VIEW-579.B | Harvard versus McGill football match, Montreal, QC, 1874

Harvard versus McGill football match, Montreal, QC, 1874
William Notman (1826-1891)
Probably 1910, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process, composite photograph
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Art (2774) , composite (312) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

Some intellectual leaders of the period held that involvement in sports fostered competitiveness and responsibility, necessary traits for succeeding in the business world. Thus, boys' schools catering to the affluent included physical education in their curricula. The growing support for physical education, as well as the increase in the numbers of amateur athletes, led to the development of many new sports. In addition to the team sports lacrosse and curling, introduced in Montreal in the early 1800s, men were now playing football and its many variations. In the 1870s, three different variations of the game were regularly played - football, rugby and soccer - all of which ultimately became separate games.

  • What

    Because each team played by the rules it had developed, the games were sometimes a bit of a muddle! The differences in the way the game was played on each side of the Canada-US border did not disappear; today, Canadian football and American football are two distinct games.

  • Where

    This game was one in a series played between Montreal and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  • When

    The matches were played during the academic term of 1874-1875.

  • Who

    Facing down each other on this football field are students from two great institutions: McGill University, in Montreal, and Harvard University, in Cambridge.