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New beverage coaster giveaway at NU Archives is based on vintage plaque showing the team name as "Purple," not Wildcats.
Contrary to a popular urban legend, Northwestern's sports teams were never named the Fighting Methodists; before being renamed the Wildcats in 1924, they were just known as the Purple (as illustrated by the headline from The Daily Northwestern of October 1910). To celebrate the beginning of the new academic year, University Archives scanned a circular plaque bearing the teams' name and affixed its image to beverage coasters- convenient for hot drinks in the winter and cold ones for the lovely weather that we've been having recently.
Despite having made such a big deal about this plaque, we have to admit that we're not entirely sure what its original purpose was. It's a brass circle approximately 4 inches in diameter, with purple and white enameling on one face, and two tiny holes drilled into its sides. It's been suggested that it could have originally been a label for the steamer trunks in which students or the members of the athletic teams carried their belongings in the first decades of the 20th century, but we may never know for sure.
Regardless, feel free to stop by Archives Monday through Friday between 8:30AM and 5:00PM to pick up a free coaster while supplies last!