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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