It might be a fact that few people know -- in 1922, Washington & Jefferson College was the last small school to play in the Rose Bowl Game.
The Rose Bowl, played on New Year's Day every year in Pasadena Calif., is among the most prestigious of the college bowl games.
In the 1922 game, the team from the Washington County college -- with fewer than 500 students -- ground the remains of the University of California's "Wonder Team" to a rainy 0-0 tie.
Thanks to the family of Alfred J. Crook, a player from that team, part of the legacy of the 1922 team and the Rose Bowl game will now be preserved in the college archives.
Neal O'Brien, grandson of Mr. Crook, donated a scrapbook that had belonged to his grandfather to the school Friday. Mr. O'Brien, of New Albany, Ohio, said it was a good home for the family heirloom.
"We wanted it to be a safe place and one where it would be preserved," Mr. O'Brien said.
The scrapbook was handed down to Mr. O'Brien from his mother, the late Jacqueline O'Brien, Mr. Crook's only child.
After Mr. Crook's career at W&J, he played professional football for two years, according to Mr. O'Brien.
"He played for the Detroit Panthers and then coached and taught at the Linsly School for a few years," Mr. O'Brien said.
Football played a large role in the family because of Mr. Crook's career, and that love was passed on to Mrs. O'Brien, then to her son, Mr. O'Brien, who played while growing up.
Mr. O'Brien said he was actually named after Earle "Greasy" Neale, who was the football coach at W& J during the Rose Bowl appearance.
Now 49, Mr. O'Brien has a 13-year-old son, Connor, who plays lacrosse. While en route to one of Connor's games, Mr. O'Brien started to think about donating the scrapbook to the college.
"We would drive by the college and, of course, I would start thinking about my grandfather and his football career," he said.
Mr. Crook died before Mr. O'Brien was born and he was "a legend and bigger than real life" in Mr. O'Brien's mind, he said.
"His playing in the Rose Bowl was almost a mythical thing in our family. Most people don't assume that W&J was ever in the Rose Bowl," he said.
The scrapbook has photos and newspaper articles about the game, Mr. O'Brien said. He made copies of some of the items for his son and his daughter, Maura, 21.
"We don't open it all that much because of the fragile condition. That is one of the reasons I wanted it to go to the college, because I knew it would be well taken care of," Mr. O'Brien said.
Alexis Rittenberger, director of library services at W&J, said the scrapbook is a "wonderful addition" to the archives.
"This is one of our first pieces from that time of significance. This is a major point in our history, and this is a valuable addition," Ms. Rittenberger said.
The scrapbook, said Ms. Rittenberger, has excellent news clippings from newspapers in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Detroit about the game. Mr. Crook was originally from Detroit.
"That is pretty amazing for 1922. It isn't like today where you can easily get newspapers from three areas like that," she said.
The book will be available for historians and others interested in information about the college from that time period.
Mr. O'Brien and his family, which also includes his wife, Maureen, lives about 31/2 hours from the college in Washington, but he knows that he can see the scrapbook in the future.
"It feels like an important part of our history and W&J's history. We don't want it to get lost and the archive is the best place for it," he said, "It will always keep us connected to W&J."
Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: email@example.com.