Littauer, Lucius : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Littauer, Lucius

Lucius Nathan Littauer

A 19th century college football player for Harvard who was also this nation's first collegiate coach, Littauer later became known as "The Glove King of America," and from 1898-1907 served in Congress as the representative of the 21st district of New York.

At Harvard University in 1925, Littauer established the first Professorship of Jewish Literature and Philosophy at any American university. The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation has funded Jewish collections at universities and colleges across the country.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. January 20, 1859 - d. March 2, 1944

Career Highlights:
Born in Gloversville, Littauer moved to New York City with his family as a child. He attended the Charlier Institute in New York and then went to Harvard. In 1875, Littauer played in only one game, against an "All-Canada" team, and was listed as a substitute in the first ever Yale-Harvard game.

In 1877, Littauer played as a regular and was singled out for praise on numerous occasions, especially in games against Princeton, Columbia, and McGill, scoring touchdowns against Columbia and McGill. While at Harvard, Littauer struck up a friendship with Theodore Roosevelt and later became a political advisor to the future New York Governor and U.S. President.

Littauer returned to Harvard in 1881 to become the first collegiate head coach in America. An article in The H Book of Harvard Athletics noted that, "Until the fall of 1881 there were no coaches and no coaching by anyone except the Lucius N. Littauer of New York, '78, to coach our team, which he did on several occasions, a very small start on the right path..." Harvard finished the season with a record of 5-2-1 in Littauer's only season as coach.

At his 25th anniversary reunion in 1903, Littauer said, "...I never regretted my devotion to athletics and the time spent in the gymnasium, on the field...above all they gave me a temperament and such a digestion that I was enabled to appreciate the good qualities of my friends and the good things on earth."

Gloversville, New York

Career Dates:
Littauer played for Harvard University in 1875 and 1877. He was listed as a lineman.

Physical description:
161 pounds

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)