Winning Bid: $221
Historical Early YALE Stuffed Mascot Bulldog, 1900s:
HANDSOME DAN EARLY HISTORY: (The following from Wikipedia) Handsome Dan I 1889–1897 (retired to England).
Handsome Dan was selected based on his ability to tolerate bands and children, negative reaction to the color crimson and to tigers (the symbols of rival schools Harvard and Princeton respectively), bought by Yale student Andrew Barbey Graves, who cleaned up the dog and named him “Handsome Dan.” Soon, Dan followed Graves everywhere around campus, including sporting events. The students quickly adopted Dan as the Yale mascot. After Graves graduated and returned to England, Dan stayed on campus with his master’s brother, William Leon Graves. Before football and baseball games would begin, Handsome Dan founded a tradition and a dynasty by being led across the field. One newspaper reported: “He was a big white bulldog, with one of the greatest faces a dog of that breed (English) ever carried”. This was not an exaggeration, as Handsome Dan was one of the finest specimens of his breed in America, and went on to win first prize at the Westminster Dog Show and at least thirty other first prize ribbons in the United States and Canada. According to the Hartford Courant, “In personal appearance, he seemed like a cross between an alligator and a horned frog, and he was called handsome by the metaphysicians under the law of compensation. The title came to him, he never sought it. He was always taken to games on a leash, and the Harvard football team for years owed its continued existence to the fact that the rope held.” The Philadelphia Press reported that “a favorite trick was to tell him to ‘Speak to Harvard.’ He would bark ferociously and work himself into physical contortions of rage never before dreamed of by a dog. Dan was peculiar to himself in one thing – he would never associate with anyone but students. Dan implanted himself more firmly in the hearts of Yale students than any mascot had ever done before.” Handsome Dan crossed the Atlantic to join his old master in 1897 and died in 1898. Graves had Dan stuffed and returned him to be displayed at Yale in the old gymnasium. When it was torn down, Dan I was sent to the Peabody Museum for reconstruction. Handsome Dan I now is in a sealed glass case in one of the trophy rooms of Yale’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium, where, according to Stanton Ford, “he is the perpetual guardian of the treasures which attest to generations of Yale athletic glory.” Andrew Graves died of tuberculosis on February 18, 1948, in Westbury, Long Island.