From the archives


    After 158 years, Northwestern has gone from a one building college to the 240-acre campus we know today. Keeping track of all the changes is the University Archives, with 26,000 cubic feet of materials dating back to the days of the Fighting Methodists. Archivist Kevin Leonard dug deep and blew the dust off seven aging pieces to present.

    Stuffed Wildcat

    In November 1966, Northwestern had a taxidermic wildcat donated and put on display in the Alumni Offices. It was briefly put on display in the main library during the early 1990s but “A don’t-hurt-animals nut had a cow over it, so we had to take it down,” Leonard says.

    Bits and Pieces of Northwestern’s Original Building

    Although Northwestern’s first building was demolished in 1973 to make room for new buildings, not all was lost. The archives have kept some of the scraps, like a doorknob and wooden truss. Northwestern alumnus and violin hobbyist Frank Endicott decided to transform some of the tinder into a playable violin.

    Champagne Bottle from the 1996 Rose Bowl
    If only we had won. Then maybe this bottle would have been popped and sprayed around a Pasadena locker room. But Northwestern fell 41-32 to the USC Trojans, so the bottle remains unopened. Perhaps an Alamo Bowl bottle will someday sit beside it.

    Vietnam War Armband and Buttons
    In the 1960s, Northwestern joined hundreds of other college campuses in protest against the Vietnam War. “After students at Kent State were killed, things picked up on campus,” Leonard says. “[When] it was known that we went through Cambodia to fight Vietnam, Northwestern students and faculty went on strike.”

    Scholarship Bond

    If your great-great-great-grandfather was smart enough to buy a $100 bond investing in the future of Northwestern in the mid-1800s, you could attend for free, as long as you’re accepted. “Every few years or so we get a student paying with the perpetual scholarship,” Leonard said. But great-granddaughters looking for a free ride are out of luck. The scholarship applies only to male heirs.

    Purple Parrot Magazine
    A relic of the flapper era, Northwestern’s student-run humor magazine Purple Parrot is complete with drawings of girls in low-cut dresses and ads for Lucky Strike cigarettes. “It’s a good document about the roaring twenties,” Leonard says.

    Tug of War Medal
    Ah, the glory days of short shorts. In the late 1880s, Northwestern was a powerhouse at tug of war. Northwestern students took home the Hub Cup in 1890, ‘91 and ‘92, naming us the “Champs of the Northwest”. Too bad such a display of physical dominance is no longer Northwestern tradition.


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