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From the Rush Archives: College Colors Day, (September 4)

by Nathalie Wheaton on 2020-09-01T08:00:00-05:00 in Archives, History | 0 Comments

National College Colors Day is observed the Friday before Labor Day. Founded in 2004 by the College Licensing Company, this is a day meant to encourage everyone to display their team spirit. 

Sure, Rush University may not have official sports teams representing the school, but it’s fun to look back on the days of Rush Medical College’s football, basketball, and baseball teams!

CAPTION: Page from the Rush Medical College yearbook, The Pulse, 1895*

According to the Rush Medical College yearbook, The Pulse, 1895, the college colors at the time were “ruby, orange and black.” 

And the 19th century Rush Medical College “College Yell” is something Rush University can certainly still get behind.

Unfortunately, we have not seen any examples of this "College Pin" in the Rush Archives, nor have we seen it mentioned anywhere else in our substantial 1890s-era records. Perhaps it was a short-lived item.

When Rush Medical College became affiliated with the University of Chicago in 1898, Rush adopted UChicago’s famed maroon color as part of its colors. Rush Medical College’s sports teams, developed in 1892, continued to compete with other schools and clubs (even competing with the University of Chicago itself) until about 1904, when Rush’s teams were phased out. Presumably, the affiliation with the University of Chicago, which had a rising athletics department under famed football coach Alonzo Stagg, led to the demise of Rush’s smaller sports teams.

CAPTIONRush’s baseball team, 1900. From the John E. Schwendener Papers, #4708. Schwendener is seated on the left-hand side of the middle row.**

One of the most prized items in the Rush Archives is the baseball jersey of John E. Schwendener, MD, Rush Medical College class of 1902. The Schwendener Papers were donated to the Rush Archives in 2007, by his granddaughter, Mary Harding. Schwendener’s material included photographs and his 1900 Rush baseball jersey, which help tell the story of Rush’s sports teams.

One of the most striking features of Schwendener’s 1900 baseball jersey is the deep maroon felt lettering. Although the black and white photo of Dr. Schwendener and his team sporting the jerseys is a fantastic image, being able to see the colors of the actual jersey in real life is pretty special.

CAPTION: Rush Archives staff (me) at Rush’s Tower Groundbreaking Celebration, 2008.

Want to learn more about Rush Medical College’s sports teams? Leave a comment below or send an email to the archivist, and we’ll do a follow-up post with plenty of details and photographs. 

Want to learn more about the history of Rush or the Rush Archives collections? Explore the Rush Archives website, or contact the archivist, Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS.

All documents and photographs belong to the records collections of Rush University Medical Center Archives, Chicago, Ill. Contact the archivist for permissions and full citations.


**From the John E. Schwendener Papers, #4708, Rush University Medical Center Archives, Chicago, Ill. Finding aid:

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