Wake Forest Historical Museum

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Demon Deacon

Deacon Display

The colors “Old Gold and Black” have long been associated with Wake Forest, and early nicknames were the “Baptists” and at one point the “tigers.” But the name “Demon Deacon” is most strongly associated with Wake Forest and dates to 1923 when newspaper editor Mayon Parker (’24) said that the team played like “Demon Deacons.”

The roots of the mascot Demon Deacon can be traced to 1932, when band director Nevill Isbel asked Allie Hayes (’35) to dress up in a split-tail coat and top hat and serve as drum major for the band. Several of the religion professors had wanted Wake Forest to be associated with its Baptist heritage and decided on the garb of an old Baptist preacher.

The first “Demon Deacon” mascot was Jack Baldwin (’43) who, at the urging of fraternity brothers, donned top hat, tails, and a black umbrella symbolizing a deacon and led the football team onto the field riding the North Carolina ram.

Alumni and students alike embraced the mascot and have watched the evolution of the beloved symbol of Wake Forest over the years.

About wakeforestmuseum

This is the Old Well that stands beside the two-story Greek-Revival house in northern Wake County that was purchased by Calvin Jones in 1820 along with 600 acres of land. It is the oldest historic structure in the Town of Wake Forest. Initially used concurrently as a residence, doctor’s office, and post office, the property was sold in 1832 to the North Carolina Baptist Convention, which was seeking a suitable location to educate young ministers. What is now Wake Forest University opened here in 1834 and, under the guidance of first President Samuel Wait, began to develop a flourishing student body, advanced curriculum, and new brick campus. Today the Calvin Jones House is part of a four acre complex that includes gardens, pathways, and a state of the art museum. The house is furnished to reflect the period of its various residents, and the museum’s extensive displays depict the history of college and town.

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This entry was posted on July 24, 2013 by in Exhibits and tagged , , , .
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