Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


Jam, 1905-1952


The Jam, or Jamming, was an undergraduate tradition begun as early as 1905. It was part of the annual banquet season, during which the freshman and sophomore classes each held banquets as a way of celebrating class spirit. Jamming involved kidnapping members of the other class to prevent attendance at its banquet, thereby preventing the success of that class's banquet. Jams and the banquets associated with them were part of a complex tradition of freshman-sophomore class rivalry, which culminated in an annual football game between the two classes during which the class that had amassed the most points in the various informal competitions was able to demonstrate its greater class spirit through the display of its class flags.

The banquets were a competitive event moderated by Sword and Shield, the sophomore honor society and designated keeper of Tufts traditions. In order to hold a successful banquet, each class would have to comply with criteria set by Sword and Shield governing attendance, such as that a certain percentage of the class had to attend, or particular officeholders had to be present. Failure to meet these criteria meant that the banquet was declared to have "fizzled" and that class bore the stigma of failing to demonstrate proper spirit.

Jamming began when members of one class would kidnap their counterparts in the other class to prevent their attendance at the banquet, in order to cause the other class's banquet to fail. Victims would be ambushed, tackled, and hog-tied, usually with a jump rope, and then held until after the banquet had begun, threatening its success.

Though criteria governing successful banquets were set by Sword and Shield, the events and associated Jams were policed by Tower Cross, the senior honor society.

If the freshman class won, the rule requiring wearing of class beanies was suspended temporarily. If the sophomores won, freshman were forced to wear their beanies inside out on designated days, as a mark of their failure.

The Tufts Weekly continued to record kidnapping incidents through the 1930s. By 1947, many of the freshman traditions and practices had become obsolete, and in 1952, Sword and Shield moved to eliminate several of the traditions, including most freshman-oriented hazing activities.

Source: TW, October 26, 1905, October 27, 1920, October 12, 1921, May 18, 1952, October 12, 1927

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  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
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Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
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