Mugwump

In 1920–21, a humor-literary magazine entitled the Mugwump replaced the U.T. Magazine. Howard H. Baker Sr. is credited with giving the publication its name. Among Algonquin Indians, mugwump meant “chief.” In American political history, the term had been derisively applied to Republicans who bolted the party in 1884 to support Grover Cleveland’s candidacy for US president. The “mugwump” for whom the magazine was named, however, was described as an animal that lived on the Hill when UT was Blount College—a wonderful and glorious animal whose sense of humor was as keen as a razor. When it laughed in musical accents, it could be heard in Chattanooga. C. G. Mynatt, the first editor, was said to have brought a mugwump back from a hunting trip into unexplored regions of Tennessee to the Hill to aid in the launch of the publication that bore its name. He indicated that he discovered the story of the sacred mugwump among the legends of the Indians and that the mugwump had the intelligence of a human—in some ways was superhuman—and that it could forecast any coming event.

The magazine contained jokes, stories, and miscellaneous items. In its first year of publication, a cartoon by George A. Moors was selected for the January 22, 1921, issue of Judge magazine. In March 1924 an article predicting the UT campus of 1975 suggested that 75,000 might witness football games, 1,500 coeds would live in dormitories, and 200,000 volumes would be in the library. The humor in the magazine was often somewhat coarse. Following a particularly serious flap about the humor in 1932, over which Norman Smith was forced out as editor and placed on probation, the trustees discontinued publication of the Mugwump at their August meeting and reduced the student activity fee by one dollar.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Mugwump
  • Author
  • Keywords Mugwump
  • Website Name Volopedia
  • Publisher University of Tennessee Libraries
  • URL
  • Access Date September 27, 2022
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update October 9, 2018