the vault

Here we crack open the Hinkey Archive Vault to display unique pieces of memorabilia and trinkets which personally belonged to Frank Hinkey.  While some exhibits will relate to his success at Yale others will allow a deeper understanding of his personality and interests. We'll continue to update this page throughout the year, so check back often.

December 5, 2023

Fred T. Murphy Signed Cabinet Photo

Fred Towsley Murphy was born in Detroit, MI on October 23, 1872.  At around three years old he moved to Junction City, KS.  He attended Phillips Andover from 1891-93 and played on the school baseball, football and track teams.  After graduating from Phillips Academy in 1893 he enrolled into the Yale College.  Fred Murphy played tackle for the Yale Bulldogs from 1893-96, where he was a 2x All-American and captain his senior year.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1897 then studied at Harvard Medical School, earning his Medical Degree in 1901.  Dr. Murphy went on to have a distinguished career as a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, Washington School of Medicine and St. Louis City Hospital.  During WW1 he was Commanding Officer of Base Hospital 21 in France, earning the Distinguished Service Medal.  He retired from medical practice shortly after the war and became a successful businessman, banker and philanthropist in the Detroit area.  He passed away at his home in Grosse Pointe, MI on January 10, 1948.

Posted above is a cabinet photo of Fred Murphy from his time at Phillips Andover Academy, which he nicely signed on the reverse.

September 28, 2023

1897 Yale Football Team Signed Letter

1897 Yale Football Team

The 1897 Yale football team finished the season 9-0-2 outscoring their opponents 170-35 with tie scores against Army and Harvard.  Most historians credit the University of Pennsylvania team as the 1897 national champion however Parke H. Davis (football historian) declared Yale as co-champion since the two teams didn't play each other.  

This is a wonderful handwritten letter by the captain of the 1897 Yale team, James Otis Rodgers, to his close friend and football mentor Frank Hinkey.  It appears to be written during a team smoker (party) at The Heublein, a New Haven restaurant and pub.  It states "Naturally our thoughts are with you and your good health has been down several times with just gusts.  We regret you are not with us....Here's to you Frank".   The letter is then signed by the 1897 Yale football team.  Key signatures besides James Rodgers include 4x All-American and College Football Hall of Famer Francis Gordon Brown, Charles Chadwick, George Cadwalader, Malcolm McBride, John Hall, Burr Chamberlin and Alfred Durston.  Future legendary Rutgers coach and "silver tongue" George Foster Sanford signed the letter along with "water carrier" - Louis Stoddard.  Stoddard went on to become a prominent polo champion.

August 5, 2023

Beautiful 1893 Yale Football Pach Bros Cabinet Photo

The 1893 Yale football team went 10-1 with their sole loss against Princeton on Thanksgiving Day by the score of 0-6.  While a disappointing end to an otherwise brilliant season, the Bulldogs played valiantly after only 5 days rest from a hard-fought contest against Harvard in Hampden Park.   Three Walter Camp All-Americans were selected in 1893 from Yale:  Frank Hinkey, Bill Hickok and Frank Butterworth.  

This flawless Pach Bros cabinet photo of the 1893 Yale football team was acquired directly from the Vanderbilt estate, once belonging to Harry Payne Whitney '94.  This photo sitting was used by the Mayo Cut Plug tobacco company (see previous post) in producing the eleven Yale football cards for their 1894 set.  Note the faint blood stains on the right shoulder/upper chest of captain Frank Hinkey.  This was from an ear injury during the Princeton contest which briefly knocked him out of the game.  

July 13, 2023

1894 Frank Hinkey Mayo Cut Plug Football Card

Regarded as the first-ever football cards, 1894 Mayo Cut Plug Football is a hobby classic. The 35-card set features players from the 1893 Harvard, Princeton and Yale football teams. Measuring 1 5/8" x 2 7/8", the mini tobacco cards come with a simple black-bordered design. The player photos are done with a sepia tone and recreated from their respective team photographs that year. Underneath are the player's last name, school, an ad for P.H. Mayo tobacco and the slogan, "For Chewing and Smoking." The cards are not numbered and have a plain black back.  

