Skip to main content

Brumback, Willson Pinkerton, 1896-1981



  • Existence: 1896-1981


Willson Pinkerton Brumback was born in Van Wert, Ohio, on January 7, 1896. His father, D.L. Brumback, was a banker with the Van Wert National Bank; a relative, John Sanford Brumback, had donated the funds for the public library that was later named for him. After attending Van Wert High School and Mercersburg Academy, Willson Brumback entered Northwestern University in 1915, where he joined the Sigma Chi fraternity.

Brumback had played football in high school, and was chosen for the Northwestern freshman varsity squad in 1915. Playing as an end, Brumback won his “N” in 1916, a banner season for Northwestern, when the Purple won six out of seven games—their best season in many years. The wins included the first victory over the University of Chicago since 1901. The Northwestern team finished second in the Conference that year.

In May 1917, Brumback left Northwestern to serve in the Naval Reserve. Commissioned as an ensign in September 1918, he was decommissioned in January 1919, and returned to Northwestern. Although circumstances required him to leave Northwestern in March 1919, Brumback held a life membership in the “N” Men alumni organization and remained a staunch supporter of college football.

Brumback followed in his father's footsteps, eventually becoming Vice President of the Van Wert National Bank. He later served as an Executive Officer and Trustee of the Marsh Foundation, an orphanage in Van Wert. He married Rowena Conn (NU 1920); the couple had two children. Willson Brumback died on October 31, 1981.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Willson P. Brumback (1896-1981) Football Scrapbook

Identifier: 31/6/73
Abstract Willson Brumback's Scrapbook documents Northwestern's triumphal 1916 football season in seventeen pages of newspaper clippings. Seven pages of clippings are devoted to the October 21, 1916, game at Stagg Field, when the Northwestern Purple beat the Chicago Maroons 10-0, NU's first win over Chicago since 1901. The majority of the clippings date between October and November 1916, and include those from the Daily Northwestern, local Chicago newspapers, and the papers local to the away games....
Dates: 1916