Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
School Colors, 1876
The school colors of Tufts University are brown and blue. The shade of brown is generally called chocolate brown, and the blue is variously described as between light and middle blue, or dusty sky blue. Though this color combination was chosen by the student body in 1876, the colors were not made officially the colors of Tufts University until 1960, when the Trustees voted on the matter.
In Tufts' early years, a cherry-red color was informally used as the school color, but this was felt to be too similar to Harvard's crimson. In 1876, the undergraduates decided to settle the issue by establishing the colors once and for all. In the ensuing discussions two factions emerged, one favoring seal brown and pearl white, the other, seal brown and gold. Blue was settled on as a compromise, though no specific shade of blue was singled out.
The first yearbook, published in 1878, was titled "Brown and Blue" and used the chocolate brown and sky blue combination that is in use today.
Over the years a number of attempts were made to standardize the exact shade of each color to be used but little headway was made. When the Trustees discussed and voted on the issue, the colors were designated according to the color scale of the Athletic Association of America, namely Athletic 6 (brown) and Athletic 40 (blue).