This name for the group of prestigious eastern U.S. colleges dates to the 1930s. The name is a reference to the old, ivy-covered buildings on those campuses.
The term ivy colleges is first used in the New York Herald-Tribune of 14 October 1933:
A proportion of our eastern ivy colleges are meeting little fellows another Saturday before plunging into the strife and the turmoil.
The league was added by the Providence Journal on 8 February 1935:
Brown seen as charter member of Ivy League.
The Ivy League operated as an informal association that originally had ten members: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Yale, and the U.S. Military and Naval Academies at West Point and Annapolis. The two academies dropped out the association in 1940. The league was formalized in 1954 and played its first games as a formal organization in 1956.
Copyright 1997-2013, by David Wilton