The Jayhawk: The Story of the University of Kansas's Beloved Mascot

Rebecca A. Schulte

Book cover for The Jayhawk: The Story of the University of Kansas's Beloved Mascot
Book cover for The Jayhawk: The Story of the University of Kansas's Beloved Mascot

The Jayhawk: The Story of the University of Kansas's Beloved Mascot

The Jayhawk: The Story of the University of Kansas's Beloved Mascot

Rebecca A. Schulte

  • Become a member to save 50% off your first order and then 30% on all future orders. Simply add any book to cart and you’ll see an option to become a member
  • 100% of this book's profits go to our community of authors.
Get 50% off your first order, and then 30% off everything
Member Book Price
Monthly Membership
First month free, renews at $5.00

Log in to access your Membership or Book Club price

  • Allstora Membership will renew at $5/month, cancel any time
View full details


The Jayhawk, the University of Kansas's legendary and unique mascot, has represented the university for more than one hundred years and is recognizable around the world. In The Jayhawk, Rebecca Ozier Schulte tells the story of the beloved mythical bird's origins and historical significance, role as mascot, relationship with student life and representation in campus publications, popularity in advertising and as merchandise, and much more.

Multiple students and artists drew the Jayhawk in the twentieth century, including the long-legged Jayhawk drawn by Daniel Henry "Hank" Maloy in 1912 and the militaristic, fighting Jayhawk of 1941 created by Dr. Eugene "Yogi" Williams. Six different Jayhawks from 1912 to 1946 have been identified by the university as the most historically significant, but there are many, many more that have been discovered in hundreds of pieces of ephemera, newspaper accounts, student scrapbooks, and university publications, all housed in the University Archives.

No other source brings the Jayhawk's fascinating history together. This stunning book is highlighted by more than 300 photographs, most of them in color and many of items rarely seen by the public. The Jayhawk is sure to delight fans, alumni, and anyone who's ever chanted "Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU!"

Critical Reviews

"The Jayhawk has been my companion and my protector during my whole life. It has especially been a symbol of unity in my family, since two of my brothers also went to KU. I am a proud Jayhawk, and I shall be till the end of my days! This book is a great reminder of what makes the Jayhawk special!"--Juan Manuel Santos (BA '73), former president of Colombia and winner of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize

"From free-state activists adopting the term 'Jayhawkers' during Bleeding Kansas to alumni greeting each other with a 'rock chalk' while passing in airports, the University of Kansas's Jayhawk has become an internationally recognized symbol of independence and integrity. The Jayhawk draws deeply on University Archives and other sources to offer fans of KU an in-depth view of our favorite fictional bird's evolution. From the range of western Kansas to the study in Cedar Crest to the Cabinet Room and beyond, Becky Schulte's beautiful book will bring a piece of Kansas to all who wear the Jayhawk with pride."--Kathleen Sebelius (MBA '80), 44th governor of Kansas and former US Secretary of Health and Human Services

"The iconic image of the Jayhawk is as well known as any in college, and clearly in sports. The uniqueness certainly captures the eye. There are so many different animal mascots and character mascots, but only one Jayhawk. It stands alone. But it's what it means that resonates most. The day a student gets accepted into the University of Kansas, invariably, the Jayhawk becomes the new identifying symbol for that person. Alums wear the mascot with pride. Students have it on almost everything they own. It's our lifelong badge. It identifies us. Everyone wants to belong to something greater than themselves, and the Jayhawk is that unifying symbol for us. And while it's been seen in many forms, all of which are special, the enduring character has meaning for each of us. This captivating book by Rebecca Schulte walks us through the history in a way that brings a smile to our faces and touches a place in our hearts that only that wonderful bird can reach. And in our minds, it triggers our beloved chant: Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, KU!"--Kevin Harlan (Broadcast Journalism '82), broadcaster, CBS Sports

"The Jayhawk: The Story of the University of Kansas's Beloved Mascot discusses the origin of the term 'Jayhawker' and documents in detail the various representations of our mascot over the years. One passage in the book records that the KU class of 1915 said that the Jayhawker yearbook served in part to help the students 'to be able to recall past memories.' That's what this book did for me. I read about some history that I had not known and was reminded of some history that I experienced. I was present in the stadium in 1971 when Baby Jay was hatched. I relived my spaceflight on Space Shuttle Columbia in 1999 when I flew a T-shirt with a Jayhawk on it, a photo of which is included in the book. I also recalled my first spaceflight on Discovery in 1984 when I flew a cardboard Jayhawk that was featured in the IMAX film The Dream is Alive. That Jayhawk probably holds the record for the farthest journey that a Jayhawk has ever taken. I hope that any KU grad reading the book would have the same experience as I in recalling their own memories and reliving their own experiences."--Steve Hawley (BS '73), NASA astronaut (retired), professor emeritus of Physics and Astronomy, adjunct professor of aerospace engineering, University of Kansas

"For anyone who has ever wondered about its origins, or who delights at hearing a passerby say 'Rock Chalk' at the sight of one's KU shirt or hat while in a foreign country, or who just has a soft spot in their heart for their old mascot, this is the book for them. Schulte captures not just the history but also the spirit of the beloved mascot. She includes many examples of how the Jayhawk evolved over time to reflect campus and societal changes, resulting in the one we know and love today."--Linda Cook (BS '80), senior advisor for EIG, CEO of Harbour Energy, and former CEO of Shell Gas & Power

"The Jayhawk embodies the spirit, challenges, and grit of the early settlers of Kansas and the pride of the University of Kansas community! The Jayhawk perfectly captures the history and tradition of our universally beloved symbol: one that unites Jayhawks past, present, and future."--Heath Peterson (BS '04, MS '09), president, KU Alumni Association

"The Jayhawk is truly one of the most unique and iconic mascots in the country. The history of its origins and many variations is captured both comprehensively and masterfully by longtime KU Archivist Rebecca Schulte. Even the most spirited of KU alums and fans will learn something new about everyone's favorite fictitious bird."--Brian Hanni (Journalism '02), "Voice of the Jayhawks" and director of broadcasting for the University of Kansas Athletics

Publishing Information

Publisher: University Press of Kansas
Pub date: 2023-10-20
Length: 176 pages

The Allstora Membership

Membership Perks:

  • Save 30% on all online store purchases
  • Exclusive access to author's content
  • You pay less, but authors still earn double

Membership Terms:

First Month: $0.00
Monthly price: $5.00
  • To access membership discount simply log in and add to cart, discount applied automatically.
  • One month free trial, cancel anytime. Membership renews on the 15th of each month.