Collections and Personal Papers:

Boar's Head Dramatic Society of Syracuse University: History

The Boar's Head Dramatic Society of Syracuse University was initiated by a small group of students in the spring of 1903. This group recognized the need for an on-campus organization that was solely committed to all aspects of dramatic production. Their plans did not get underway, however, until 1904 when -- still affiliated with the English Club -- they presented "King Lear" in Syracuse, Rochester and Auburn, under the direction of Professor Frederick D. Losey.

On February 9th, 1906, "Boar's Head" was adopted as the official name of the newly founded organization. This name was chosen in honor of the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap, London, 'favorite resort of Falstaff, Prince Hal and their companions' in Shakespeare's Henry IV.

On May 15th, 1906 the first annual Boar's Head banquet was held. Among a number of toasts, Herbert A. Robinson '07 gave one that was officially titled The History and Mystery of The Boar's Head -- "What's done cannot be undone."

Over the years Boar's Head had a number of faculty coaches. These included:

  • Frederick D. Losey 1904-07
  • Horace A. Eaton 1907-10
  • Hugh M. Tilroe 1910-11
  • Florence H. Butler 1911-15
  • Lewis E. Parmenter 1915-1926
  • Mrs. Thurston Vail Darling 1927
  • Sawyer Falk 1927-1961
  • Gerald F. Reidenbaugh 1961-1972

Boar's Head ended in 1972, but produced over 200 plays in its sixty year run. Dramatic activities continue at Syracuse University, but no longer under the auspices of Boar's Head.

Over 200 playbills and hundreds of photographs, articles and other memorabilia remain in the University Archives, a lasting tribute to an organization that Herbert Robinson stated "…cannot be undone!"