Recent Travels

Photo of Phil Rockwell ’65 and Robert Kirkpatrick ’60, Associate Dean of Admissions, unveiling the cannon for Reunion, June 1973.

In recent years, the reappearance of the Douglas Cannon on campus has coincided with significant university events. It appeared at the 55th Reunion (1973) of the Class of 1918, which was the class who won the final cannon scrap in 1915. Memorably, the cannon appeared at Wesleyan’s sesquicentennial celebrations in 1981 hidden inside the large anniversary cake that was cut by Nancy Campbell, wife of then-President Colin Campbell. It has been seen at Colin Campbell’s last presiding Commencement ceremony in 1988, was remounted for President William Chace’s inauguration in 1989, returned to campus at the 1994 Reunion, and appeared at President Douglas Bennet’s inauguration in 1995. In its last appearance on campus in December 1997, the cannon appeared sealed in a large plaster package in front of the Davenport Campus Center, wrapped in a red ribbon and bow. The plaster was broken apart with hammers and chisels and the wooden crate inside containing the cannon was swiftly carried off by a group of students.

The cannon seems to have spent much of its time travelling during its absences from the Wesleyan campus. An intriguing series of photographs exist which show what appears to be the Douglas Cannon in London, Paris, and Montreal. Some say that the holders of the cannon at the time, a group known as the Doug Addicts, made a plaster copy which they painted and took with them to Europe and around the country. A postcard from “Doug” arrived in the president’s office from Venezuela in 1989. Customs stamps on the cannon’s wooden crate, noticed at a later appearance, appear to confirm that it has left the country for a time.

Photo of members of the class of 1916 and 1918 gathered around the cannon at Reunion, June 1973.

“The Douglas Cannon is Here Again,” Wesleyan Alumnus, Summer 1973.

“The Douglas Cannon – A Bit of History,” Wesleyan press release by William K. Wasch, December 10, 1974.

Letter from Douglas W. Cannon to the Argus reflecting on his recent travels, September 13, 1974.

Photo of the cannon at the 1974 Reunion, Wesleyan News, June-July 1974.

Diagram illustrating how the cannon was hidden in the sesquicentennial cake, Argus, October 23, 1981.

“Laurel Masten [’76] lowers cannon into cake,” photo from the Argus, October 27, 1981.

Photo of the cannon in Middlefield, Conn. before its 1981 appearance, and the note accompanying it inside the sesquicentennial cake, 1981.

Every attempt to securely remount the Douglas Cannon on its base between South College and Memorial Chapel has ultimately been unsuccessful. Hopes have run high each time that a permanent and impenetrable mount could be created. Alumni with ties to security firms and even the CIA have been consulted to advise on effective security procedures, all without success.

The Douglas Cannon’s whereabouts are currently unknown.

Excerpts from Kirsten Delegard ’90, “The Cannon Chronicles,” Wesleyan Alumnus, Winter 1990, illustrating the cannon’s alleged travels to Paris and London, and its reappearance at Colin Campbell’s final Commencement in 1988.

“Déjà Vu: Cannon is Purloined,” Red & Black, December 1989.

Program from the cannon’s restoration ceremony, September 23, 1989.

Ellen Delisio, “122-year-old Cannon Finds A Home on Wesleyan Campus,” Middletown Press, September 26, 1989.

Photo of the cannon at Reunion 1994 and a letter to the Wesleyan community from “Doug,” Wesleyan Alumnus, Summer 1994.

“The Douglas Cannon’s Great Adventure,” Wesleyan Argus, January 23, 1998.

The cannon pays a surprise visit to Argus Editor-in-Chief Scott Mayerowitz ’00 before its most recent public appearance, mid-December 1997. Lower photo, clockwise from upper left: Christopher Brody ’99, Gwen Glaser ’99, Elizabeth LeSure ’99, Scott Mayerowitz ’00. These items, gifts of Scott Mayerowitz.

Photos of the Douglas Cannon’s most recent public appearance, December 15, 1997 in front of the Davenport Campus Center. Photos by Scott Mayerowitz.

Piece of the ribbon used to wrap the plaster package containing the cannon, December 1997.