This Day in History – November 2nd, 1898

Organized cheerleading started as an all-male activity. As early as 1877, Princeton University had a “Princeton Cheer”, documented in the February 22, 1877, March 12, 1880, and November 4, 1881, issues of the Daily Princetonian. This cheer was yelled from the stands by students at games, as well as by the baseball and football athletes themselves. The cheer, “Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Tiger! S-s-s-t! Boom! A-h-h-h!” remains in use with slight modifications today and is now referred to as the “Locomotive”.


Princeton class of 1882 graduate Thomas Peebles moved to Minnesota in 1884, and transplanted the idea of organized crowds cheering at football games to the University of Minnesota. The term “Cheer Leader” had been used as early as 1897, with Princeton’s football officials having named three students as Cheer Leaders: Thomas, Easton and Guerin from Princeton’s classes of 1897, 1898 and 1899, respectively, on October 26, 1897; these students would cheer for the team also at football practices, and special cheering sections were designated in the stands for the games themselves for both the home and visiting teams.


Johnny Campbell

It was not until 1898 that University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell directed a crowd in cheering “Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-u-mah, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!”, making Campbell the very first cheerleader and November 2, 1898 the official birth date of organized cheerleading. Soon after, the University of Minnesota organized a “yell leader” squad of six male students, who still use Campbell’s original cheer today. In 1903 the first cheerleading fraternity, Gamma Sigma, was founded.

Women joined cheerleading 1923 and began to dominate it during World War II, when few men were involved in organized sports. Gymnastics, tumbling and megaphones were incorporated into popular cheers, and are still used.

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  • Interesting Facts about Cheerleading :

    […] In 1884, Thomas Peebles, a Princeton graduate, moved to Minnesota and planted the idea of organized cheering for teams as a sign of their support to the University of Minnesota. But it wasn’t until 1898 […]

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