Bulldog Beginnings

Bulldog Beginnings March 20, 2015

I read recently that the Butler University use of the Bulldogs for the university team name and mascot began when the Butler team – known as the “Christians” (since the school was then still affiliated with the Christian Churches Disciples of Christ) or sometimes the “Blue and White” – played a team from Franklin, the “Baptists.” The heated rivalry led to the creation of a cartoon for the student newspaper on November 21st, 1919, in which a bulldog attacks John the Baptist. Our archive librarian Sally Helton-Childs was able to get me a copy of the cartoon, and so I am sharing it here. I don’t think it has been seen my many people in the years since then, and so I consider it a privilege to be able to share it here today.

Bulldog cartoon

As a religion professor at Butler with a focus on Biblical studies, I was interested in the use of Biblical imagery, with the title suggesting that the Butler team was going to hand the “Baptists” their head on a platter. “Brother John,” however, looks more like a Baptist in the sense of the modern denomination, than the Baptist (who ought to have been wearing camel hair).

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • How Very Liberal.

    The Imagery here is Jaw Dropping.
    Cartoonists from 1919 played no games.
    Brother John And the Elephant Remark are Dead On.
    Indeed the Old Tymee Conservative Christian Republicans Would be labeled Brother John.

    Ask Sally about Brother John or “Frère Jacques” a French nursery rhyme written to taunt Jews and Protestants. “Ding Dang Dong”

  • Gary

    Just for historical completeness, I assume the game was football, which fits the outdoor theme and November date. With March Madness and Butler doing well, I immediately thought of basketball. Also, the librarian ought to document the final score of the game, just to see if the Bulldog image stuck because of success that year. If Butler lost that year, the next year they might have adopted a lion instead. A case of escalating mascots.