Indiana University

Scraps, or student competitions of the 1800's, pitted one class against another in the days before intramural sports were a part of college life. Though they began as simple brawls, scraps evolved into highly organized challenges.

A classical education model defined the curriculum in the mid-19th century. Students had little choice in the selection of their major or electives and primarily studied Greek and Latin, mathematics, physics, rhetoric, and history.

Listen to the IU Archives series of podcasts

Listen to the walking tour of the Old Crescent

IU's Scrappy History

A new series of podcasts produced by the IU Archives highlights student life in the 1800s and provides a glimpse into IU’s rich history and traditions.  Also online: a walking tour of the Old Crescent, the arc of limestone buildings that form the core of the campus. 

Listen to the following podcasts created by University Archivist, Phil Bantin:

1) Education Model: A classical education model defined the curriculum in the mid-19th century. Students had little choice in the selection of their major or electives and primarily studied Greek and Latin, mathematics, physics, rhetoric, and history. They were expected to be of upstanding moral character.

2) Bogus Publications: Students have written and distributed publications since the university's earliest days. Underground "bogus" publications lampooned the university and were particulary controversial. Two of the most popular during the mid-19th century were The Dagger and The Turd.

3) Literary Societies: Literary societies dominated the intellectual and social lives of the IU students in the late nineteenth century. Students gathered to exhange "witty declamations and spicy remarks" and debate hot topics of the day, including, for example, if the medical profession was honorable for women.

4) Scraps: Scraps, or student competitions of the 1800's, pitted one class against another in the days before intramural sports were a part of college life. Though they began as simple brawls, scraps evolved into highly organized challenges. Bantin traces their colorful bloody history.