“Of all the affairs he attended [after winning the Heisman],” writes Davis biographer Robert C. Gallagher, “the most gratifying had to be the ‘Elmira Salutes Ernie Day’ on Saturday, February 3, 1962…It was a heartfelt display of affection from the citizens of Elmira to its favorite son.” Indeed, there were 1,500 attendees packed into Notre Dame High School to hear New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, Browns owner Art Modell and Browns superstar Jim Brown sing the praises of the Elmira Express. “I think Ernie has the potential to come into pro football and repeat what he did in college, namely break my records,” said Jim Brown. “Ernie, we are going to welcome you to the Cleveland Browns with open hands.” President John F. Kennedy even sent a telegram salute for the occasion! And when Ernie received the gift of a new 1962 Thunderbird convertible, the hometown hero showed his deep appreciation by quipping, “Now I’ll have to go to all the gas stations in town.” Hard to believe that this young athlete so full of promise, potential and good will would suddenly be diagnosed with leukemia and perish at the tender age of 23, without ever appearing in an NFL game.
Elmira Salutes Ernie Day was a pinnacle moment in Davis' all-too-brief life, and we are proud to present the only known signed banquet program featuring Davis, Brown and Syracuse QB Dick Easterly. The bold blue-ink signatures average "9" strength, while the 9-1/2" x 7-3/4" program rates EX. It's accompanied by two other period Davis mementos: 1) A 1960 Syracuse Chamber of Commerce certificate honoring his All-American selection (8-1/2" x 11", EX inside a portfolio binder); and 2) A related 11/25/60 Syracuse Chamber of Commerce letter to none other than Ed Sullivan, mentioning Davis and pointing out a previous connection between the certificate designer and Sullivan himself (8-1/2" x 11", VG).
Full LOA from JSA.