The Douglas Cannon, a 140-pound brass cannon that is periodically stolen and returned to Wesleyan for a cult ritual I don’t understand, has resurfaced. I got an e-mail on Friday with the photo above and the following message:
The official base of the Douglas Cannon is between South College and the Memorial Chapel, though it’s never actually there. The last time the Douglas Cannon was on campus was in 2012 in the Zelnick Pavillion. Before that, it was briefly on campus in 2010 and at President Roth’s inauguration reception in 2007.
The Cannon has traveled all around the world and usually makes appearances at Wesleyan during important university events, such as commencement. It communicates its travels via the Argus, sometimes university administrators, and in recent years, Wesleying. The Douglas Cannon has been central to many historic university pranks, like when it was baked into Wesleyan’s sesquicentennial cake in 1981. It’s also been a symbol of activism and protest. In 1961, students with the Cannon in their possession presented it to the USSR’s student delegation to the United Nations as a “symbol of peace, brotherhood, and friendship.” In 1969, it was driven to the White House as “a gift” to Richard Nixon in protest against the Vietnam War.
If you want to read more about this Wes tradition, here are your links:
“A Short History of the Trials, Travels, and Travails of the Douglas Cannon” (by Jeffrey Makala, Processing Archivist/Reference Librarian)
Douglas Cannon [Wikipedia] Where in the World is the Douglas Cannon? [WesLive]
The Saga Continues: Douglas Cannon Travels the Hemispheres [Argus] Douglas Cannon [Wesleying]