From Woody's Couch

Our Playbook on OSU History

Category: Homecoming (page 1 of 2)

How a world record holding Holstein became homecoming queen

Homecoming queens have a long tradition here at The Ohio State University.  The first homecoming queen was elected in 1921, over 90 years ago.  No election was as memorable as that of 1926, when Maudine Ormsby was declared the official homecoming queen.

(Photo Location: 99-1920's)

Nothing seems strange about Maudine Ormsby winning that year, until you learn that she was a cow.  But to say she was just a cow would be unfair, Maudine was an award winning Holstein.  In her heyday, she was able to produce 743.5 pounds of milk and 28.7 pounds of butter fat during a 7 day test, which won her a world record.

Because of her unique capability, the agricultural school students were quite fond of her.  They decided they should even nominate her for homecoming queen.  To Maudine’s dismay she was officially disqualified because she was not in the student directory, but more likely because she was a cow.  The Ag students then grudgingly nominated co-ed Margerey Rutledge.

1926 Homecoming Queen Election

Election Day came and with it a boatload of tampering and corruption.  Officials printed 3,000 ballots, but when counting them they found over 12,000.  Not only were people voting multiple times, but ballot boxes were stolen and some students were even voting for dead alumni.  Because of the wide-spread voting corruption, the Election Committee was not able to count the ballots accurately.

Cue Maudine, who was busy winning her own awards.  The Committee decided that since no human winner could be determined that Maudine would step in.  Of course Maudine did receive some valid votes, but not nearly enough to win.

Sadly, Maudine’s handlers did not allow her to attend any of the homecoming events for fear that the

(Photo Location: 99-1940's)

excitement would curdle her milk.  She was a world record milk producer first and a queen second.

Although Maudine achieved great fame and success, her life was cut short.  At the age of 7, eight years sooner than most cows, Maudine had to be put down after contracting brucellosis, a highly contagious disease.

To learn more about the extraordinary life of Maudine, check out these Lantern Articles written about her:

“Maudine Ormsby” to Reign as Queen for Homecoming

Here Lies One More Shattered Record!

“Maudine” Barred From Coronation as Queen Friday

Maudine, Campus Queen of 1926, Set World Record

The Lantern is completely digitized and text searchable.  You can always go to to look for articles.

Stranger than Fiction

Herbert Atkinson, c1920

Atkinson, c1920

This April Fool’s Day, we bring you some bits of OSU history you’ll have to read about to believe!

Herbert Atkinson

Alumnus and Board of Trustee member Herbert Atkinson was so tied to the OSU campus that he requested Bricker Hall as his final resting place, and got his wish! Read more about it in a past blog post.





Marie the Elephant

Students often threaten to run off and join the circus, but how often do animals leave the circus for OSU? Well, Marie the elephant did. In 1981 she took ill and was transferred to the College of Veterinary Medicine’s clinic where she later died. The story just gets stranger after that! Read more about it in the transcript from then Physical Plant director Dean Ramsey’s oral history and our web exhibit for the 40th anniversary of the University Archives.



Home Ec baby, 1946

Home Ec baby, 1946

Home Ec Babies

You think your classes were stressful? Well, Home Ec students of the past were tasked with the care of a human infant, with all the responsibilities that come along with it! Read more about it in a recent blog post.



Maudine, 1926

Maudine, 1926

Queen Maudine

Perhaps one of the best pieces of OSU lore is Maudine Ormsby, the 1926 Homecoming Queen. And yes, she is the one with the spots. How did OSU end up with a cow as its Homecoming Queen? Simple: election fraud. In 1926 OSU’s student enrollment was less than 10,000, and for the election only 3,000 ballots were printed. However 12,000 votes for Homecoming Queen were submitted. Hmmmm…

Unfortunately, Maudine was unable to attend the Homecoming festivities; she was declared “too valuable” to risk an appearance. The Homecoming Committee had to settle for two boys in a cow costume.


Hand Grenades

Sneak preview: You’ll have to wait a few days to find out what hand grenades (but, alas, not horseshoes) had to do with track meets of old, but we think it’s worth the wait!

Filed by C.N. and L.S.

Homecoming 2012 marks a century of festivities

In the 100 years of Homecoming celebrations here at OSU, the festivities really haven’t changed much, unlike the hairstyles, fashion, automobile designs, etc. (see photos below). Since the 1920s, students have decorated their houses and dorms in honor of the event. As parade floats became more popular in the 1970s, though, the art of decorating Greek houses declined. Still, many campus venues continue to be decorated with scarlet and gray.

No matter how it’s celebrated, Homecoming obviously is one Ohio State’s time-honored traditions. We hope everyone in the OSU community enjoys the weekend!

Homecoming decoration on the Oval, “The Old Lady and the Shoe”, 1920s


Homecoming parade, 1929


Homecoming court arriving at the Stadium, 1944


Decorations on fraternity house, 1946


Homecoming decorations, 1952


Beta Theta Pi homecoming decorations, 1954


Decorations in front of the North Dorms, 1964


Homecoming parade, 1985


Homecoming parade, 1998

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