Several efforts to publicize professional football were launched in the 1930s – Joe Carr, President of the NFL, had made arrangements for publication of both a “National League Football Guide and Rule Book” and a “Who’s Who in Major League Football” magazine in 1935. But the year before Dr. Harry March of the New York Giants published “Pro Football Its Ups and Downs, a “Light-hearted History of the Post-Graduate Game.” Doc March had put together the meeting between Carr and Tim Mara that resulted in the New York Giants NFL franchise being established in New York in 1925. He served as Secretary to the Giants from 1925 – 1928, and as President until 1933. Certain facts in the book have been proven wrong, but it stands as the first attempt to tell the story of professional football and contains many wonderful early team photographs. Also, from a collector’s point of view, many copies have great autographs – either they were owned by players and management or given as gifts.
Here’s an ad for the book on a page of a 1934 Giants game program.
This is a letter from March to Lud Wray with March’s view on how the sales of the book are going on book letterhead
An inscription from Mel Hein to John Kieran, sportswriter for the New York Times
This copy is inscribed by Joe Carr to Dr. J. B. Eckstrom, former coach of Ohio State
Here’s one inscribed to my father.
This copy was signed by almost the entire Detroit Lions team
Another copy was owned by William Alfs, President of the Detroit Lions
This copy was owned by NFL player Harvey Levy, who corrected the spelling of his name in the text
And this copy was boldly inscribed by Art Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers
From page 133 of the book – Dr. March on the right as Tim Mara presents Mayor James Walker with a check for the proceeds of a game between the Giants and the Notre Dame All Stars in December 1930 to benefit the Mayor’s Unemployment Fund