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August 14, 1937 - Image 17

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1937-08-14

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'URDAY, AUGUST 14, 1937



Are They Wild Men? No, Merely Honors Men Holding An In


Indian Braves
And Sphinxes
'Ride' In May
Michigamua Ol~dest

Michigamna, Druids, Sphinx On Annual Ride'


Societies Exist To Honor
Men Who Are Prominent
In Campus Activities

When spring comes to Ann Arbor
it brings with it not only the showers
and resulting flowers, but a group of
University of Michigan students, gone
temporarily beserk, whom the Univer-
sity and its undergraduates proudly
point out as "honors men."
Indian braves, forest bards, dunces
on skates, Egyptians, and fire-wor-
shippers--shouting madly, and run-
ning across the walks and lawns of
the ordinarily peaceful campus, make
their appearance in May. Why that
month nobody has ever troubled to
find out, but at any rate they are
not really mad, they are merely
dressed up in the grotesque costumes
of their various tribal orders and are
"riding" for new members. '
Five honor societies exist on the
campus to honor Michigan men who
have distinguished themselves in ac-
tivities: Michigamua, Druids, Sphinx,
Vulcans and Triangles. Their his-
tory and traditions are interesting
and the initiation ceremonies color-
Each year these honor societies
choose from among the 8,000 or more
undergraduates. in the University,
men whom they believe will carry out
not only the aims and purposes of
their individual societies, but also the
tradition of Michigan-something, it
has been said, which no university
or college can well do without.
Michigamua Oldest
Michigamua, oldest and most f a-
mous among the campus honor so-
cieties, came into being in the fall of
1900 in order to study philosophy
under the famous Prof. Robert Mark
Wenley. It is said that because those
who wrote the most under Wenley
seemed to get the highest grades, the
group was originally called the "hot
air" club.
The Indian motif came two years
later. The Michigamua tribe, from
which the state took its name, was
not a very large one, though well-
known in this region. Charter mem-
bers took upon themselves Indian'

