The Story of the Duke Mascot
The Rest of the Story
As the campus leaders from the Class of 1923 made plans for their senior
year, they decided to select a name since the desired results by democratic
nomination and vote had been inconclusive. The editors of The Archive
and The Chanticleer, two of the other student publications, agreed that
the newspaper staff should choose a name and "put it over."
Thus William H. Lander, as editor-in-chief, and Mike Bradshaw, as managing
editor, of The Trinity Chronicle began the academic year 1922-23 referring
to the athletic teams as the Blue Devils. Their class had been the first
post-war freshmen and the student body was full of returning veterans
so the name needed no explanation. Acknowledging that it was somewhat
unpopular, they nevertheless believed it to be the best name nominated.
Neither the college press nor the cheerleaders used the name that first
year. In fact, The Chanticleer made fun of the selection and process
by quoting someone saying "We will use blew devvies even if no
one else does." Much to the editor's surprise no opposition materialized,
not even from the college administration. The Chronicle staff continued
its use and through repetition, Blue Devils eventually caught on.
Today the origin of the university mascot is virtually forgotten even
though its instant, national recognition has long been established.
With the popular Red Devil mascot frequently being challenged throughout
the country, the origin of Duke's Blue Devil is one of the most often
requested items of information in the University Archives. Questioners
are universally surprised to discover its origin is more military and
patriotic than religious.
The Early History
of Duke Basketball
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