The Mysteries of Indiana University


That's a lovely hallway. Wish we took better care of our old buildings everywhere. I have an old quilt of my great grandmother's that has what are euphemistically called "pinwheels," but are actually swastikas. You're right, it's an ancient symbol that has always meant good things, until recently.
You can't beat Americans in the willful ignorance category! I hope that vandal never travels in Asia; you see swastikas in many Buddhist temples.
1: I believe they are meant to represent a spinning cross, which a 'pinwheel' sort of resembles.
How uncomfortable. In 1917 the sporting set was still in the grip of a fad for good luck symbols, and the swastika was among them.

The 1914 Boston Braves wore swastikas on their caps on opening day for good luck.

As early as 1912 the NYT reports Yankees manager Harry Wolverton tried to stamp out superstition in his players, with their "jinxes, good or bad omens, rabbits' feet, swastika signs or all that ancient baseball lore. He will not insist on all the bats being placed a certain way in front of the bench, nor will he make a wish for victory every time he sees a load of hay pass by."
P.S. dear Canuck, do enjoy this photo of the 1916 Edmonton women's hockey team, the Swastikas.
You're a Google genius, Gus!!
I like swastikas as much as the next guy, but cmon Dan. Does anyone on campus have an opinion about Indiana's sex trade business? Indicting those three last week in Indianapolis on Human Trafficking charges seemed a bit extreme. Maybe a tour through the law library tomorrow?

that's a classic pic gus. Goal!
The Nazi swastika is the mirror image of the old Indian good-luck sign, I believe. My middle school had swastika tiles as's an old building.
Stupid Nazis ruin everything.
@9: We mustn't let them break our spirit.
Sad that the tile got scratched, but in a way I don't mind. The scratches tell their own story.
A friend of mine lived in a building in New York right by the Triangle Building that has a course of swastikas running around it right under what used to be his window. They're everywhere.
@11 - hey, thanks for that point of view! I agree.
There's an apartment building somewhere on Capitol Hill that has a swastika tile on the steps inside the entryway. West of and parallel w/ Broadway...Boylston?
The cover of Danish cultures "founding Father-equivalent" Niels Grundtvigs 1924-translation into Danish of the earliest known history of Denmark can be seen here. Swastika smacked right on the cover of the most influential modernization of Denmarks most culturally important collection of texts.

The entrance to the Carslberg-brewery in Copenhagen can be seen here. Notice the swastikas on the elephants dress.

Pre-nazi-swastikas were all over Danish culture.
That should be 1924-edition, not 1924-translation. Grundtvig was very, very dead by then.
I notice that there don't appear to be any scratches on the green-on-red-tile swastika, only the black-on-red-tile one. Perhaps those students aren't as retarded as you seem to think.
The Corn Palace, in Mitchell SD, circa 1907.
Wow, the Corn Palace is that old?
I once house sat for a couple of extremely smart mathematicians who were, incidentally, Jewish. She pursued quilting as a hobby, and one of her quilts that hung on the wall had a fabric featuring swastikas. I never did ask for the back story on that quilt.
The Corn Palace is pretty old. Wikipedia tells me the original was built in 1892, so it predates South Dakota's statehood.
The letter "H" is actually spelled "aitch," not "aytch."
Just for the record, the main Post Office in Allentown, PA has swastikas embedded throughout its floors. They're neat.
The Nazi's also ruined a perfectly good salute as well. Just more of their stealing (in that case the Romans) and perverting that thing for evil.
So Dan, why exactly are you in Indiana?
the navajo used that symbol in their weavings
Swastikas are all over some of the older buildings in Wichita. Twice now I've been out to lunch with some ladies who noticed them for the first time and gasped and complained angrily about these old tiles. And of course I have to sigh and tell them that, no, the owners of that particular building probably aren't neonazis...
@ 26 - You beat me to it.

I fear the Stupid Nazis may have permanently besmudged this ancient positive symbol.
When I was in 3rd grade, I doodled a what was apparently a swastika on one of my notebooks. At the time, I believe it was meant to be a pinwheel. Mom wasn't happy about that parent/teacher meeting !
I have an old Carslberg beer bottle and it has one on the bottom. I've got it tucked away thinking I can't let anyone see this or they will think I'm for Hilter or something.
I'll be derned. . .
The arts auditorium lobby at Kutztown University (in PA) must have been built around the same time as the HPER, because it sports a nearly identical set of tiles. As of the 1980s, the swastikas were intact; however, in the years since, they've been chiseled out, undoubtedly in deference to some reactionary douchebags. Why couldn't they have just put up a plaque like this one? Especially since Berks County, PA is the source of a bunch of the pre-Nazi swastika quilts: the PA Dutch called it a fyrfot, and it was definitely a good luck symbol.
There's the astronomical explanation in this article…

We get the same pablum from people who like to fly the Confederate Flag and say it's only about states rights and family history. Symbols become much more, much, much more. It may have meant that originally and did, but that being true for both does not abrogate the meaning as it stands today.

I went to Indiana. They should take it down.
@2 It is not necessarily willful ignorance.

I understand what the swastika means in other cultures. I have travelled widely and seen Swastikas in Asia. My wife had a beutiful fabric wall hanging with many symbols she brought home from Asia. Among them a Swastika.

In my head, everytime I saw it I knew it was not in this context a Nazi symbol. But I could not help the visceral reaction and associations that it brought to me every time I noticed it in passing on the wall of my home.

I finally could not take it any more and persuaded my wife that we could find something else to hang on the wall that did not make me think of concentration camps every time I saw it.

Sad, because other than the Swastika I liked it.
That's a nice hallway and I wish that newer school buildings were still built with that kind of attention of detail look.