be served by the "young bucks." the members of Sphinx run up the The
At the present time, the annual 4.po , iigei rmaa and assemble I h owdyism O f D ad's
Michigamua party is known as the under a bronze Sphinx head in the
"Peace Paddle," and each "young foyer of the building to sing their
Buck" paddles a "fighting brave" and raditional song.fthe"buildingmtotsir Is Now In The DIisecad
his "squaw" of the moment up the Feud Formerly Existed____
Huron River where, in a secluded and A constant feud used to exist be- Forty students on a greased tele~ undergaduates I
"Indianish" territory, much amber tween Triangles, junior honorary en- ;rapu pole, struggling to keep out of time when sruden
"fire water" and many sandwiches are gineering society and Sphinx. It used the reach of barrel staves swinging old Star Theatre
Froume. Agto occur that when Sphinx wanted beneath . . . A mob of rioting stu- Washington street
From All Colleges to drive their wagon-load of initiates dents ripping the piano of a local Fourth
Members of Michigamua come from through the engineering arch-way, theatre apart, leaving the theatre in "'rtwas a storm
all colleges of the University and are the Triangles would be having their ruins . . . The "laws" and the "lits" Slater. in a met
chosen on the basis of their records initiation there and would rather battling to the finish in the grimy pugnacious underc
in their activities, but more import- naturally object. Unable to stop the mud that was State Street. I the theatre onea
antly as to their character. inroad of Sphinx, members of Tri- These are the memories of Ann feet in the aisle,
Druids, senior honor society, which angles, about five years old, poured Arbor of a half century ago, called of tripping the n
honors only literary college students, hot water on them from windows forth by the sight of many an old unpopular with t
found its inception in Joe Parker's above as they passed under the arch. grad slapping another on the back manager called th
traditional Michigan rendezvous in Triangles formed more than 20 and starting a story "Do you remem- and together they
1910. years ago, has a program of regular ber the time . . ." I ing student neatly
Its motif is taken from the Druids lectures at its meetings intended to These are the memories of a man and onto the stree
--bards of the forests-taken from present broadening material outside who has seen classes since '99 pass in I But revenge wa
German legends of the middle ages. the field of engineering, one end and out the other from the
Its chapter room in the Michigan In accord with its philosophy of State Street doorway of his shop- d ing d The student,
Union is decorated appropriately (as cleanliness of the soul, Triangles has Myron E. Slater--whb has sold books campus, and that
is a room devoted to Michigamua) in its initiation a regular scrubbing to students for the last 35 years. to 1,000 young me
and features a cave-like hole with of the Engineering Arch. Initiated Those were the days when State jars of bad fruit,1
trees and rocks lending atmosphere. must also crawl around in the steam Street was a two-way dirt drive, when fended dignities st
At the weekly Druids' meetings, laboratories with the same idea of seniors wore high plug hats, when the tore up the seats,
members are togged in medieval purification by heat in mind, cigar store had a wooden Indian in the piano and h
hooded robes, and assemble under Of more than general interest on front, recalls Mr. Slater, who well re- street, where they
the direction of the "arch-druid." the University campus is the regular members the cigar store because his would have been
Druids' initiates assemble around' Triangle skating contest in front of present store is on exactly the same to have left the
the Druid rock in front of Angell the General Library. Initiates in spot now. I peaceably except
Haii and crawl about with planks tied dunce caps and carrying pails of Among the more dramatic episodes called the police
to their backs, rendering homage be- water, and some of whom have been in the spotty history of Michigan's ments.
fore the bon-fire. Each year incom- given no opportunity to learn to - ----- -- This really ma
ing members are responsible for giv- skate, are tested for speed and en- boisterous fellows were placed in the of a riot. The po
ing the historic rock a bath. durance. and not as fleet as
The Egyptian theme runs through Outstanding seniors in the engi- bastille temporarily, badly. They lost
the ceremonials of Sphinx,, jun- neer' g college are honored by men- Later in the initiation ceremony of coats, and a me
ior honorary literary society, which bership in Vulcans, which was found- the society, the legend of Prometheus' firemen fared w
was founded more than three decades ed in 1904. Meeting every two weeks, I is reenacted in a remote room in the their powerful ho
ago. Vulcans also attempts to present a basement of the engineering building, rioting students,I
"-- *_. hbradieniny nro ra+m to its members Thre is the picture of men's honor unfortunate as t

ent Past
s the memorable
ats demolished the
which stood on
between Main and
y day," recalls Mr.
;phorical way. "A
classman, sitting in
afternoon with his
had the misfortune
manager, who was
he students. The
he burly watchman
threw the offend-
between the doors
s not long in com-
his dignity offend-
to the rest of the
evening from 500
n, armed with eggs,
bad apples, and of-
tormed the theatre,
tied a rope around
hauled it into the
dissected it. They
content, they said,
theatre otherwise
that the manager
and fire depart-
rked the beginning
licemen, some stout
s the students, fared
their helmets, their
oral conflict. The
orse. Bringing out
se to play upon the
the firemen were so
to lose the control

