Archive for Sunday, August 23, 2015

KU Today: The evolution of KU’s one-of-a-kind mascot

August 23, 2015

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Kansas University may be 150 years old, but its mascot — the Jayhawk — is slightly more of a spring chicken.

The term Jayhawk combines two birds: the blue jay, noisy and quarrelsome, and the sparrowhawk, a stealthy hunter, according to KU’s “Traditions” website. During the Civil War, the term Jayhawkers came to be applied to anti-slavery ruffians who made Lawrence a Free State stronghold.

The bird first emerged at KU in a cheer — the famous Rock Chalk chant — in 1886, according to KU. And when KU football players first took the field in 1890, they were called Jayhawkers.

It would be years before an official mascot emerged on paper. Here, according to KU, is the evolution of KU’s Jayhawk.


1912

The 1912 Jayhawk. Henry Maloy, a cartoonist for the student newspaper, drew a memorable version, with shoes for kicking opponents.

The 1912 Jayhawk. Henry Maloy, a cartoonist for the student newspaper, drew a memorable version, with shoes for kicking opponents.


1920

The 1920 Jayhawk. A more somber bird, perched on the letters “KU."

The 1920 Jayhawk. A more somber bird, perched on the letters “KU."


1923

The 1923 Jayhawk. Jimmy O'Bryon and George Hollingbery designed this “duck-like” Jayhawk.

The 1923 Jayhawk. Jimmy O'Bryon and George Hollingbery designed this “duck-like” Jayhawk.


1929

The 1929 Jayhawk. Forrest O. Calvin drew this grim-faced Jayhawk, with vicious talons.

The 1929 Jayhawk. Forrest O. Calvin drew this grim-faced Jayhawk, with vicious talons.


1941

The 1941 Jayhawk. Gene "Yogi" Williams opened the Jayhawk's beak and eyes, getting closer to the version that would last for decades.

The 1941 Jayhawk. Gene "Yogi" Williams opened the Jayhawk's beak and eyes, getting closer to the version that would last for decades.


1946

Harold D. Sandy designed this Jayhawk in 1946, and copyrighted it the following year. It's the smiling version of the Jayhawk that survives today.

Harold D. Sandy designed this Jayhawk in 1946, and copyrighted it the following year. It's the smiling version of the Jayhawk that survives today.

KU Today 2015

Read about what's going with KU's campus and community, while also looking back at where it started 150 years ago, in an LJWorld.com special section: KU TODAY.

Comments

Sara Shepherd 2 years, 3 months ago

It is the same smiling Jayhawk designed in 1946, though the KU logo on the side did change after 2005. Here's a story we did back when KU changed the font to Trajan. It was hotly debated! http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/jul... — Sara Shepherd, LJW

Sara Shepherd 2 years, 3 months ago

Yes, KU adopted the new Trajan logo in 2005. (Though getting every uniform and every logo everywhere updated with the new lettering took longer. The band, for example, is just now getting new uniforms with the updated lettering style on them: http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/heard_hill/2015/mar/31/ku-unveils-new-look-for-marching-band-un/.) — Sara Shepherd, LJW

Mary Lee Norris 2 years, 3 months ago

FYI: Perhaps the Jayhawk does have vicious talons. ("The 1929 Jayhawk. Forrest O. Calvin drew this grim-faced Jayhawk, with vicious talons.") Since the creature wears shoes, we will never know. The sharp projection behind its leg is a spur.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 3 months ago

On the 1929 bird, you say those are vicious "talons." Au contraire: those are definitely spurs! A talon is a claw and anyone who has raised chickens knows the difference between a talon and a spur!

Joshua Cain 2 years, 3 months ago

Style wise the 1929 takes the cake. I wish we could find more gear with the 1929 bird. Any Jayhawk after 1929 reminds me of the Cluckin' Chicken from Saturday Night Live.

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