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Boston College Eagle

virtual exhibit summer 2005 - burns library

Introduction | Adoption | Mascot | Symbol | Conclusion


Mascot: Live, Stuffed and Costumed

In the fall of 1923, Boston College was presented with a gift of a live eagle (it was actually a hawk). Surviving a horrible storm, the exhausted bird landed on a fishing schooner fifty miles out from the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts. The ship, itself, had barely survived the storm. The bird became entangled in the ship's rigging and was rescued by the crew. Having read of the school's recent adoption of the eagle as a mascot, they presented the bird as a gift to Boston College. With a diet of buffalo meat and the tender care of Father Daniel Lynch, SJ, the bird soon regained its strength. Alas, less than two weeks after arriving at the Heights, the bird flew away on Sunday morning prior to the game with Marquette University. BC lost the game by one point. Football Captain Charles Darling is pictured with the "eagle."

In the Spring of 1924, a bald eagle was captured on a New Mexico ranch and sent to Boston College by Rev. John A. Risacher, S.J. (a former teacher at Boston College High School). This event received national attention as the bird was captured by a cowboy employed on the ranch of Senator Albert B. Fall. The eagle was never officially named but became known to the students as "Herpy." A junior, in jest, had pointed out the relationship between a "bald" head and a certain remedy for hair loss known as "herpicide." Unfortunately, Herpy was rather unhappy with his new home and tried to bite through his cage, resulting in an injured beak and other ailments. The eagle was sent to Angell Memorial Hospital and upon his release given to the Franklin Park Zoo. A snapshot of Rev. John A. Risacher, S.J. is reproduced here.

With the loss of Herpy, Father Risacher gave Boston College a stuffed and mounted golden eagle that had an eight-foot-long wingspan. The stuffed bird served as the official Boston College eagle from 1923 through 1961. It is pictured with John Culhane, Charles Darling, Joseph Kozlowski and Edward Harrison (left to right) in a Keystone View Company of New York image.

In the Spring of 1961, three students (John D. Provasoli, Robert Hart and James McLaughlin), unhappy with BC's stuffed mascot, launched "Project Mascot," an effort to secure a live golden eagle. Boston College met the governmental requirements, inoculations, and necessary housing required to keep a live eagle. The University was assisted by Walter Stone, superintendent of the Franklin Park Zoo. The zoo, in fact, housed and cared for the bird. Margo is pictured here.

In September 1961, the eagle was named "Margo" after a student-run name-the-eagle contest. The name was formed by combining the first letters of the Boston College colors, maroon and gold. Margo was brought to every home game for five seasons and to selected away games. Unfortunately, in August 1966, Margo was struck by aviary virus and died in the Franklin Park Zoo. A photograph of Margo with a student handler is reproduced here.

Stricter regulations against capturing endangered species and a greater sensitivity about a captured animal's welfare prevented Boston College from again using a live mascot. Instead, Boston College employed a costumed human mascot. The costumed mascot acted less as a symbol and more like a supplementary cheerleader. Here one of the earliest costumed mascots is pictured.

The twenty-first century has brought Boston College two costumed mascots named "Baldwin" and "Baldwin Jr." Baldwin is six and a half feet tall with many bird-like features, including wings with well designed feathers. "Baldwin, Jr." is a nine and a half foot tall mascot with inflatable features. Here Baldwin encourages the fans at Alumni Stadium.

Photograph courtesy Media Relations Department, Athletic Association, Boston College

Introduction | Adoption | Mascot | Symbol | Conclusion

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