Handsome Dan I
1889-1898
 

 

When Princeton used to have a real tiger cub and Harvard always brought along, the "Orange Man" as a stand-in for Puritan John Harvard, Yale undergraduates thought they were due for a mascot and finally one came to Yale in 1889 in the custody of Andrew B. Graves, '92S (crew and football tackle) who, as an undergraduate, had seen the dog sitting in front of a shop and purchased him from a New Haven blacksmith for $5.00. The students dubbed him the "Yale mascot". He was always led across the field just before football and baseball games would begin. "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," eulogized the Hartford Courant. "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 recalled 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."

"He was a big white bulldog", history relates, "with one of the greatest faces a dog of that breed (English) ever carried". Actually this magnificent specimen was one of the finest specimens of his breed in America, who went on to win hundreds of ribbons, many in competition with contenders from England.

In 1897, Graves and Handsome Dan I set out for a trip around the world, according to the Yale Alumni Weekly. He died in 1898. His stuffed body long stood in the old Yale gymnasium. When it was torn down, he was sent to the Peabody Museum for reconstruction. He now is in a sealed glass case in one of the trophy rooms of Yale's Payne Whitney Gymnasium, where "he is the a perpetual guardian of the treasures which attest to generations of Yale athletic glory". (Stanton Ford) Andrew Graves died of tuberculosis, February 18, 1943, in Paris, France.