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.

Ride your elephant to Sepia Saturday for more Jumbo sized posts. Just click here.


Little Nell said…
Poor old Jumbo. He wasn’t so lucky himself so he seems an odd choice as a lucky mascot! I like the idea of storing his ashes in a peanut butter jar; somebody had a sense of humour.
Wendy said…
Such an interesting bit of circus and college history. That photo makes it perfectly clear how Jumbo got his name.
Sharon said…
After reading your post, I did some "googling" and found many interesting reports of Jumbo's demise. It was very touching to read "Jumbo reached out and gently clasped his trainer with his trunk. Jumbo dies within a few minutes"
Postcardy said…
Very interesting. I never heard about Jumbo being stuffed and displayed at Tufts.
Bob Scotney said…
I'll bet he loved peanuts as well. I can see why he would be regarded as a mascot - but not in that jar!
Unknown said…
For some reason could not comment the other day but came back today and it is working. It was probably my own computer not working. Very cute about the peanut butter jar. This has been an educational theme. Elephants must amaze me. Not seen many but am impressed with the ones I saw at the zoo.

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