Wesleyan Taft Day

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Color illustration portrait of William Howard Taft above an illustrated eagle holding a United States flag shield; blue text surrounds the illustration. 

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[union bug] Buttons made by The Whitehead & Hoag Co. Newark, N.J. U.S.A. Pat. April 16, 1896, July 21 1906.

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Wesleyan College was founded in 1831 in Middletown, Connecticut by citizens of Middletown and Methodist leaders. One of Wesleyan’s beloved traditions is that of the Douglas Cannon. Originally used for ceremonial purposes, it was “stolen” in 1957 by students and returned the following year. Since then it has made many disappearances, many years long in some cases, before being spotted in photographs and personal appearances.

The 27th president of the United States, William Howard Taft served from 1909-1913. In September 1909, at the tail end of a 14,000 mile tour, President Taft took time to attend the inauguration of William Shanklin as president of Wesleyan University. The ceremonies of the day took place on the university grounds, but it’s noted in the Meriden Morning Record that, “the town completed its own celebration…with a display of fireworks. The crowds were large, but there were no accidents to mar the arrangements.”


Little, A. & Minzer, A. (2023). From the Archives: The Cold Trail and Sunken Story of the Douglas Cannon. The Wesleyan Argus. Retrieved from http://wesleyanargus.com/2023/02/20/from-the-argives-the-cold-trail-and-sunken-story-of-the-douglas-cannon/

Wesleyan’s President Installed. (1909, November 13). Meriden Morning Record (Meriden, Connecticut), p. 1.

Catalog ID PO1263