In Herb's Archive we'll discuss the
history of the school colors. (Hint: they're not Blue and Gold!) This
article is from the 1973 Monitor, the magazine of the campus
newspaper, The Observer. It was found in Herb's files under the
heading: "The Fighting Irish - Origins of the name and Spirit"
School Colors Not Such A Mystery
(They Have To Be In The Right Order Though)
The origin of the Notre Dame school colors has been the subject of much
curiosity of late.Theories on the matter vary .Some even speculate that
the colors have not always been what they are today.
This possible incongruity of tradition at ND, added to basic
inquisitiveness, sent Monitor reporters scurrying all over campus
in quest of the essential truth in the matter .
The files of the archives, our first stop, proved fruitless. No mention of
the colors anywhere. A visit with Band Director O'Brien turned up similar
results, as did question and answer periods with such campus notables as
Father Thomas Blantz, Ceil Popovich, Bill McLean and Rod Braye. Finally a
trip to the bookstore gave us a lead!
Under the gold dome our reporter visited the information services. The
secretary here laughingly suggested that the colors were chosen to
represent the gold of the dome against the occasional blue of the South
Bend sky. She referred us to Jay Kane of public information. Kane's theory
is that the colors had been chosen because they are the colors most often
associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary, our patron. They could,
therefore, have been blue and white at one time, Kane allowed, as these
actually are the Virgin's hallmarks.
Just to be sure, Kane referred us to Chet Grant, curator of the
university sports and games collection. Grant, once the sports editor of
the South Bend Tribune, a member of the ND varsity under Rockne, and the
author of Before Rockne at Notre Dame, answered our question.
"The colors are gold and blue," said Grant, "not blue and gold.
There is a difference, you know ."
"As far back as I can recollect, about 1902, and as far back as I have
read, about 1887, the varsity has always worn gold and blue."
As Grant details in his book, these are the colors of the patron Lady.
They are represented in the university seal by a cross of gold on a field
The Fighting Irish nickname was created in the 1920's. This tag has lead
many to believe that at one time the colors were green and white. Up until
this time the teams were usually called the Notre Dames, Notre Damers,
Ramblers and South Benders. The colors, therefore, the gold and the blue,
have been the most constant trademark.
Grant reiterated one point: gold and blue, not blue and gold.
For the right sequence, envision the gold of the Dome and the statue of
Mary against the blue of the sky