Photo Credit: Jim Harrison
While flipping through the latest Harvard Magazine, I stumbled upon a picture of knit ties from the 50s with stripes that represented the major sports teams on campus. The article stated that back when ties and coats were required on Harvard's campus, varsity letterwinners were easily recognized by thier black knit ties with distinguished red stripes.
Neckties distinguished athletes in 14 major sports, with a generic tie for all minor sports, says Renny Little, curator (pro bono) of the Lee Family Hall of Athletic History. Here (from left) are those for football, soccer, cross country, track and field, ice hockey, swimming, basketball, wrestling, lacrosse, baseball, lightweight crew, golf, and minor sports. Missing are those for heavyweight crew and squash.
Chester M. Pierce '48, M.D. '52
“Chester M. Pierce ’48, M.D. ’52, proudly wears his football tie in his portrait lecturing in the Ether Dome at MGH [The College Pump, January-February, page 64],” writes Warren M. “Renny” Little ’55, “although artist Stephen Coit has taken the license of lengthening the notoriously short original tie.
When Pierce was in college, ties and coats were required on campus, and varsity letterwinners in major sports were easily recognized by their black knit ties with distinguishing red stripes. Minor sports had a generic striped knit tie. It was not difficult to identify the major sport being represented when there were only five (football, track, hockey, crew, and baseball), but as new sports obtained varsity status (and now there are 41), the number of stripe combinations proliferated bewilderingly. Fashions and dress codes changed, however, and my guess is that by the mid 1980s, these knit ties were no longer being made or often worn. A few old grads still sport their ties, although the iconography of them escapes today’s undergraduates.”