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

Wildcat mascot

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 with beanies

The Class of 1971 was the last class that was required to wear a freshman beanie. (UNH photo collection)


Clyde Quimby, class of 1933, donated his beanies to the UNH museum with a note explaining, "When freshman rules were let go, a huge fire was built to burn the beanies and tie, but I couldn't do it by nature."

College Traditions


Senior Canes were carried during the last weeks of the college year as a symbol of the accomplishment of the soon-to-be graduates. They eventually fell out of favor with the students and were replaced with a senior ring in 1940.

Freshman Rules posters were written and enforced by the sophomore class.The rules were traditionally posted on the night before the first day of classes. The sophomores would hang the posters on poles and trees along Main Street. Unless the freshmen could get past the vigilant sophomores to remove all the posters by 7 a.m., the rules had to be obeyed.

Fraternity and Sorority paddles were given to pledges as part of the initiation process.

  Seniors in cap and gown with class cane, 1916

Seniors in cap and gown with class cane, 1916.

Theta Kappa Phi fraternity, 1935.

"Hell Week" initiates prove themselves worthy of Theta Kappa Phi fraternity, 1935.
(UNH photo collection)

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.


 wooden post Ballard Hall Newel Post

Ballard Hall Newel Post, 1894-1961

Ballard Hall c.1894

Ballard Hall c.1894
(UNH photo collection)

Ballard Hall Demolition, 1961

Ballard Hall Demolition, 1961
(UNH photo collection)

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 banner

1950 Yankee conference banner


The 1950 football team

The 1950 football team
(UNH photo collection)

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.

President Stoke dictating into an Ediphone

President Stoke dictating into an Ediphone, 1945
(UNH photo collection)


Ediphone, 1940s

Ediphone, 1940s

Symbols of Rank and File

UNH Nurses cap an ROTC cap

UNH Nurses Cap, c. 1971 (left)
Gift from UNH Nursing Dept., 1999
ROTC Uniform Cap, c. 1921 (right)

UNH Nursing students

Two nursing students wear the UNH nurses cap. Upon graduation a blue band was added. Caps were dropped from nurses' uniforms in the 1980s.
(UNH photo collection)

ROTC students

Military training was required of all freshman and sophomore men until 1964 when ROTC became an elective program.
(UNH photo collection)

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 trophy

Ful O'Pep National Egg Laying Contest Trophy
Won by UNH, 1942-43

hen and eggs

This hen looks over her average year's work. [1953]

Symbols of Identity and Pride

UNH Banners

UNH Banners, 1917-1928 (left)
University Flag, 1999
Gift of Richard Linnehan ’80

students in their dorm room 1920

Students relax in their dorm room decorated with college banners, c. 1920.
(UNH photo collection)

Astronaut Richard Linnehan

Astronaut Richard Linnehan, Class of 1980, displays the UNH flag he took aboard the space shuttle Columbia while serving as the payload commander on the STS-90 Neurolab mission in 1998.
(UNH photo collection)

Go Wildcats!

exhibit of unh hockey uniforms and equipment

Hockey Sticks
2000-2001 Gift of Mary Ellen Boelhower; 1972-73, Gift of Janice Fawcett; 1968-69 and 1969-70, Gift of Richard D. Cilley, M.D.; 1949-50, Gift of Ron Sleeth ’50

Hockey Jersey, ca.1916
Gift of Barbara Cram Whalen

Hockey Fan Sweatshirt with 1985 team signatures
Gift of Christina (Winsor) DiMicelli’87

Women’s Ice Hockey Uniform from varsity team of 1977-78
Gift of Friends of UNH Women’s Hockey

UNH Mens Hockey Team 1914

The first UNH ice hockey team, 1914.
(UNH photo collection)

UNH Womens Hockey Team

Members of the women's ice-hockey team pose with their trophy from the first national championship held in 1998 by the American Women's College Hockey Alliance.
(UNH photo collection)

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.

Bowler hat for Charlie Holt celebration

Charlie Holt Retirement Celebration Bowler, 1986
Anonymous gift

Mike Rossetti's hat-trick

Mike Rossetti's hat-trick, which capped a Wildcat victory, brought raining down almost 1,000 hats, which had been given out at the door to mark Holt's last home game.
March 1, 1986 (Photo credit: Hank Ellsmore)

Charlie Holt

Charlie never won that elusive championship, but he won the hearts of everyone who came in contact with him. He touched many lives and left a legacy of stories and anecdotes.

UNH On the Go

UNH travel mugs

From the dining halls and sustainablity to the "MUB Rats," the evolution of the portable UNH coffee mug can be traced through the museum's collection.

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.

exhibit of UNH Flagpole

Remains of the 1943 Flagpole

crowd around UNH flagpole

One of the many assemblies held at the UNH flagpole.
(UNH photo collection)