From the Vaults & Back: Cat jokes were a thing 100 years ago
By Megan Costello
As part of our project ‘From the Vaults & Back’, today I’m cruising through The 1909 Badger which was the class yearbook in the late 19th and up to the mid-20th century at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
As it turns out, cat jokes are – and have been – a thing for 104 years. I have proof.
I’ve spent many hours digging through the student scrapbooks of Ava Cochrane (BA'1909) and Lucy Rogers (BA'1919). To complement my archival search, I’ve turned to yearbooks which have some surprisingly amazing things.
For example, there’s an entire 100+ page section at the end of The Badger yearbooks just for ads. It’s like the university classifieds in which advertisers from Milwaukee, Chicago and other places around the state bought ads in the student yearbook.
Not surprisingly, these ads are quite hilarious for a modern reader.
Let’s take a gander:
Are you in the market for a gangster suit?
“Not freakish – though distinctly different from the average garment …”
Source: The 1909 Badger (student yearbook)
So, imagine when my surprise when I found this:
“‘Cat'chy Photo by Ford” (The 1909 Badger yearbook)
Source: The 1909 Badger (yearbook)
There’s cat jokes for all your student photography needs!
So, cat jokes were a thing. In 1909. And they still are today.
Need I say more? Please, let Buzzfeed:
- 26 Essential Cats for Every Location
- 23 Cats to Help you Respond to Cat Calls
- 22 Ways Your Cat is your Significant Other
- And the list goes on …
At the very least, it appears I can make the slight connection that cats + technology (photography in this case) are perhaps timeless soul mates.
Thank you, Internet. Thank you, yearbooks.
This project is part of a practicum conducted by School of Library & Information Studies master’s candidate Megan Costello. (You can follow her along as she documents some of the more candid snapshots at Megan in (UW)-Madison or on Twitter at @meggo_costello.)