Tufts University's official mascot, Jumbo was a male African elephant owned by P.T. Barnum, a Tufts trustee, and benefactor.
Purchased for $10,000 from the London Zoo in 1883, Jumbo was the most gigantic elephant known at the time, standing approximately 12 feet tall at the shoulder and weighing more than six tons.
Tragically, in 1885 the mighty pachyderm was struck and killed by a steam locomotive while crossing a seldom-used railroad track.
The entrepreneurial Barnum had the skeleton removed and the massive hide stuffed.
In 1889, stuffed Jumbo retired from Barnum's traveling circus and was given to Tufts University to be displayed in the campus's Barnum Museum of Natural History and became the Tufts mascot. The acquisition also provided plenty of 'Barnum-esque' publicity for the 30-year-old academic institution.
For good luck, before big exams or athletic events, Tufts students would tug on his tail or put pennies in his trunk. This tail-pulling practice eventually took its toll and required the tail's replacement in 1942.
Stuffed Jumbo was housed in the Barnum Museum until 1975 when he was destroyed by a fire that ravaged much of the museum.
The salvaged ashes from the site where Jumbo stood were collected the next day and placed within peanut butter jar. This container resides in the athletics director's office where athletics teams continue to rub it for good luck.
In 2014 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Jumbo's arrival on campus, a life-sized, bronze statue was unvieled.
–Doug | email@example.com