sophomore cotillion 1897

Dances with Duke

Duke Ellington and his band members play for dancers at the Sophomore Cotillion.  Ellington’s jazzy overtones enlivened the restrained, noble air of the baroque dance form, but student police reports suggest that the ambiance was perhaps all too lively. As documented in head cop James K. Barnum’s accompanying report, “the crashers were climbing on every roof on the building. For future reference make a note that whenever you have a band with the drawing power as has Duke Ellington, there must be three men stationed on top of the roofs. Otherwise, you will have trouble all night long. The crashers won’t come down when they are told; you have to send someone up after them.” Duke Ellington had also performed at the Junior Prom the year before.

pajamarino jazz musicians

Jazz musicians at student Pajamarino, or pajama-themed dance. Stanford Historical Photograph Collection


Featured image: Sophomore Cotillion, illustration from 1897 Stanford Quad