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Barbara Cook Collins collection of Cheerleading Uniforms and Pennants

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSA 26

Scope and Contents

The Barbara Cook Collins Collection of Cheerleading Uniforms and pennants (1939, 1 cubic foot) documents the advent of the inclusion of women in cheerleading at Purdue. The collection reflects the clothing worn and props used by women cheerleaders in 1939. The items also reflect material and university culture from the late 1930s. The collection might be most useful to researchers interested in cheerleading history (particularly at Purdue), extracurricular activities available to women in the early years of Purdue, material culture of the mid-twentieth century, and university culture and customs. Unfortunately there is little documentation or supporting documents accompanying the artifacts. Types of materials include: uniforms/ clothing and pennants.


  • 1939
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/02/1988


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research

Historical Information

Prior to 1939, cheer or yell leaders at Purdue were all men.  The male students were chosen by the student body, with one member appointed as the head cheerleader.  These students were responsible for fostering school spirit and support for Purdue’s athletic teams.  The position of head yell (cheer) leader was highly coveted, with its selection process well-documented in the Exponent.  In 1939, Stubby Meiers was selected as the head cheerleader and forever changed the face of cheerleading at Purdue.  During his tenure, Meiers selected three female students to join the squad for the first time:  Barbara Cook (BSS 1940), Mary Mather (BSHE 1940), and Marjorie Moore (BSHE 1942).  The three women are pictured with the rest of the Yell Leaders in the 1939 Debris. Interestingly, 1939 also saw the introduction of a Mascot to Purdue Athletics, with the creation of the first Boilermaker Special.

Biographical Information

Barbara Cook Collins graduated from Purdue in 1940 with a B.S.S. While at Purdue, Collins was the first female athlete to represent Purdue as a National Champion Diver and was the first woman to be inducted into the Purdue Athletic Hall of Fame. Collins was also a member of the inaugural class of female cheerleaders in 1939.


1.00 Cubic Feet (1 flat box)

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Barbara Cook Collins

Method of Acquisition


Processing Information

All materials have been placed in archival housing and wrapped for preservation purposes.
Barbara Cook Collins collection of Cheerleading Uniforms and Pennants
In Progress
Virginia Pleasant
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States