Pictured above is Frank Hinkey's card.  One of our pursuits is tracking down the signatures of each player featured from this iconic set.  Currently we need roughly 10 more to complete our collection.  Many of those signatures are posted throughout our virtual museum.  Please let us know if you have an original signature of the following Yale football players:  Richard Armstrong, Phillip Stillman and/or James McCrea.

March 23, 2023

W. Orville Hickok III Signed Letter

W. Orville Hickok 3rd (Sawyer Collection)

William Orville Hickok 3rd was born in Harrisburg, PA on August 23, 1874. His grandfather (WO Hickok) started the Hickok Manufacturing Company in Harrisburg which still produces bookbinding and paper-ruling machinery to this day.  Orville attended preparatory school at St. Paul's School in Concord, NH and enrolled in the fall of 1892 in the Yale Sheffield School with an emphasis on mechanical engineering.  Hickok played guard for the Yale varsity football team from 1892-94 and was twice selected as an All-American by Walter Camp.  He played with a vengeance, spurred to perform beyond human capability.  Opposing teams feared his vicious blocking and tackling and developed game plans designed to avoid contact with this legendary lineman.  Hickok was also on the Yale track team three years (captain senior year) and set collegiate records in the shot put and hammer throw.  He served as head coach at Carlisle Indian School in 1896 (record 6-4) and, later, assistant coach at Yale.  He became secretary (1897-1906) and eventually president (1907-1933) of the family machinery business in Harrisburg.  In 1903 he married Ann Cochran, sister of legendary Princeton football captain Garrett Cochran.  Orville Hickok 3rd passed away on September 4, 1933 from metastatic cancer of the spine and bladder. He was posthumously inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971. 

Below is a typed letter from 1905 on beautiful Hickok Manufacturing Company letterhead signed by W. Orville Hickok III.  Big thanks to the Hickok family for helping us track down this wonderful autograph for our collection.

February 15, 2023

1892 Yale Football Presentation Piece

After a repeat undefeated and unscored upon season,  each member of the 1892 Yale football team (and managers) were presented a large (51 x 39 inch) framed collage to commemorate their momentous achievement.  Designed and produced by the Pach Brothers photography company, these exquisite gifts contained large (13x10 inch) cabinet photos of the Yale, Princeton and Harvard football squads along with smaller individual photos of each Yale varsity player.  This award was so impressive the editors of the 1893 Yale Pot-Pourri (annual school yearbook) opted to include a photograph of this collage instead of the traditional team portrait (see below).  When captain Vance McCormick designed the program for the team's 30-year reunion, this collage was featured on the front cover (see Vault post from April 2018).

Over the years, given the sheer weight and size of this prestigious award, very few frames remained intact.  Most awardees (or likely their descendants) would eventually dismantle them and retain just the pertinent photos to their respective family.  To find an original, intact award has become the proverbial holy grail of 19th century Ivy League football photographs.  We knew of only two which still exist  – one hangs over the Grill Room at the NYC Yale Club and the other is on display in a prestigious law firm out west. 

 We were therefore extremely blessed to discover (and humbly acquire) this third known example which belonged to James Sawyer ’94, assistant manager of the 1892 varsity football team.  It passed to his grandson Geoff Sawyer and was stashed away in a storage unit, forgotten for decades, before being rescued from the trash bin by an employee of his wife (Jackie) in 2012. 

Below are a couple photos of this fantastic historic piece.  Additional closeups are posted throughout the 'Games' pages (annotated as Sawyer Collection), so please explore our site further.

From 1893 Yale Pot-Pourri

1892 Football Presentation Piece (in original frame)

1892 Yale Presentation Piece (removed from frame)

February 7, 2020

Laurie Bliss

Laurence Thornton Bliss was born in New York City on November 28, 1872, the son of Robert and Susan Maria (Handy) Bliss.  He attended elementary school at Gibbons and Beach in NYC before attending Phillips Andover from 1886-90.  While at PA he played on the 1888 football team under his older brother, Clifford Douglas "Pop" Bliss.  In 1889, Laurie Bliss followed his brother's footsteps and was elected football captain, where he quickly recruited a scrappy junior from the scrub squad to anchor his defensive front - Frank Hinkey.  The 1889 PA football team went 7-3 that year with their only losses coming at the hands of Dartmouth (twice) and Harvard varsity football squads.  He also played on the PA baseball nine and was vice-president of his senior class.  After graduating from PA, Laurie Bliss attended Yale Sheffield School from 1890-93, where he was left halfback on the Varsity football teams from 1890-92 - playing again with his PA teammates Vance McCormick and Frank Hinkey on the Championship squads of 1891 and 1892.  Bliss also played on the Varsity baseball teams from 1891-93, where he was captain his senior year. 

