If I was asked to name the most common artifact I’ve come across in my career working at different university archives, the answer would be pennants.
From my experience, pennants don’t necessarily have a direct tie to athletics, though I’ve no doubt many of the pennants I’ve come across were proudly waved at a variety of athletic events. Photographs of dorm room interiors indicate that pennants were also used as decoration. Regardless of how they were used, one thing is certain – they exemplified school spirit.
Most pennants tend to come to us as part of an individual’s collection. Some folks may not think that pennants have any research value, but I have found that they prove to be very useful when documenting changes in school colors and/or mascots, and changes in an institution’s name, such as the case with Appalachian State University.
The oldest pennants we have represent the Appalachian Training School (1903-1925). Of those two, one is black and gold, and the other is green and white and features the Daniel Boone monument. We also have pennants from Appalachian State Teachers College (1929-1967) and Appalachian State University, featuring different representations of Yosef.
Appalachian Training School Pennant, University Archives Artifacts Collection (UA 42)
Appalachian State University Mountaineers Pennant, Ella W. Thompson and Lloyd L. Hobbs Collection (UA 29.020)
Blog post contributed by Kim Sims, Coordinator of Special Collections and University Archivist