Art of Football
Football Program Cover Art, Humor

1929 Indiana
Indiana, 1928
1929 Mt. Union
Albion / Mt. Union, 1929
1923 Iowa
Iowa, 1923 at Iowa City

At Michigan, football has always been serious business and the 1928 Indiana and 1929 Albion / Mt. Union programs (a rare double-header for Michigan) are among the few home game programs that were intentionally humorous. Both are the work of Maurice Lichtenstein, cartoonist and editor of The Gargoyle, the campus humor magazine, who went on to gain fame as a nationally syndicated cartoonist under his pen name "Lichty." (He later changed his name to George Lichty.) The Indiana cover, with its wayward "Spirit of Bloomington" airplane, plays off the national Lindbergh craze. The style of the Albion/Mt. Union cover bears strong resemblance to that of Lichty's long-running "Grin and Bear It" cartoon.

Other schools have more frequently adopted a whimsical attitude. An uncredited artist spoofed the Hawkeye yell leader on the 1923 program. Ohio State called on New Yorker cartoonist and editor, and one-time OSU student, James Thurber to illustrate its 1936 homecoming program. W. B. Crocker, artist for many Yale programs over the years, depicts a Yale cheerleader as casually bemused by the yell (or is it a plea?) of the Michigan cheerleaders.

Wisconsin in particular used a humorous approach for its Michigan game program covers during the 1970s. Could that have had something to do with 14 consecutive losses to the Wolverines between 1965 and 1980?

1936 Ohio State
Ohio State, 1936 at Columbus

1938 Yale
Yale, 1938 at New Haven
1940 Harvard
Harvard, 1938 at Cambridge
1941 Northwestern
Northwestern, 1941 at Chicago
1949 Stanford
Stanford, 1948 at Palo Alto
1968 Duke
Duke, 1968 at Durham
1970 Wisconsin
Wisconsin, 1970 at Madison
1970 Wisconsin
Wisconsin, 1975 at Madison