Willard Geoffrey Lake (1863-1940)

Willard Geoffrey Lake, 1887

Willard Geoffrey Lake was born to Alvin and Amelia Haight Lake in Moravia, New York on November 26, 1863. He prepared for college at the Pennington Seminary in New Jersey and entered Dickinson with the class of 1887 in the fall of 1883. Known as "Ted" to his classmates, the 5' 7" New Yorker became a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He is perhaps far more known for his contribution to Dickinson sports. He was captain of baseball on several very successful teams and was such a driving power behind the organization of a successful football team at the College that he was know for long after as "the father of Dickinson Football." He captained the 1885 and 1886 football teams from the quarterback position during these first two years of organized intercollegiate competion that began with the inaugural game in December, 1885 against Swarthmore in Carlisle. With the help of Professor Fletcher Durell, he did much of the coaching, as well.

Lake graduated with his class in July 1887 and began a career as a teacher, serving as a principal in the public schools of Smyrna, Delaware until 1890 until he returned to the College as an adjunct professor of Hygeine and Physical Culture. For two years, he was very active in the training and advising of athletes at the College, especially in football and officiating in contests. When he left for a post as professor of Science at Southwestern state normal school (now California University of Pennsylvania) in 1892, Professor Reed took the opportunity to appoint to the vacancy H. M. Stephens.

Lake left Southwestern Normal in 1895 and became the manager of the Chautauqua Photographic Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania beginning in 1896. The photographs of this company oftern documented the industrial city and its poor and many survive in collections like the Carnegie Museum of Art. The company remained active until 1911. Lake then seemingly went on to expand his career as a photographer working for several area businesses such as the Baltimore and Ohio and the Wabash railroads. Willard Geoffrey Lake died in 1940 at the age of seventy-six.

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Dickinson College Archives
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