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Carlton's Road trip to the 


July 9th- 11th 2010

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But the part that really had my head spinning were two really weird 6 ½” by 4” rectangular areas that flanked the print’s title “The Yale Fence“. Each of the two rectangular areas had glue residue which had obviously adhered something that left a very defined outline. Naturally I knew the print would need to undergo restoration and most of my attention was on calculating how it would turn out. Essentially it was in fairly good restorable condition, and I expected a good paper restorer would be able to put it in very nice shape….all except those weird rectangle areas. Those I surmised would probably not come out…they were a total party wrecker. Who in the…what the heck were they thinking I thought. I’d never seen anything like that on an antique print before!


So the lady shot me the price…$250.00 she says…and I went back to trying to figure it all out. So as I’m standing there trying to piece it all together, the husband says to me…”it comes with these two cards”….and he goes to get them….yeah yeah sure I thought…I didn’t pay it much attention since I was so focused on the print…Then the hammer dropped!…He slowly handed me two matching cards that had a small facsimile image of the print and a legend that gave the names of people in the scene.



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Legend identifying people in print

1. Robert J. Cook '76 The famed Yale oarsman and coach

6. William T. Bull '88 Full Back Foot Ball team of three years

11. W.H. Lee 69'

2. Walter C. Camp '80 foot ball & base ball Captain & Coach

7. A.A. Stagg '88 Pitcher base Ball team

12. C.P. Howland '91

3. George A. Adee '67 In charge of Yale Athletics

8. Frederic W. Wallace '88 Foot Ball team

13. John B. Townsend '91 President Yale Navy

4. Harry Beecher '88 Quarterback and Captain of Foot Ball team of 1888

9 Hart Lyman '78 Tribune Staff new York City

14. Frank Jenkins '74

5. W. H. Corbin '89 Captain of Foot Ball team of 1889

10. Gouverneur Calhoun '91 Captain Base Ball team




Almost in a stupor….I look at the cards….I look back at the print….I look back at the cards…I look at the guy…I’m thinking….Oh shucks…Any previous confusion of the scene being Harvard immediately evaporated and I realized it was time to start from scratch understanding this print….The legend named fourteen Yale BMOC (big man on campus) with pointers to who was who….most were renown athletes of football, baseball, and rowing…..The list included Walter Camp the Father of American Football, William “Pa” Corbin, and Amos Alonzo Stagg just to name a few


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Walter Camp sitting on fence by 

post wearing a moustache


I had never seen anything like it and I started to sense I had found the mother of all 19th century collegiate prints!

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As far as I was concerned $250.00 was overpriced considering the seller didn’t understand it as I did. But to me it was basically worth what ever I had to pay it was so great. But the seller was savvy enough from the cards to know it had some importance. Without the cards it was a $75.00 print at best….and whoever bought it would probably be buying it for the frame and trash the print! So I countered with $200.00.…She was very skeptical and thought about it for about 10 seconds…$235.00 she said….Alright I’ll take it I said…


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Now that I’ve thought it thru, I think the way to go is just reattach the cards back where they were after it’s restored. That’s probably the only way of ever hiding the rectangular areas. What’s very interesting is that there is a label on the back of the frame for Klackner, the publisher. Having that label there implies Klackner framed it or had it framed to their specifications….which implies the placement of the cards flanking the title was the publishers intent. So reintroducing them back where they were would be restoring it back to original. I think it’s kind of a funky way to display the cards, but it certainly does the job of turning the print from boring meaningless to remarkable interesting icon of collegiate sports.


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One last but interesting aspect of this print is that one of the individuals identified on the legend card is named C.P. Howland…and the artist who CPHowland.jpg (41969 bytes)illustrated the print was A.C. Howland. C.P. Howland's listing doesn't include any title of accomplishment, only "C.P. Howland 91' ". We can speculate he made the cut just for being the artist's son. Which would have been a very nice sentiment, and makes the scene more fun.


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6 1/2" wide title at bottom middle



From The National Cyclopaedia of American biography
….Mr. Howland was elected to the Artists' Fund Society in 1874, the Century Association in 1867. was made an associate of the National Academy of Design in 1874, and on the merits of his painting, "Driving a Bargain" now in the Layton Gallery in Milwaukee, was made a national academician in 1882. Among his important works may be mentioned "On the Road to Seulis" (France); "A Morning Stroll"; "Monday Morning"; "A Pastoral"; "Ford's Glen" exhibited at the Paris Salon; "The Pot Boiler" exhibited at Munich; "Fourth of July Parade" exhibited at the World's Columbian exposition;
and "The Yale Fence" purchased by Chauncey M. Depew, and presented to the gymnasium of Yale University. Mr. Howland makes a specialty of landscapes and genre subjects, having a preference for quaint New England characters….






Removed 1888  

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In the 19th century the Yale fence was a meet up gathering place for students that was so popular it took on institution status. Recently I did a feature on a c1888 cabinet photo of Yale baseball team mates Amos Alonzo Stagg and Jesse Chase Dann which you can read here. The photo was shot in a studio but they are sitting and leaning on a fence. Apparently the Yale fence was so regarded, renown New York City photographer Pach Brothers constructed a facsimile in their studio for use as a prop.


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Advertising poster for 1895 book “Yale Yarns” featuring the Yale Fence Print on cardstock of same illustration used on poster for 1895 book “Yale Yarns”

Chapter two of the 1895 book “Yale Yarns” may be the best period source of information on the Yale fence. The fence was taken down in 1888 to make room for improvements to the campus, and the impact wasn’t taken lightly. Below are some excerpts, from chapter 2 titled “The Old Fence. Thanks to the internet you can read the entire Yale Yarns book on line in the link above. Also, above left is a poster that advertised the book and as you can see the fence is front and center in the illustration. To the right of the poster is a large print of the same illustration which I saw at the 2005 National in the Hunt Auctions booth, which you can read about at the bottom of the page in this link 

Excerpts from the 1895 book “Yale Yarns” Chapter 2 titled “The Old Fence"



Up to the time when the march of improvement began, which has ended with the beautiful Vanderbilt Hall and the complete enclosure of the campus, the fence, from the path near the corner on College Street around the corner of Chapel and up to South College, was the one great institution of Yale. Tradition fades quickly in college, and the student of to-day is inclined to smile at the expression of regret for the fence's loss to which the old grad. is apt to give vent on returning to New Haven….


The dear old fence !

On it men crammed for recitation ; read the newspapers ; interchanged stories ; gossiped ; talked athletics ; got acquainted ; sung songs; flirted with passing girls; lived. The fence over in front of Durfee is something like it in a feeble sort of way, but it 's not quite the same thing. There was always some wandering musician who played, or a boot-black who shone for five cents, or an influx of grads. up from New York, or the passing of a pretty girl, to create a diversion on the old fence. It was the center of the good-hearted, manly, democratic Yale, and when it was taken away there were many forebodings by the grads.




Tonight I happened to be looking thru an 1890 Yale Pot Pourri in my library and came across a page with a 7 3/4" by 4 1/2" plate of the Yale Fence similiar to the A.C. Howland print of this feature. I post a photo below for historical reference. -Carlton


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While researching a recently acquired c1890 football flask by Tiffany & Co. I happened onto a photo of a remarkable trophy cup by Tiffany which has an engraved scene of the Yale Fence, see below.  -Carlton


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9 7/8" tall


Engraved as follows

Presented to 
Our Class Boy
Allen Trafford Klots
By the Class of 88'
Yale College
June 23. 1891








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