Sunday, March 4, 2018

Go, Wildcats! UK Football Memorabilia From the Early 1930s

While neither William L. Salyers or his wife Sarah Eva Howe Salyers had college degrees, all four of their children attended the University of Kentucky.
  • Robert King Salyers II, The eldest, apparently attended UK for two years before transferring to Eastern Kentucky State College and receiving his diploma there in 1929. He later worked as a research assistant to UK President Frank McVey.
  • James Richard attended UK and, like his three brothers, was active in Kappa Sigma fraternity. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees there.
  • Mary Alice was a UK graduate and was a member of Kappa Delta social sorority and several honorary and leadership societies.
  • David Hillis II spent his years at UK participating in various choral and drama groups. He got his diploma in 1937.
No wonder I find so much UK-related items in Sarah's scrapbooks! Here are a few of the pieces that surfaced today, all related to UK sports. While I've found no evidence that any of Sarah's children played varsity sports, we know that at least one of the boys played football and basketball at Carrollton High, and the youngest played tennis for Henry Clay High after the family moved to Lexington.
The following picture of the UK marching band, probably clipped from the UK student newspaper The Kernal, has a caption that by today's standards is a little flowery. Note the comments about the female sponsor of the band.
The next clipping includes a photo of the band sponsor in a later year. (As you may remember from previous posts, Sarah too often neglected to put dates on items in her scrapbooks.) Note under the photo on the far right that only male students had a vote in naming the prom queen.

UK Sophomore Harrison Elliott composed a march for the UK band titled "Our Sponsor March," dedicated to band sponsor Elizabeth Jones (on far left in the clipping above). Elliott gained a fair degree of acclaim for his music. In Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity, a book by Richard A Peterson, a promoter refers to 19-year-old Elliott as a "French-Huguenot-Scottish-Irish Kentucky mountaineer, [and] authentic mountain composer [of] America's first folk opera, "The Call of the Cumberlands." Newsweek reported that the opera was performed over the NBC radio network in August 1935.

The scrapbooks are full of tickets to football and basketball events. Below are a few samples. The first photo (which may also appear in a previous post) shows student ticket books for both semesters of 1932-1933. Below that is an image of a supplementary pass into the cheering section. Apparently, getting into a game didn't automatically include the right to sit in the cheering section.
Note the prices for reserved seats at UK football games in those days. For comparison: The 1932 dollar is comparable to $16.89.
People who know UK will recognize some familiar names in this 1930s clipping about the university's Athletic Council. Various campus facilities and programs still bear their names today.
People with Carrollton, Kentucky roots may recognize at least one of these players. Kipping was a prominent name there starting in the late 1800s – and perhaps still is. Sarah Eva Howe's sister Leonora Alice Howe married Charles Kipping.
 Also in the scrapbooks, many game programs. This is one of the more colorful. In spite of the listing of Kentucky first on the program (usually the visiting team is listed first) this was a UK homecoming game played at McLean Stadium in Lexington. UK lost the game 19-0, and Alabama continued on to post a perfect 10-0 season and win SEC and national championships.
While this image isn't specific to UK, it illustrates the public's enthusiasm for football in the 1930s. Notice that everyone wore their Sunday best to the games. I remember dressing up for athletic events when I was in college way back in the 1960s. I think today's sports fans take a more casual approach.

I include this image because it is part of a sports-focused scrapbook. Smoking was popular – even "stylish" – in the 1930s. I knew the Salyers men to be pipe smokers, but maybe they smoked cigarettes in those days. I can't even imagine Sarah or Mary Alice smoking! Maybe they just liked the dress in this ad, which probably appeared in a magazine or maybe in a football program.

The scrapbooks contain so many items related to UK sports that I could probably create a blog just on that topic. I'll include a few more in future posts. Let me know if you'd like me to watch for specific kinds of images or information about UK athletics in the 1930s. We have stacks of scrapbooks yet unexplored.

For UK football memories from the early 1890s, see the post dated Sept. 3, 2016: "Get Ready for Some Football! Sarah Remembers the Wildcats of 1893."

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