names, all bearing upon the particu- known from coast to
lar feat or activity in which the Tribe along with Yale's S
member was engaged. To put it in bones.
the words of the 'fighting bravesn Called 'Ti
of Michigamua, each name "must "Tribe," as it isr
catchem plenty signif." called, initiates its3
Some of the names applied to the in a public ceremon
various members are "Pontiac" Fred "fighting braves," of
Dewey, "Raven Locks" Hollister, bers, assume the In
"King" Phil Bursley, "Billy Bowlegs" and red war paint (
Temple. Listed in the directors of bring the supplicant i
the Tribe are also some Michigan wisdom of Indian for
men who today are leaders in their live ceremony, the lo
fields. Among these are "Great is the Tappan oak
Scapler" Yost, H. C. L. Jackson, well- General Library.
known Detroit columnist, "Three In this initiation
Thunder" Kipke, "Warrior Builder" arv made to do muc
Chuck Hoyt, "There He Goes," they will 'fight like
Chauncey S. Boucher, "Big Ten" gan and Michigamu
Ralph Aigler, "Wally Neugance" Em- torture consists ofi
ory Thomason, at one time the high- itiates "duck walk" a
est paid business executive of any and up seven flights
newspaper, and at present the owner Michigan Union.
of the Chicago Daily Times and Tam- At one time the
pa Tribune, and "Friendly Chief" party used to be ope
Mortimer E. Cooley. pressive functions c
Michigamua is the one honor so- would start as a ste
ciety on the Michigan camius that is the afternoon andt


coast and ranksj

kull and Cross-
more familiarily
young palefaces
y in which the'
last year's mem-
ndian headdress
brick dust), and
initiates into the
re in an impres-
ocation of which
in front of thel
the "palefaces"
ch to prove that
hell for Michi-'
a.' " Part of the'
making the in-
cross the campus
of stairs in the
annual "Tribe"
of the most im-
of the year. It
ak roast early in

Sphinx For Juniors ,
Intended solely to pay homage to
distinguished and promising juniors,
Sphinx originally had the job of con-
ducting a tag day to pay the expenses
of the .Varsity Band, assisted in the
enforcement of campus traditions,
and helped to entertain visiting ath-


uluacllg ip ugl amtul 101 .
Around Huge Fire
The informal part of the initiation
of Vulcans is conducted around a
huge fire in front of the engineering,
clock tower and the initiates, stripped
to the waist and blackened, crawl
about the fire, blowing on it and
pounding an anvil.
Three years ago, the society, which
like all of the others, "rides" for its
men at night, disturbed the populace
of Ann Arbor to such an extent with
their anvil-pounding that the local
"bobbies" were summoned and the

societies at the University. These so- of their weapon, which was seized
cieties carry on at Michigan one of by the students and used with telling
the greatest assets it can possess- effect upon the outwitted fire-fight-
tradition. The boys initiated into the ers. The hose finally was cut and
societies, for the most part, are defi- the pieces carted home for souvenirs.
nitely "good Michigan men." They "But the settlement was bitter,"
are the alumni who come back for reminisces Mr. Slater. "Members of
the big games, they are also the al- the student body circulated among
umni who frequently help the Univer- faculty and business men with -col-
sity materially with financial assist- lection pails to gather enough money
ance. They feel closer to Michigan to keep the arrested undergraduates
than the average undergraduate, no from prison."
doubt, because they have done things Football scores from the away
on the campus. (Continued on page 18)
- -~ - -

Old members wear red robes in the
initiation ceremonies, and initiates,
stripped to the waist and well covered
with venetian red, are tied to a board,
and loaded on to a hay wagon for a
ride through the city. There was a
time, according to records, when
members of Sphinx carried .45 revolv-
ers with which they startled the citi-
zenry, but someone objected. And
then also in those "good old days"
there used to be an overhead water
release on one of the campus drives,
under which the Sphinx wagon would
drive in order to assure the initiates
a thorough dampening. If any of the
initiates suggested that they were
cold, obliging members would paddle
the soles of their feet to insure better
On one part of the ceremonial ride,


the dinner would




This is the Distinction
that Saffell & Bush have

c/4n Open Letter
pe to
th $ ot oV.' ta ,t '
e~ e see t Wa
'Oell£I~ y n osaedvo sVihe' th AO
on~t 1 ti 00le ca to ea 9 yeCo~
oe1 oe nt et V ny vo4 ndo' te
tveCoin s o n °t otas Ost i' v e' f
an ee1tet- ad1 steeaqt dcs t ~ ~

enjoyed for

many years.


Exclusive Representative for



6-R1, Cb'


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