly organized as they are today, were played nationally and internationally.
The current rules of football date from 1874, when McGill played Harvard University in a three-game series. McGill played a game similar to English rugby, and Harvard played a type of soccer. The teams alternated the rules for the series, which resulted in one win, one loss and a tie for each team. The Harvard players found the McGill rules to their liking and convinced other American universities to adopt them for their games.
Embroidered on this red silk and velvet football team cap are a maple leaf and the year "1894," possibly to symbolize the 1894 graduating class of McGill University.
Game three of the 1874 three-game series between Harvard University and McGill University was played on the grounds of the Montreal Cricket Club.
There would have been few women students to cheer for the football team in 1874, as women were only admitted to McGill University in the Faculty of Arts in 1884.
This cap was worn by the captain of the McGill football team, Campbell Howard, then a medical student who later became Dean of Medicine at McGill.