As part of this year’s centennial celebration for Camp Randall Stadium, the UW Department of Athletics announced that each of the seven Badger home games would feature a vintage-style ticket. That inspired us, so we headed to Steenbock Library to visit the UW Archives. With the help of its director, David Null, we rummaged through file folders to find some of the coolest, oldest Badger-football memorabilia from the first decades of Camp Randall Stadium.
The first stadium had wooden bleachers, which didn’t hold up past 1914. Temporary bleachers went in to replace the wooden ones, but at the 1915 Homecoming game against Minnesota, the bleachers — holding 1,800 people — collapsed. After that, plans got under way to build concrete bleachers into the hillside by Breese Terrace. The ticket above is from the first game held at the then-new “Concrete Stand.”
We all know the history: before Stadium was added, Camp Randall served as a Civil War training ground for some 70,000 troops. Prior to 1895, football games were held on Lower Campus (now Library Mall). The ticket below — to the game against Purdue — is one of the oldest in the archives.
The first football programs were very basic, consisting of little more than the player rosters and tips for how to keep score. As Badger football moved into the late 1910s and early 1920, the designs became more elaborate and colorful, and the books became a revenue source through sales of advertisements.
Some of the early tickets were quite innovative, sometimes presented as flipbooks or as fold-out matchbooks.