Joseph, Henry : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Joseph, Henry

In May 1874, playing for Montreal's McGill University, Joseph appeared in a series of games against Harvard that helped influence American football by emphasizing running rather than kicking the ball. In 1873, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and Rutgers formed the first Intercollegiate Football Association. Harvard, who played a different game, declined to attend the conference. The rules of their "Boston Game" said a player could pick up the ball and run with it until tackled by an opponent, whereas the other schools played a game closer to soccer. Because Harvard had different rules, they were forced to look elsewhere for competition and thus discovered McGill of Canada. McGill played a game closer to rugby and the compromises the two teams agreed upon for their series of matches is considered the forebearer of modern American football.

According to College Football USA, 1869...1973, "Football historians believe that the Harvard decision (not to attend the meeting with the other schools) was the most important and far-reaching in the annals of American football; that had the Crimson accepted the invitation and gone along with Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and Rutgers in the adaption of the code they eventually drafted in New York, the American game, as we know it today, never would have evolved and soccer would have been established as the Number One college sport."

Birth and Death Dates:

Career Highlights:
In 1875, the year after he participated in the football matches that helped popularize the game in the United States, Joseph played in Montreal's first public game of ice hockey. In a later interview, he told reporters that he "could not recall seeing hockey sticks in Montreal before that time, nor anybody playing hurley on skates."

Montreal, Canada

Career Dates:
Joseph played at McGill University in 1874.

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
College Football USA 1869-1973, by John D. McCallum & Charles H. Pearson (1973)