“Carolina Demon Wolfcat’s Hide”

One of our catalogers recently pointed out this interesting item: “Bonus, Bona, Bonum: Duke University Cheer-Leader’s Creed (Nightmare of An Old Grad after a Home-Coming Game).” Composed and written by Bob Durham and dedicated to John Durham, the score seems to be some sort of satirical look at college life and athletics. The cataloger also noticed the following phrase, which stumped us, so we were hoping that our loyal NCM readers could help figure out what this phrase meant.

Carolina Demon Wolfcat

The first page of the score is reproduced below.

Any ideas?

0 thoughts on ““Carolina Demon Wolfcat’s Hide””

  1. The question about the line “The Carolina demon wolf-cat’s hide…” was referred to us in the North Carolina room by one of our Humanities staffers. Our newest staff member, Audra Eagle, a Duke grad, and I figured it out pretty quickly.

    It’s Duke’s biggest rivals in 1891: Carolina (UNC) demon (Deacons) wolf (pack)-cat’s (Davidson Wildcats).

    Believe it or not, athletic rivalries in NC in the 1890s may have been fiercer than they are today. Thousands of fans turned out for baseball games between Davidson and UNC in Greensboro.

    For many years, NC was the only state to have an official holiday on Easter Monday. In the Encyclopedia of North Carolina, Bill Powell repeats the often told story that the reason for that holiday, established by the state legislature, was so that more people could attend the NC State-Wake Forest baseball game which was traditionally played on Easter Monday.

    Fam Brownlee, Jr.
    North Carolina Room
    Forsyth County Public Library
    660 West Fifth Street
    Winston-Salem, NC 27101
    (336) 703-3074
    brownlfl@forsyth.cc

  2. Well, let’s give most of the credit to Audra Eagle, who has a brain that is as sharp as the eye of that other eagle, soaring high above the playing fields. She comes to us from Duke and UCLA (Coach K and Coach Wooden: is that a basketball legacy?) and the Library of Congress. We’re lucky to have her.

    And I should mention that the question was passed to us by our newest Humanities librarian, Laura Gillis, who worked in the North Carolina Collection when she was in grad school. She “absolutely loved it” she says.

    I’m surrounded by brilliant colleagues.

    Jason:

    I think you were on the right track. Maybe we’re into a little double entendre here. Note the next line: That’s what you “get” in college.

    Well, what do you “get” in college? The sheepskin, of course, which, in this case, is made from the Carolina demon wolf-cat skin, which, in your wildest dreams, at least, you’ve been “getting” for four years on the playing fields as well.

    Clever lyrics. I want to see the rest of the song.

    Fam Brownlee, Jr.
    North Carolina Room
    Forsyth County Public Library
    660 West Fifth Street
    Winston-Salem, NC 27101
    (336) 703-3074
    brownlfl@forsyth.cc

  3. I’ll see if I can get a scan of the entire song up on the blog. It is copyrighted, but I’m hoping no one cares if I put it up! If so, just let me know.

    Also, to answer Dane’s comment, I’m not from Cochran, but I knew some Cochrans when I lived in western Lincoln County.

  4. That was my first thought, too, but I’m not sure Wake’s teams were known as the Demon Deacons in the 1890s. The early teams were known either as the Tigers or the Old Gold and Black; I think it was in the 1910s or 1920s that they were first called Demon Deacons. Anyone know for sure?

  5. Ed, a good point…

    The song shows a copyright notice dated 1930, so I guess that is the target date.

    My friend, Barry Lawing, says in his book Demon Deacon Hoops that until the 1920s, Wake was referred to as simply the Baptists. In 1923 the editor of the Old Gold and Black referred to them for the first time as the Demon Deacons and the name stuck. At that time, Duke (still Trinity) was already being called the Blue Devils.

    But he goes on to say “The nicknames for N. C. State and Carolina were the Red Terrors and the White Phantoms. State did not adopt the Wolfpack as a mascot until the late forties, and Carolina did not officially use the Tar Heel nickname until the early fifties.” (pp 7-8)

    So it would appear that N. C. State is the problem. In his book Go Wolfpack: North Carolina State Football Thad Mumau points out that NC A&M teams were initially called the Farmers & Mechanics. By the early 20s the school name had changed to NC State College and the nickname to the Red Terrors.

    But in 1922 a letter from a disgruntled fan was published in the student newspaper. It said, in part, “…that as long as State’s players behaved both on and off the field like a wolfpack, the school could never have a winning record.” The students were amused and adopted the Wolfpack nickname. State’s other athletic teams remained the Red Terrors.

    In 1946 the State Chancellor tried to change the football team’s nickname. But students and alums rallied around the name and the following year the college decided that henceforth all State teams would be called the Wolfpack.

    Thanks for asking the question. I learned a lot, including the fact that in the first intercollegiate basketball game played in the state (Feb 6, 1906), my alma mater, the Guilford College Quakers, defeated Wake Forest 26-19.

  6. Fam, you’re a true jewel! I always enjoy–and appreciate–stories such as this. Although I haven’t lived in NC in many years, it’s my roots and my heritage–not to mention that I’m a Tar Heel Born, a Tar Heel Bred, and when I die I’ll be a Tar Heel dead!

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