Gustave “Pig” Dittmar Scrapbook

On May 8, 1917, a young, lean, and recent graduate of the University of Texas arrived at Fort Funston, San Antonio, looking to become a student again by enlisting in the First Officer’s Training Camp. Barely one month earlier, President Woodrow Wilson had declared war on Germany, entering the United States into what would become World War I. UT graduate and football standout, Gustave Charles Dittmar, like so many of his generation, immediately enlisted. Dittmar eventually gained a second lieutenant’s commission and earned a Purple Heart and a Silver Star Medal. A hero on the gridiron became a hero in battle.

Dittmar was blessed, or maybe cursed, with two nicknames: the obvious, “Gus,” and the not so obvious, “Pig.” He earned “Pig” by his ability to squeeze through a wall of hulking linemen – like “a greased pig.” He was a standout football player at Houston High, then perfected those skills at UT. He enrolled in September 1913, became the starting center in October 1913, and won all-state, all-conference, and all-American honors throughout the next four years. He was captain of the 1916 football team and the 1917 champion basketball team; he lettered in both sports. He was light for a center, only 165 pounds, but was feared by opponents and respected by coaches.

When Dittmar graduated from UT and entered the First Officer’s Training Camp, he left behind four years of fascinating memories. There were the tough games against Notre Dame and Texas A&M, the intense training camps in San Marcos, the relaxation activities at Barton Springs, and the comradery of fraternity parties. And, he left behind a fantastic record of those years, in the form of this thoughtfully compiled scrapbook. The Dittmar Scrapbook gives us a small, but wonderful, window to look upon the Texas collegiate world of 1913-1917. Here you will find startling action photographs of rough football games, candid shots of team members enjoying an outing to Marble Falls, guileless photos of girlfriends, and newspaper clippings narrating the story of “Pig” and UT football.

A recent video produced by the staff of The Alcalde, the official publication of the Texas Exes, provides further information on Dittmar and the scrapbook. You may watch watch it here.

Viewers should be aware that a small number of informal nude photos appear in the on-line scrapbook; and, several pages from the original scrapbook do not appear in our online version. Questions concerning the scrapbook should be directed to Jan Todd, Director of the Stark Center, at jan@starkcenter.org or 512-471-4890.

The Dittmar Scrapbook was digitized by the staff of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports, a research center of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin.