History of the Jayhawk
As reported in the 1995-96 KU Basketball Media Guide.
"The word 'Jayhawk' was first used in present-day Kansas about 1858. It was associated with robbing, looting and general lawlessness. During the Civil War, however, it took on new meaning.
Dr. Charles R. (Doc) Jennison, a surgeon, used it in 1861 when he was commissioned as a colonel by Kansas Governor Charles Robinson and charged with raising a regiment of cavalry. Jennison called his regiment the 'Independent Mounted Kansas Jayhawkers,' although it was officially the First Kansas Cavalry and later the Seventh Kansas Regiment.
During the Civil War the word Jayhawk became associated with the spirit of comradeship associated with efforts to keep Kansas a free state. And following the war most Kansans were proud to be called Jayhawkers.
By 1886, the University of Kansas had adopted the mythical bird as part of the KU yell."
The first Jayhawk was rendered in 1912. Over the next 30 years, there were a number of versions of the mythical bird. The traditional smiling Jayhawk, pictured above, was drawn in 1946 by Harold D. Sandy and has been the official Jayhawk for the last 50 years.
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