M is for Mascot Dogs

Owney the Dog
c. 1895
Courtesy of The Smithsonian Institution
National Postal Museum, Curatorial Photographic Collection

Owney was a stray dog who wandered into the Albany, New York, post office in 1888. The clerks let him stay the night, and he fell asleep on a pile of empty mailbags. Owney was attracted to the texture or scent of the mailbags and began to follow them, first onto mail wagons and then onto mail trains. Owney began to ride with the bags on Railway Post Office (RPO) train cars across the state, and then the country. The RPO clerks adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot, marking his travels by placing medals and tags from his stops on his collar.

Original Handsome Dan
c. 1889
Photograph by Pach Brothers
Pictures of student life at Yale, 1779-1988 (inclusive).
Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University

Purchased from a local blacksmith by Yale football tackle, Andrew Graves, in 1889, and became the first American university mascot.

Stunter
c. 1914-1918
Photograph by David McLellan
Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland

Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. “Stunter” the clever mascot of the Tank Corps who, owing to his experience gained by riding about in Tanks, can balance himself on the bars of a motor-bicycle.’

Sources of Photographs:

Owney the Dog via The Smithsonian Institution’s Photostream on Flikr, A.2008-42. This photograph is in the public domain in the United States.

Original Handsome Dan, Pictures of student life at Yale, 1779-1988 (inclusive). Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University, Image Number: 8129. This photograph is in the public domain in the United States.

Stunter, National Library of Scotland Digital Gallery, First World War ‘Official Photographs’, From the papers of Field Marshal (Earl) Haig (1861-1928),  (38) L.507. Licensed under  ‘Creative Commons, Attribution — Noncommercial — Share-alike 2.5 UK: Scotland’.

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