Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Handsome Dan

Well, I am back from Sweden and I thought we should start where Tim Koch left off on 12 September, with more interesting stuff about Yale University. Tim writes:

Some may be aware that Yale University athletic teams are known as ‘Bulldogs’ and have both a real dog and a costumed person as a mascot. The picture is of the first Handsome Dan. He started as the pet of an Englishman, Andrew B Graves of the Class of 1892. Graves both rowed and played (American) Football. Dan followed him to various sporting events and he was soon adopted by the students. He allegedly had a particular hatred for Harvard (which probably did not go against him) and three of his successors have been temporarily kidnapped by the Crimsons. The Hartford Courant said of the original, “In personal appearance, he seemed like a cross between an alligator and ahorned frog, and he was called handsome by the metaphysicians under the law of compensation”. The first eight Dans lived at the Yale Boathouse. Their successors have lived with various coaches and academics which is a wise move as bulldogs cannot swim. Dan XI demonstrated this when he fell off the Yale dock in 1953 and nearly drowned. Today, Yale’s mascot is Handsome Dan XVIII. When the original Dan died in 1898 he was stuffed and put in a glass case in one of the university trophy rooms where he remains to this day.

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