Do you remember why Trinity College students are Bantams?
Trinity didn’t always have a mascot. The credit for popularizing the Bantam goes to the Honorable Joseph Buffington, Class of 1875, who was the longest-serving judge in the history of the United States courts when he retired in 1938. In addition to being a world-class jurist, Buffington was an infamous toastmaster. The origin of Trinity’s mascot can be traced to a spirited speech Buffington gave at an 1899 Princeton Alumni Association dinner. Comparing Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to the big shots of the “collegiate barnyard,” he described Trinity as a proud, unfazed rooster.
“You will therefore understand, gentlemen, the spirit in which the Trinity bantam, game from comb to spur, crows at your door, hops in, shakes his tail feathers, and with a sociable nod to the venerable John [Harvard], and a good natured “How d’ydo” to the ponderous old Elihu [Yale] steps into the collegiate cock pit, makes his best bow to the tiger [Princeton], says he is glad to be here, is not a whit abashed at your hugeness, [and] is satisfied with himself and his own particular coop.”
The name caught on with Trinity students and alumni and the press soon started referring to Trinity athletic teams as the Bantams.