Brigham Young University Mascot
Brigham Young University is a private university that seeks to develop students of faith, intellect and character who have the skills and the desire to continuing learning and to serve others throughout their lives. Tracing its roots to Utah’s rich pioneer heritage and to Brigham Young Academy, the original school established in 1875, the university continues to provide an outstanding education in an atmosphere consistent with the ideals and principles of its sponsor, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brigham Young University selected the cougar as its mascot in 1923. Eugene L. Roberts, a coach and faculty member, suggested the cougar because it was native to Utah and it exemplified the traits that he hoped athletes competing for Brigham Young University would have: strength, agility, grace, quickness, and beauty. Though two live cougars, Cleo and Tarbo, were adopted as mascots in the 1920s and remained until the 1930s, no live cougars have been owned by the university since then. The current mascot, Cosmo Cougar, was introduced to BYU in the 1950s. The remarkable history of Brigham Young University can be uncovered through many of the collections held in the University Archives. The following source materials can get you started on your exploration of the heritage of Brigham Young University’s mascot.
Secondary Sources and General information
Collections held by the University Archives will be more useful to your specific research topic after you understand more about the general history of the university. The following resources are available to help you develop that understanding.
- Histories of Brigham Young University
- Wilkinson, Ernest L. Brigham Young University: The First One Hundred Years (4 volumes). Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1975
- Wilkinson, Ernest L. and W. Cleon Skousen. Brigham Young University: A School of Destiny. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1976
- Sample materials dealing with the BYU mascot: A sample of the materials that contain information about the BYU mascot follows. To map out a research strategy, please schedule an appointment with the University Archivist at 422-5821 or email@example.com for additional help in discovering what other collections we may have that pertain to your research topic.
- UA 869 Brigham Young University single photo file, ca. 1890s-1980s This collection of campus photographs includes images of Cleo and Tarbo as well as early versions of Cosmo Cougar.
- UA 1007 Joseph C. Nelson photographs of Brigham Young University, circa 1920s This collection consists of forty-seven photographs that document campus life in the 1920s. Subjects include Cleo and Tarbo, the early BYU cougar cub mascots.
- UA 62 Records, 1925-1928 This collection includes typescript news release and a program announcing the acquisition of two cougar kittens to become mascots; it also includes their disposition and names.
- UA 1312 Alexander Wadley reminiscences, 2006 This collection consists of two reminiscences. The first discusses the Block Y and various activities associated with it. The second discusses life at Brigham Young University in the 1930s and describes the different buildings on campus as well as student life. It also includes a discussion of the first cougar mascots.
- MSS 3282 Mildred James scrapbook, 1954-1958 The scrapbook contains photographs, newspaper clippings, event programs, and other materials related to her years at Brigham Young University. The cover of the scrapbook is wood and has a carved Cosmo on it.
- UA 831 Stickers, [ca. 1960s]-1996 Stickers relating to Brigham Young University, containing the BYU logo; Cosmo, the school mascot; and the “Lighting the Way” fund-raising campaign.
- UA 836 Scrapbooks, 1979-1981 Two volumes relating to Brigham Young University football and basketball. Volume two includes images of the 1980-81 BYU basketball team, fans, players, university president Jeffrey R. Holland, and Cosmo (BYU mascot); plus newspaper clippings.
This Popular Search Topics page offers only samplings of materials included in the University Archives that document the evolution of the Brigham Young University mascot. Be sure to visit Special Collections to discover other material.