Grandson of 1924 Graduate Donates Scrapbook of Rose Bowl Memories

Created: April 10, 2014  |  Last Updated: November 30, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged: ,

WASHINGTON, Pa. (August 7, 2013)—Nearly a century after his grandfather, 1924 Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) graduate Alfred J. Crook, helped lead the President’s football team to the Rose Bowl, Columbus, Ohio, resident Neal O’Brien has brought that history back to W&J.

O’Brien has donated to the U. Grant Miller Library’s Learned T. Bulman ’48 Historical Archives and Museum a scrapbook from Crook’s football career, including game programs, photos and newspaper clippings that chronicle the storied 1922 Rose Bowl team. The smallest school ever to compete in the Rose Bowl, W&J played powerhouse University of California to a scoreless tie.

O’Brien visited W&J to make the donation. Additional memorabilia from the Rose Bowl team was on display for his visit, including photos of Crook and the entire team as they prepared to travel to Pasadena, Calif.

“I always enjoyed studying the early days of football,” O’Brien said. “Having a grandfather who played during that timeframe obviously was the impetus of a lot of that and my great appreciation for the game as it was played then. We’re glad that we could bring this to its rightful place.”

In the early history of the game, the Presidents played the likes of Harvard, Yale and, most famously, the Tournament of Roses game in Pasadena, as it was called then. It was the first in that venue to end in a tie, and the first time a team at the Rose Bowl was quarterbacked by a black player, Charles “Pruner” West of W&J. Both teams were undefeated entering the contest.

“We can’t tell you how excited we are about this,” Director of Library Services Alexis Rittenberger told O’Brien, his wife, Maureen, and their son, Connor. “I think this is one of the best additions that we have to our archives. We haven’t had the opportunity much, especially with this team, to get things from the actual players and their families. It is very important.”

O’Brien added of the scrapbook, “I’m sure he (Crook) never thought that almost 100 years later that it would still be around. Helps his legacy live, in addition to the rest of the team,” O’Brien added.