Alcade, the official publication of UT alumni organization Texas Exes, featured a project by Dr. Jan Todd, co-director of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports. In collaboration with the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and UT Athletics, Dr. Todd has cataloged over 100 football programs going back to UT’s first game against the Dallas Football Club in 1893.
Today, football programs are glossy magazines with photographs and player stats and bios. At their inception, Texas football programs were a way to help fans understand the rules of the game and identify the players. Rather than photographs, which were impractical at the time, early programs featured beautiful color illustrations. Designed by both local artists and national distributors, each program had a unique look. Dr. Todd notes that the programs document history in a way no other item can. “They tell a story,” she says, “not just about UT and football, but about American history. The programs often mention that game’s special events—Band Night, or Father’s Day, or honoring veterans—and give a glimpse into what life was like.”
Alcade article and a slideshow of several programs is available here
“Longhorn Legacy: 100 Years of Football Programs” can be found here. (Note: Longhorn Legacy is no longer online.)