Mascot

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The College of William and Mary has had several mascots during its history. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a mascot as "a person, animal, or object adopted by a group as a symbolic figure especially to bring them good luck.[1] The university has also had several nicknames for its athletic teams including the Orange and Black, the Indians, and is currently known as the Tribe. With the demise of unofficial mascot Col. Ebirt (Tribe spelled backwards) in 2005, there has been no physical manifestation of a mascot at William and Mary.

Mascots

Child

For early football teams at the College of William and Mary, as for other teams, the "mascot" was usually a child. See early volumes of the Colonial Echo yearbook for examples.

Dog

Photograph of Damm-it the campus dog, Arthur W. and Leah James Scrapbook, circa 1922-1926.


Wampo

Wampo

The name of Wampo, the university's pinto pony mascot, came from the initials William And Mary Pony. The pony was named via a campus contest. Wampo appeared as the College of William and Mary mascot from the late 1930s through 1944.

In 1937, a few days before William and Mary's regular Thanksgiving Day football game with the University of Richmond, students kidnapped a pony they thought was Wampo who turned out to be a substitute pony. Wampo was stolen the next year from his stable on the evening of November 17, 1938. Students organized search parties in an effort to recover the pony. After fruitless searching for the mascot, William and Mary students started bonfires in Richmond. Additional information about this episode can be found in the November 22, 1938 issue of The Flat Hat.

In June 1944, Wampo was sold at auction in a war bond auction during World War II. In October 1946, a new pony was proposed to become Wampo [2].

Wampo

Consult the papers of Emily Harrell Lynch for a photograph of a man riding Wampo and at least two students nearby in Indian-style costumes.







Indian Warrior and Indian Maiden

Often as part of the cheerleading group for athletics and parades, a man and/or woman wore Indian costumes to portray the College of William and Mary's mascot. This was common from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Examples:

Students dressed as Indians in the College of William and Mary Homecoming Parade
  • 1957 Homecoming parade (P1979.1144, B2540)
  • 1987 Colonial Echo, p. 137
  • 1988 Colonial Echo, p. 168
  • the 1993 Colonial Echo reprinted a photograph from the 1963 Colonial Echo of cheerleaders in Indian-style costumes and with a horse (B2534)
  • University Archives Artifact Collection, Indian Mascot Doll, circa 1940-1949, in a green jumpsuit, with a W and M on his chest, 15" tall. Acc. 2007.009. An image is available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/scrc/545132892/.
  • University Archives Artifact Collection, Baseball Uniform, circa 1933, Grey wool uniform, shirt and pants, with blue stripes and black trim, "Indians" is spelled out across the front with number 9 on the back; uniform formerly belonged to Carter White, class of 1933. Acc. 1990.046. An image is available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/scrc/1519267667/.

Unnamed Furry Mascot

In August 1992, the College of William and Mary debuted a furry mascot that was intended to be named by a contest. It was withdrawn within a week. The mascot was 6 feet tall, furry, William adn Mary green and gold wearing a tri-cornered hat. Campus officials stated that the original idea was to "create a symbol for a new community outreach program to involve children in William adn Mary sports through the Green and Gold Club." (Virginia Gazette, B1 19 August 1992, in the folder "Mascots," University Archives Subject File Collection)

Col. Ebirt (unofficial)

Col. Ebirt derived his name from Tribe spelled backwards. Col. Ebirt was a green costumed character appearing at football games from about 2001 through 2005. (The Flat Hat, 5 October 2001; "Eulogy for Ebirt: Lessons from one of the Tribe's great fans," W&M News, 7 October 2005)

The College of William and Mary's New Mascot??

Only time and the Mascot Search committee will tell! See the Mascot Search website and A Mascot for William and Mary blog for ongoing updates.

In the News

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

  • Colonial Echo yearbook
  • The Flat Hat; see the card catalog index in the Special Collections Research Center for all references to mascots.
  • "Athletics--Indian Symbolism" and "Mascots," University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
  • University Archives Photograph Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
    • P1988.15: Bill Smith, Indian mascot, riding Wampo the horse, published in the 1960 Colonial Echo. Black & white, 8" x 10" print.
    • P1998.96: W&M mascot preparing for homecoming parade, circa 1972-1976). Black & white, 8" x 10" print.
    • P1979.1144 (B2540): 1957 Homecoming parade
  • Arthur W. and Leah James Scrapbook, Photo of Damm-it the campus dog.
  • Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
  • University Archives Artifact Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.


A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
Unfortunately, many of the early original records of the College of William and Mary were destroyed by fire, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information available here is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in the SCRC's collections and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the SCRC's access tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.