After receiving his PhB in 1893, he coached the West Point football team that fall to a 4-5 record.  He was employed by the Pennsylvania Coal Co in Scranton, PA and later the Merchants & Manufacturers' Warehousing Company out of New York City.  The latter position transferred him to Crowley, LA in 1901 to manage a rice and cotton plant. He became so interested in rice milling and rice irrigating systems that he started his own business, buying 250 acres of farm land and operating it himself.  After a few years of living in the South he unfortunately contracted malaria, forcing him to return North in 1912 to regain his health.  In December 1912, he re-entered the coal business, this time with Thorne, Neale & Co in Philadelphia, of which Samuel "Brinck" Thorne (1895 Yale Football captain) was President and Vance McCormick was director.  Bliss was treasurer and director until his retirement in 1937.  He passed away on November 12, 1942 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Below are a few artifacts once belonging to Laurie Bliss, courtesy of the Bliss family.

1888 Philips Andover Football Team

Laurie Bliss and Vance McCormick (circa 1892)

Laurie Bliss's 1893 Yale Baseball Scrapbook (front and back)

Laurie Bliss's 1893 Yale Diploma

November 2, 2019

Delta of Sigma Psi

Developed in 1855, DeVeaux Military Preparatory School was built for "orphans and destitute children” by Judge Samuel DeVeaux and operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York.  The school was for boys age 9-12 with a focus on industry and trades in addition to social and religious studies.  For most of its first 100 years DeVeaux was referred to as a military school, with students wearing uniforms similar to cadets at West Point.  The school closed in 1972.  The site is now DeVeaux Woods State Park, where some of the original buildings still stand.

Frank Hinkey attended DeVeaux from 1886-1888.  While at DeVeaux he played center field for their baseball team and competed in various athletic events.  The schools first association football game was held in 1886, which may have been Frank's first exposure to the game.  While at DeVeaux, Frank Hinkey was a member of the Delta of Sigma Psi fraternity.  Below is a photograph of that fraternity from 1888, along with Frank Hinkey's fraternity pin.  If you look closely at his uniform you can see this exact pin.  Frank's older brother John Nice also attended DeVeaux Collegeand is in the photo below too (back row, third from right).

Delta of Sigma Psi at DeVeaux College, 1887-88

Close up of Frank Hinkey.  Note the fraternity pin on his chest.

Frank Hinkey's Delta of Sigma Psi pin

September 3, 2019

Louis Hinkey

We'd be remiss not to mention Frank Hinkey's younger brother and Yale teammate.  Louis Hinkey was born in Tonawanda, NY on September 24, 1874.  He attended preparatory school at Phillips Andover, where he played football on the 1892 team.  He attended Yale from 1893-97, playing right end opposite his brother on the 1894 varsity squad .  He was an All-American in 1896.  Louis Hinkey didn't earn his college degree but spent his post-Yale years coaching various teams (Williston Seminary, University of Buffalo and University of Rochester) and refereeing games along the East Coast.  He was briefly employed by the B Steel Company in New York before being committed to the  Buffalo State Hospital in March 1917, where he stayed until his death on February 9, 1937.  

Below are a few photos not found elsewhere on the site.  Additional photos of Louis Hinkey are on his memorial page (, along with the rest of Frank Hinkey's immediate family.  

1892 Phillips Andover Football Team.

Louis Hinkey (circa 1894)

Louis Hinkey's 1894 and 1895 Yale Football Gold Charms, along with his fraternity pin

February 23, 2019

Father of American Football

Walter Camp played halfback for Yale from 1876-1882; four years as an undergraduate and two years during medical school.  Camp is credited with altering the rules of rugby to create the game of American football we are familiar with today.  The line of scrimmage, use of downs, point system, number of players per side and creation of the quarterback position all stemmed from his influence.  Camp coached the Bulldogs from 1888-92 with an overall record of 67-2.

