Alumni Life

The Year that Was 1902

UB Varsity Football team, 1901-1902 season.

Photographs courtesy University Archives

In 1902, the University of Buffalo, as it was then known, was a private institution with four departments—medical, dental, pharmacy and law—and fewer than 600 students, of whom about 20 were women. It was a new century, Buffalo was booming (the Pan-American Exposition had taken place the previous year) and judging by “The Iris” yearbook, U. of B. students were having a jolly old time.

A toast to U of B!  

Everybody sing!

  • The class yell of the UB Dentistry Class of 1902
    Ala-ka-nute, ka-not, ka-nit,
    Ala-ka-nute, ka-not, ka-nit,
    Flippity flop, Hallabaloo
    U.B. Dents of 1902!
  • Chorus of the original Alma Mater
    Brothers tonight we sing the chorus free,
    Pledging the health of our University,
    To U. of B., to U. of B.
    Our Alma Mater by the inland sea.

Listen to a choral performance of our alma mater

Originally written in 1902, a group of UB students updated the alma mater's lyrics in 2006. It was performed at the 2007 commencement exercises.

Club kids
Student life back then was certainly … different.

  • Switzer Klub
    We assume this was a wine/beer and cheese club, as students were dubbed “Chief Boozer,” “Foam Slinger,” “Head Cork Puller,” “Assistant Mug Cleaner” and “Sectional Divider of Cheese.”
  • UB Mandolin & Glee Club
    This club, apparently, did not have a loyal following. It lasted only until 1907.
  • Rubber-Neck-Klub
    Your guess is as good as ours.

Some of the Department of Medicine’s “Freshmen Freaks” (The Iris’ words, not ours).

What we were reading

  • “The Story of My Life”—Helen Keller
  • “The Hound of the Baskervilles”—Arthur Conan Doyle
  • “Heart of Darkness”—Joseph Conrad

What we were dancing to

  • “The Entertainer”—Scott Joplin
  • “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home?” —Arthur Collins
  • “Please, Mamma, Buy Me a Baby”—Byron G. Harlan

What we were snacking on
Animal crackers were officially named “Barnum’s Animals” and sold in fun and fabulous circus wagon packaging, which included a string for Christmas-tree hanging. A box went for 5 cents.

Goings-on around town

  • Leading the way The National Association of Colored Women (NACW), a group founded in 1896 by African-American leaders including Harriet Tubman, Rosetta Douglass Sprague and Frances Harper, held its annual convention in Buffalo.
  • Is it hot in here? Willis Carrier, an engineer at Buffalo Forge, invented the air conditioner in a city known for its record snowfall.

Lookin’ swell
An ad that helped fund The Iris.