Charles McCarthy
Charles McCarthy
Hometown: Brockton, MA
Team: Football

Charles McCarthy '96
Hometown: Brockton, MA
Sport: Football
Year Inducted: 1972

Charles McCarthy '96 was a school dropout at age 12 and a confidant of men such as President Teddy Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, and Woodrow Wilson before his death in 1921. In between, McCarthy played three years at fullback for Brown at 135 pounds in the rough push-and-pull era, earned a law degree from the University of Wisconsin, and became nationally famous as a law librarian at the University of Wisconsin, where he devised a unique system of cataloguing. Born in Brockton, McCarthy received a brief education in the public schools and was then apprenticed to a shoemaker. Not happy with this life, he ran off and became a cabin boy on a schooner. He developed a thirst for education and was personally admitted to Brown by President Andrews. A hard-hitting fullback despite his size, McCarthy scored Brown's first touchdowns on both Harvard and Yale. His size was actually a plus factor on these two plays, as his teammates picked him up and threw him into the end zone. McCarthy still holds the Brown record for punt returns with a 97-yarder in 1985, one of 16 touchdowns he scored for the Bruins. McCarthy earned his way through Brown by working on staging at the old Providence Opera House and by rolling the athletic field, which was then on the Lower Campus. He and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., '97 would often go to the theater together, with McCarthy insisting on paying his own way. The two usually ended up sitting in the balcony. McCarthy's book, "The Wisconsin Idea," was published at the request of Teddy Roosevelt, who wrote the forward. When the Progressive Party held its convention at Chicago in 1912, the former cabin boy from Brockton was among those who prepared the tentative draft of the platform.