When Frank Hinkey arrived in New Haven during the fall of 1891, Camp didn't expect much from the frail-looking freshman. Yale had two defensive ends with more experience and size. It took one play at a practice scrimmage for Camp to re-evaluate his plans.  Lee McClung, team captain and future Treasurer of the United States, took the ball in the backfield and spied a hole in the line. He cut up field, but was blindsided by a bone-rattling hit. He glanced up to see Frank Hinkey, hovering and glaring down at him.

"That little freshman acts like he hates me," McClung said to a teammate while lining up for the next play. "Like he wants to murder me."

After graduation, Frank Hinkey maintained close contact with Walter Camp.  Camp was instrumental in Hinkey's selection as Yale head coach in 1914.  Below are a few items from our archives relating to the "Father of American Football".

1879 Football photo of Walter Camp

1892 banquet program in honor of Walter Camp, held in Madison Square Garden

1901 Yale alumni football team for bicentennial celebration.  Walter Camp in center with football.

November 18, 2018

Skull and Bones Pin

"Is that a pledge pin? On your uniform!" - classic line from 1978 movie Animal House.

Here is Frank Hinkey's personal 'Skull and Bones' pin.  This 3/4 ",  18k solid gold pin was made by Marcus & Co, with the maker's name engraved on the back. In the 19th century it was common for college athletes to wear their fraternity pins on their uniforms (sorry Neidermeyer).  Review the photo below of John Greenway and Frank Hinkey from 1894.  Greenway's 'Book and Snake' pin is easily seen in the center of the 'Y' on his uniform.  Mr. Hinkey's 'Skull and Bones' pin is sideways below the 'Y', just beneath the large horizontal crease.  

October 18, 2018

Psi Upsilon Pin

The Beta Chapter of Psi Upsilon fraternity was instituted at Yale in 1839.  A junior society that eventually expanded its membership to include sophomores and seniors, the fraternity changed it's name to the Fence Club in 1934, in honor of the legendary Yale Fence which was torn down in 1888.  Mr. Hinkey was a member of this secret fraternity.  Below is his fraternity pin.  This one inch pin is engraved on the back with his name and a few Greek letters.  

May 24, 2018

1894 Yale Football Charm

Below are photos of Frank Hinkey's 1894 championship gold charm.  This undefeated team beat Princeton 24 to 0 and Harvard 12 to 4.  The scores of these games are engraved on this 3/4" charm with blue enamel, along with the year and Frank Hinkey's name.  Each member of the championship team received a personal gold charm with their name and position engraved.    

April 28, 2018

1892 Yale Football Banquet Program

Yale continued their football dominance during Frank Hinkey's sophomore season.  They went 13-0 in 1892 while outscoring their opponents 435-0.  Their captain and All-American quarterback was Vance McCormick '93S, Frank's fellow teammate at Phillips Andover.  Vance McCormick went on to become a prominent politician and businessman.  He was the mayor of Harrisburg, PA from 1902-05 and chair of the Democratic National Committee from 1916-19.  Vance McCormick held a thirty year reunion for his championship team on November 24, 1922 at the University Club in New York City.  Below are photos of the banquet program from that event along with a group photo.  Mr. Hinkey did not attend the reunion but was sent this program from Captain McCormick.

Yale Alumni Weekly. December 8, 1922 (Hinkey Archive)

February 21, 2018

1891 Yale Football Charm

This is Frank Hinkey's 1891 Yale championship gold charm.  Each member of the championship team received this football-shaped award at the end of the year. The 1891 Yale team scored 490 points during this undefeated season without giving up a single point. The charm is approximately 3/4 inch long with blue enamel-filled engravings along each panel.  There is a small pinhole on one end of the ball.  If one views through this pinhole a 1/16" photograph of the 1891 football team is revealed.  

January 20, 2018

A Model Hazing

Below is a small story told by Frank Hinkey regarding "hazing", which was published in The Christian Register on July 17, 1902.

Among the guests at a recent college alumni dinner in New York City was Frank Hinkey, Yale '94, the famous left end of Old Eli's football team of that year.  He told what his listeners said was the best hazing story they had ever heard.

