Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
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The Indian Symbol’s Long History
The Athletics Department website describes one interpretation of the origins of the Indian symbol at the College:
Starting in the 1920s sportswriters (primarily representing Boston’s many newspapers of the day) began to regularly use the nickname “Indians” in their coverage of Dartmouth’s football team as it achieved a position of national prominence. The usage was grounded in reference to the College’s founding mission in 1769 - the education of American Indian youth (known today as Native Americans) in the region.
For about 50 years thereafter, the nickname “Indians,” though never officially adopted by the College, was used actively and interchangeably with “the Green,” “Big Green” and “Hanoverians” by the news media and in Dartmouth publications in coverage of the College’s teams. The Indian symbol also appeared on uniforms of athletic teams during this period. [Emphasis added]
We all know the Hovey Murals in Thayer, which date back to 1938, but the adminstration talks less about how American Indian iconography was central to the College back into the 19th century. I was alerted to one manifesation of the importance of Indian images when the above-pictured, 1909 cane came up for auction recently. The sale’s descriptive text noted that Dike’s Canes in the United States had an entry regarding canes at the College (the book is in the Sherman Art History library):
A selection of old canes:
The cane at auction was owned by one B. M. Scully of the Class of 1909, who walked the Hanover Plain just as you and I do. He is no more.
Addendum: An alumnus writes in:
Enjoyed your post this morning. As I own six of the vintage canes, it caused me to take a closer look — one from 1924, one from ‘25, two undetermined as of this writing. One, however, from the same class of 1909 with the name T.A. Fardy etched on the back. Also, one from the class of 1907 with the name of E.H Frost. All are in quite good shape, with the noses and eyelids bearing the brunt of any damage over the years.
Keep up the great work re: our beloved alma mater.
Addendum: And another:
Good piece. I’ll spare you any of my waxing nostalgic about family D canes (we’ve got tales and canes from both sides), but surely you remember the silly Eleazar version, which appeared on your watch. As I recall, it was promptly dubbed the Quaker Oats Man.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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