Out of the Cat's Closet: The University Museum's Unique Collection

October 4 - December 17, 2004
Dale Valena, Curator

Stuffed wildcat on display

Out of the Cat's Closet: The University Museum's Unique Collection, featured a somewhat random selection of the kinds of objects the University Museum collects. Together with University Archives, which preserves the two-dimensional, paper-based history of UNH, the collections are available to scholars and provide the unique materials for telling the stories about the community of UNH.

Freshmen Beanies

The most enduring of all traditions at UNH was the wearing of the freshman beanie. The first beanie, a "substantial blue cap with a white button," was introduced in 1909. The purpose was to help newcomers know who was who and to promote a sense of class spirit.

The length of time the beanies had to be worn varied from year to year. Usually by Thanksgiving or after the first football victory (whichever came first), the beanies were no longer required.

Freshmen beaniesStudents wearing beanies

College Traditions

Senior Canes, freshman rules poster, and fraternity and sorority paddlesSeniors in cap and gown with class caneTheta Kappa Phi fraternity initiates

Gone But Not Forgotten

Ballard Hall was built in 1894 by college trustee Albert DeMeritt to aid in the housing of students since the college had no dormitories. Through its many years of service, it was used as housing for male students, female students, bachelor faculty members, and fraternities. In 1934 it was assigned to the use of student organizations and the Departments of Music and Education. Sentimental alumni saved this newel post when the house was torn down in 1961.

Newel post from Ballard HallNewly built Ballard HallDemolition of Ballard Hall

UNH Champions

When the 1950 UNH football team beat Kent State 13-7, it gave UNH its first perfect season: 8-0-0. Close friends then and now, 27 members of the team reunited in the fall of 2001 for a 50th anniversary celebration and halftime honors at Cowell Stadium. "There were no stars," recalls co-captain Bill Haubrich '51 (front right). "Everyone had to pull the wagon, and when they were needed, they did the job."

1950 Yankee conference banner1950 Football team photo

Early Office Equipment

The Ediphone is a dictation machine invented by Thomas Edison for the recording and transcription of letters. Three machines would have completed the set: President Stoke is using the one that recorded messages onto a wax cylinder; a second machine (like the one on display) reproduced the message through headphones so it could be transcribed onto a typewriter; and a third machine shaved the outer layer of wax off the cylinder so it could be re-used.

1940s EdiphonePresident stoke using an ediphone

Symbols of Rank and File

ROTC uniform cap from 1921Nursing students in uniformMen in uniform, standing in line during military training

Taking Home the Trophy

The high production of New Hampshire Poultry (an average of 206 eggs per hen) helped the Granite State earn its high reputation for top-quality poultry and poultry products in spite of the state's comparatively small size.

Egg TrophyHen and basket of eggs

Symbols of Identity and Pride

UNH BannersStudents socializing in dorm roomUNH Flag in space shuttle with astronaut Richard Linnehan

Go Wildcats!

UNH Hockey uniform, stick, and sweatshirtPhoto of first UNH ice hockey teamPhoto of UNH women's ice hockey team with trophy

Thanks for the Memories

In his 18 years at the helm of the Wildcats (1968-1986), Charles Holt compiled a 347-232-18 overall record and guided the team to the 1978-79 ECAC championship and three NCAA Tournament appearances. He won the Spencer T. Penrose Award, as the nation's outstanding college hockey coach, three times. In 1997, he was also inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Charlie Holt Retirement Celebration Bowler HatHats thrown on ice at hockey gameCharlie Holt

UNH On the Go

UNH coffee mugs

In Front of Thompson Hall

The first three campus flagpoles were made from trees taken from the College Woods. It was necessary to replace the pole every 20-25 years or so since no matter how the wood was treated, the part that came in contact with the ground would eventually rot. This portion is all that remains of the 1943 flagpole, which once stood 101 feet high. The pole was designed to resemble a ship's main mast, symbolizing the historic significance of New Hampshire's eighteenth-century industry, ship building. It was a gift to the University from ROTC and Scabbard and Blade.

Remains of the 1943 FlagpoleAssembly at UNH flagpole