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Why is green Dartmouth's color?

Last updated 07/25/07

The use of the color green (and, hence, the nickname “The Big Green”) dates back to the 1860s. In the "Dartmouth Bi-Monthly" of April, 1908, Professor E.J. Bartlett explains how green came to be Dartmouth’s color. Bartlett’s bottom line: it was the only color not used by another college. Bartlett’s story describes an 1866 rowing race involving Dartmouth and a number of other Eastern colleges, at which Dartmouth was one of a few, if not the only, school without a color to identify it. Harvard had chosen crimson, Yale blue, Hamilton orange, Williams purple, Amherst yellow, and Brown—not surprisingly—brown. At a meeting the following September, Dartmouth students gathered and discussed the need for a school color; green was settled on because, as Frederick G. Mather 1867 said, “Indeed, it was the only decent color that had not been taken already.” A piece of the original green silk ribbon that was used to establish “Dartmouth Green” is now housed in the College’s Rauner Special Collections Library.

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Last updated: 07/25/07