A Century of the Jayhawk
The new year of 2012 heralds in “A Century of the Jayhawk” at the University of Kansas. Henry Maloy’s Jayhawk, the first one recognized by the University, originally appeared in the University Daily Kansan (October 28, 1912) and later the same academic year in the Jayhawker Yearbook. Not only was this the first Jayhawk illustration known to be used by the University, Maloy’s bird featured shoes, a feature shared with all future Jayhawks except the raven-like 1920 Jayhawk.
Maloy stated that, as an artist, he didn’t even think of the term Jayhawker as a bird. In fact, Maloy had also drawn a bulldog to represent the football team instead of the now famous Jayhawk. The term “Jayhawker” was still very much associated with the Free-state movement and “Bleeding Kansas”, so using a bird to represent KU didn’t come to him right away.
March 7, 1909
Maloy was not the first person to draw a bird to represent KU though. One of the earliest known depictions is from the Kansas City Journal on March 7, 1909. The image was in an illustration which was highlighting the fact that KU had flown away with another Missouri Valley Conference basketball championship.
Apparently, the image of a bird to represent a Jayhawker was fairly new – a tag was attached to the leg with the notation “Jayhawk,” letting the reader know that this wasn’t just any bird, it was representing KU.
The “A Century of the Jayhawk” logo will soon be seen on merchandise, similar to when KU celebrated “100 Years of Basketball” in 1998. KU’s old favorite returned home on February 25th as C. Jay, the Centennial Jayhawk, appeared at the final victory over Missouri at Allen Fieldhouse.