We don’t know who KDVD is. We don’t know what KDVD stands for. But we may have KDVD to thank for Indiana University’s most iconic symbol.
KDVD is the artist who drew the earliest-known example of the interlocking I and U symbol, or as you know it: the IU trident. The image appeared in the athletics section of the 1898 Arbutus yearbook.
According to the image description in the IU Archives, the name printed at the bottom of the drawing, Claude McD. Hamilton, was the staff member responsible for compiling and writing that section of the yearbook. IU Archives Curator of Photographs Brad Cook suspects that KDVD was an artist for the Indiana Illustrator Company, which provided many of the illustrations in the yearbook that year.
Adding to the air of mystery, KDVD disguised their signature in the netting beneath the racket in the illustration—almost as if the letters were part of the strings themselves.
From illustration to university icon
After its ﬁrst appearance in 1898, the trident was used primarily for athletics purposes, as in the Athletics section title page from the 1899 Arbutus yearbook. It wasn’t long before IU started using the trident more broadly—for instance, on the 1910 Arbutus cover. Today, IU is one of the few NCAA schools that uses one logo for the university and athletics.
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