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.
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 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 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".
1880 Yale Graduation photo of Walter Camp
1892 banquet program in honor of Walter Camp, held in Madison Square Garden
1894 handwritten letter from Frank Hinkey to John Greenway, inviting him on a group date with Walter Camp and his wife.
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. 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. Frank 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'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'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. Frank 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 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 Frank 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. Frank is seated in the front left. Vance McCormick, future 1892 Yale football captain, is seated next to Frank 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 Frank's copy.
August 5, 2017
Theodore Roosevelt Letter
In 1899 Frank 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 Frank'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 Frank's personal library of 236 books sometime around 1917. Only a small portion of those books still exist within our archive (see below). Frank'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, 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 Frank'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's Skull and Bones photo album (see below). We don't know for certain if Frank 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. Frank’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
Frank 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). Frank'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 and Anna 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. Frank 's personal library identification label is on the inside front cover. His signature is on the following fly-leaf.