12. Princeton “Locomotive”

 

This Princeton cherub is calling out the Princeton skyrocket cheer, which was adapted from the cheer of the New York City’s Seventh Regiment in the Civil War.  As those troops traveled through Princeton on their way to Washington in 1861, they captivated the College’s students with their cheer, which was supposed to imitate the sound of fireworks: “sis,” the rocket zoomed into the sky; “boom,” the explosion; and “ah,” the crowd expressed its pleasure for the resulting light show.  “Tiger” was a frequently used word in cheers of that era and soon caught hold at Princeton College, where athletic teams often wore orange and black.  By the 1890s, the skyrocket cheer was transformed into the “locomotive,” a chant whose word repetition and increasing speed emulated the sound of a train pulling out from a station: “Rah, rah, rah; tiger, tiger, tiger; sis, sis, sis; boom, boom, boom; ah!” [followed by three shouts of “Princeton!” or class numerals].  The unknown artist of this 1909 postcard incorporated Princeton iconography with more generic, spirit-evoking images of the day—cherubim and football.
 

  • To learn more about Princeton traditions, see icon #1, 9, 10, and 11, and Café Vivian picture #9, 23, 24, 86, 97, 112, 116, and 132.

  • To learn more about the Princeton “tiger,” see icon #3 and Café Vivian picture #30, 45, 47, and 77.

  • To learn more about student life at Princeton, see icon #1, quotation #7, 9, 18, and 22, and Café Vivian picture #9, 16, 18, 23, 24, 45, 53, 79, 82, 84, 89, 92, 96, 97, 106, 109, 113, 115, 116, 117, 129, and 132.

  • To learn more about football at Princeton, see quotation #22, and Café Vivian picture #9, 38, 39, 48, 49, 56, 102, and 111.

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