"It happened," he remarked, "in 1892.  Some Sophomores noticed that two poor country boys had begun their housekeeping in a room on the ground floor of one of the college halls, with a miserable apology for a bed, no carpet, no table, and only two chairs as the sum total of their outfit.  They proposed to board themselves, but had only a few dollars for their food during the term.  They expected hazing, and were not disappointed."

"One night the trembling youths were summoned by  a Sophomore who was not over-courteous, to go to a room upstairs.  They obeyed, pale with fear.  They were detained about an hour, but were only quizzed by the circle of students in the room.  They then were released.  Entering their own apartment, they were dazzled by a new carpet, a tasteful bedstead, fully equipped, a study-table, easy-chairs, a handsome drop-lamp, a bookcase partly filled with books, a stove, pictures on the walls, rugs, etc, while in a closet were enough provisions to last a week."

"That," declared Mr. Hinkey, in closing "was hazing to a blessed purpose; but, alas!  I fear it has no parallel."

December 26, 2017

1892 tintype of Yale backfield with Walter Camp

Here is a rare 4" x 3" tintype of the 1892 Yale football backfield from their summer training at Newport, RI with Walter Camp and Billy Bull.  This is the earliest known photo of Walter Camp as a football coach.  It is also the only tintype we have seen of Walter Camp.  This historic team went 13-0 that year, outscoring their opponents 435 - 0.  The individuals in the tintype are identified as follows:  Top (left to right) - George Adee, Frank Butterworth, Mitchell "Mint" Lilley.  Middle - Vance McCormick, Walter Camp, Billy Bull.  Front - Harmon Graves, Tom Dwyer.

November 24, 2017

1891 Yale Football Banquet Program - SIGNED

The 1891 Yale football team went 13-0 that year; scoring 490 points without allowing a single score.  Walter Camp considered this team the best he ever saw on the gridiron field.  The team was captained by Lee "Bum" McClung, who went on to become United States Treasurer.  Captain McClung sponsored a twenty year reunion for his legendary team on November 16, 1911 at the University Club in New York City.  Eight of the eleven starters attended this event, along with several special guests.  Frank Hinkey could not attend due to last minute business concerns at the smelting plant in Springfield, Illinois.  However Vance McCormick, 1892 Yale football captain, sent Mr. Hinkey this banquet program SIGNED by all those in attendance.  

The 1891 players who signed this program were Wallace Winter (right tackle), George Foster Sanford (center and College Hall of Fame coach), Pudge Heffelfinger (right guard and College Hall of Famer), John Hartwell (right end), Frank Barbour (quarterback), Lee McClung (halfback and College Hall of Famer), Laurence T. Bliss (halfback) and Vance McCormick (fullback).  Key guests who also signed this piece were Brinck Thorne (1895 Yale captain and College Hall of Famer), William H "Pa" Corbin (1888 Yale captain and College Football Hall of Famer) and legendary coach Walter Camp (1879 Yale captain and College Hall of Famer). 

Signed 1891 Yale Football banquet program (Hinkey Archive)

Twenty year reunion of 1891 Yale Football team (Yale Alumni Weekly, Nov 1911)

October 28, 2017

Rare 1889 Phillips Andover Football photo

The 1889 Phillips Andover football team went 6-3 under the leadership of captain Laurie Bliss.  This was Frank Hinkey's first year playing football on a varsity squad.  In our 'Pre-Yale' biography and 'Photo Album' we provide photos of this team from our archives.  Posted below is a very rare version of the 1889 PA team, belonging to an advanced football researcher/collector who asked to remain anonymous.  Mr. Hinkey is seated in the front left.  Vance McCormick, future 1892 Yale football captain, is seated next to Mr. Hinkey and resting his elbow on Laurie Bliss.

August 12, 2017

College Football Hall of Fame 

On November 3, 1951 fifty-three college football players and coaches were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.  This inaugural class represented the best players and coaches of the first 75 years of college football.  Frank Hinkey was part of this prestigious group.  Three certificates were created for every inductee - one for the inductee themselves, their alma mater and the Hall of Fame.  Below is Mr.Hinkey's copy.

