Posted by ESC on February 06, 2004
In Reply to: Origination of names and phrases for colleges posted by dan williams on February 06, 2004
: I would like to know the origination of names for athletic teams. ones in particular are alabama's "crimson tide", and penn state's "nittnay lions".
1892 The University's first football team assembled - the "Thin Red Line" that later became the "Crimson Tide."
Myth: The word "Nittany" is derived from Princess Nita-nee,a member of the Native American tribes who once lived in central Pennsylvania.
Fact: Princess Nita-nee was "invented" by author and publisher Henry W. Shoemaker and has no basis whatever in fact. Shoemaker's mention of the princess first appeared in print in 1903. At that time he attributed the tale to "an aged Seneca Indian named Isaac Steele." Shoemaker, a well known Pennsylvania folklorist, later admitted that both Steele and Nita-nee were "purely fictitious." http://www.psu.edu/ur/about/myths.html
To learn the REAL origins of "Nittany", go to "All Things Nittany".
The word "Nittany" seems to have been derived from a Native American term meaning "single mountain." (Since a number of Algonquian-speaking tribes inhabited central Pennsylvania, the term can't be traced to one single group.) These inhabitants applied this description to the mountain that separates Penns Valley and Nittany Valley, overlooking what is today the community of State College and Penn State's University Park campus. The first white settlers in the 1700s apparently adopted this term, or a corruption of it, when they named that mountain, i.e., Mount Nittany or Nittany Mountain. Thus by the time Penn State admitted its first students in 1859, the word "Nittany" was already in use. http://www.psu.edu/ur/about/nittany.html