History In Ink®  Historical Autographs





The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame

Jim Crowley

Elmer Layden

Don Miller

Harry Stuhldreher

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James Harold Crowley, 1902-1986; Elmer Francis Layden, 1903-1973; Don Miller, 1902-1979; and Harry Augustus Stuhldreher, 1901-1965, The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame.  American college football legends.  Dinner program signed, in person, Don Miller, Elmer Layden, Jim Crowley, and Harry Stuhldreher.

Known as the “Four Horsemen,” this 1924 Notre Dame backfield remains legendary in the annals of college football.  Coach Knute Rockne put the four together in 1922, their sophomore season:  Stuhldreher at quarterback, Crowley at left halfback, Miller at right halfback, and Layden at fullback.  They were arguably the greatest college backfield ever.  In three seasons, Notre Dame lost but two games, both to Nebraska, one in 1922 and one in 1923.  The team was undefeated in 1924 and took the national championship with a 27-10 victory over Stanford in the 1925 Rose Bowl.

This is a commemorative program from the 1957 Testimonial Football Dinner at Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey.  The father of one of the Ridgewood players played with the Four Horsemen at Notre Dame and arranged for them to attend the dinner.  The next-to-last page of the program contains the famous photograph of the Four Horsemen in uniform, mounted on horseback, above a story about them and their accomplishments.  Miller, Layden, Crowley, and Stuhldreher each signed the program in person, above the photograph, at the dinner.

This is a very scarce and desirable piece.  It is extremely difficult to find the signatures of all four of these players together on the same piece.  Individually their autographs are available in varying degrees of scarcity, but the difficulty of obtaining them, and hence the value, increases exponentially for all four together.  Our research disclosed only a handful of pieces signed by all four that have been sold at auction over the past 38 years. 

The Four Horsemen have signed this program boldly in blue.  The body of the program is tightly bound with staples and a decorative cord with a tassel on the bottom.  The program cover is split at the spine, however, and is loose from the body.  There are other signatures in the program, the autographs of high school coaches and players.  Overall the piece is in fine condition. 




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