Sepia Saturday - Elephant Education

Tuft's University in Medford, Massachusetts holds close ties to the majestic elephant. It's mascot is the elephant and they are called the Jumbos after a very famous circus elephant.

Jumbo the elephant was a popular act with the P.T. Barum circus. He was known nationally and well loved by children. Unfortunately he was killed when struck by an express train as he was being lead to his circus car.
Photo: Tufts University

P.T. Barnum who sat on the board of directors and benefactor at Tufts gave the stuffed hide to be displayed at the university's museum of natural history.

Over the years he was a good luck symbol for both athletics and academia. athletes were treated to courageous pep talks from their coaches who used Jumbo as a source of inspiration. Students would touch his tail or put pennies in his trunk for good luck before exams.

Jumbo's second life came to a fiery end when Barum Hall burned to the ground in 1975. All that was left of poor Jumbo was his tail and some ashes. In good humor and good intent his ashes were gathered and stored in a peanut butter jar.

Jumbo certainly remains a giant sized inspiration to Tufts athletes as they rub the jar of ashes before games for good luck.

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