Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Throwback Thursday: First Jayhawk Edition

October 22nd, 2020

Each week we’ll be posting a photograph from University Archives that shows a scene from KU’s past. We’ve also scanned more than 34,800 images from KU’s University Archives and made them available online; be sure to check them out!

This week’s image is the first Jayhawk drawing to appear in print.

The first Jayhawk drawing to appear in print, University Daily Kansan, October 25, 1912. Drawn by Daniel Henry “Hank” Maloy, this illustration is the final panel in a cartoon series titled “What We’ve Had to Stand For This Week at K.U.” This sketch references the football team’s 0-6 loss to Drake University. University Archives. Call Number: UA Ser 69/2/1. Click image to enlarge.

The Spencer Research Library exhibit “100 Years of the Jayhawk” notes that

KU student Daniel Henry “Hank” Maloy drew what became the first “signature” Jayhawk. In recollections of his college years, Maloy remembered that he first had the idea of drawing the Jayhawk as a bird in October of 1912 when he saw a stuffed chickenhawk in the Squires photography studio [in downtown Lawrence]. He went home and drew a long-legged Jayhawk with big, heavy shoes so that he “could administer more effective justice” towards athletic opponents.

The term Jayhawker has been associated with Kansas since the pre-Civil War era and eventually became the symbol for the University of Kansas. In 1886, the term Jayhawk was incorporated into [KU’s] world-famous college yell “Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU,” although it was not yet portrayed as a bird. In a pre-Maloy drawing in the 1908 Jayhawker yearbook, a rather prehistoric looking bird is perched on a goalpost heckled a miserable looking Missouri Tiger.

Caitlin Donnelly
Head of Public Services