The attack on Pearl Harbor that pushed the United States into World War II 75 years ago this week caused much anxiety on the west coast. Fears of a follow-up invasion of the mainland caused the 1942 Rose Bowl game to be cancelled—at least temporarily. The government prohibited large public gatherings on the west coast and the Rose Parade and football game were both seen as attractive targets.
On December 16, with the game just two weeks away, Duke University offered its stadium as an alternate site. With both Oregon State and the Blue Devils still hoping to cap their seasons with an appearance in the most famous college contest, the 1942 Rose Bowl was indeed played in Durham, NC.
Leaving just three days after Duke’s invitation arrived, Oregon State traveled by train from Corvallis to Durham, stopping for practice along the way. Duke hadn’t lost a game all year and was heavily favored to win on their home turf. Additional seating was brought in to accommodate the large crowd. The game was close throughout, but the Beavers prevailed, 20-16.
A rare wire service photographs from that January 1 contest is the RMY Auctions Photo of the Day.
Measuring 7×9 and including the original dated caption attached to the back, the photo shows Duke running back Tommy Davis heading around end against the Beavers. Auction officials say it’s one of only a few action images from the ’42 Rose Bowl that exist in the hobby today.
It’s one of more than 1,200 photos up for bid through Saturday in RMY’s December Premier Auction.
Duke and Oregon State have not played each other since that famed ‘East Coast Rose Bowl’ of 1942.