August 5, 2017

Theodore Roosevelt Letter

In 1899 Frank Hinkey had returned to Tonawanda to help with the family hardware store.  He was also on the Tonawanda Board of Trustees during this period.  Below is a return letter from Theodore Roosevelt, then Governor of New York.  It appears Theodore Roosevelt couldn't comply with Mr. Hinkey's request to interfere with a passage of an undisclosed bill.  If anyone has more information regarding this piece feel free to contact us as we continue to research it. 

June 25, 2017

Frank Hinkey's Library

Anna Hinkey indexed her husband's personal library of 236 books sometime around 1917.  Only a small portion of those books still exist within our archive (see below).  Mr. Hinkey's library revealed a wide range of interests and subjects, to include American/World History, Poetry, Greek Mythology, Mechanical Engineering and Metallurgy/Smelting.  Some of the books reveal a more personal side of Frank Hinkey, such as "Chats for Small Chatterers".  Only three of the 236 books relate to football - American Football (Camp), FootBall (Parke Davis) and Football - Facts & Figures (Camp).  Two Yale football programs from the 1894 season were also included (Harvard and Princeton).  For a detailed list of all 236 books from Mr. Hinkey's personal library, click here

June 17, 2017

White House Invitation

Below is an invitation to attend President Taft's 25th (silver) wedding anniversary at the White House on June 19, 1911.  Over 5000 individuals were invited to attend this evening garden celebration.  This party was the biggest social event of the summer and the social highlight of the Taft administration.  William Howard Taft graduated from Yale in 1878 and was a member of Skull & Bones.  His father, General Alphonso Taft, co-founded the secret society as a Yale student in 1832.  This invitation was tucked into Frank Hinkey's Skull and Bones photo album (see below).  We don't know for certain if Mr. Hinkey attended this event.

June 10, 2017

Skull and Bones Album

Skull and Bones’ was founded at Yale in 1832 as a secret student society, which were common in Germany at the time.  Fifteen juniors were “tapped” each year by the seniors for initiation into next year’s group.  Numerous Bonesmen have gone on to positions of great power and influence.  Three of them – William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush became U. S. Presidents.  Members were assigned nicknames drawn from literature, religion or myth.  Traditionally the Yale football captain (nickname was “Boaz” – Biblical reference to Ruth’s husband) were one of the fifteen tapped to join this exclusive society.

Below is Frank Hinkey’s personal 1895 Skull and Bones photo album.  The fifteen members tapped from his senior class are included, along with original ink signatures below their 6.5" x 4.25" Pach Bros cabinet photo.  Besides Frank Hinkey, two other football players were chosen – Frank Seiler Butterworth and Anson McCook Beard.  Mr. Hinkey's college roommate (222 Durfee Hall) and star pitcher for the University Nine, Walter F. "Dutch" Carter, was also one of the fifteen selected.  Dutch Carter later helped establish the Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

June 4, 2017

Hinkey Wedding

Frank Hinkey met Anna Elizabeth Thomas shortly after his arrival in Springfield, Illinois in 1911.  The details of their meeting are lost to time, however private letters between the two demonstrate a love that was genuine and pure throughout their marriage.  Their wedding at the Thomas farm on June 12, 1912 was a small intimate ceremony.  Roughly twenty guests were in attendance, many of them local neighbors and members of the Thomas family.  Interestingly, not a single Yale graduate or teammate attended the ceremony (or at least signed the wedding register).  Mr. Hinkey's best man was Edwin (Ned) Worthington Hale, a co-worker and close friend from the Springfield plant.  The officiant was Father Edward P. Rankin, a local Presbyterian minister.

Below is an invitation to the wedding, along with the ceremony certificate and a photo of Frank Hinkey and Anna Thomas on their special day.  

May 27. 2017

1895 Yale Yearbook

Published by W.A. Moore, '95: This class album contains 74 leaves of plates and text with 314 photographs in black & white and color monochrome, printed by New York Photogravure Company. Includes 38 portrait photographs of faculty, 252 student portraits, 20 photographs of university buildings, and 4 group portraits of the Yale athletic teams (Crew, Football, Baseball, Athletics).

This was Frank Hinkey's personal 1895 Yale Class Album.  Mr. Hinkey 's personal library identification label is on the inside front cover.  His signature is on the following fly-leaf.