12. June 2017 · 8 comments · Categories: 2011

Update:  Do you have one of these type of vintage University of Michigan Union enamel pins? (also called pinbacks, lapel pins, buttonhole, screwbacks, tie tacks, among other things)?  Email me at mail[at]mvictors.com or mvictors on Twitter.

University of Michigan vintage screwback lapel pins - block M - Union

University of Michigan screw back pins – for the U-M Union or as athletic program boosters


Antique/vintage University of Michigan Union enamel pins (also called pinbacks, lapel pins, buttonhole, screwbacks, tie tacks

Common manufacturers of these pins were Burr, Patterson & Auld and Whitehead & Hoag.

In the early years, students received a pin for making a donation to the athletic department (at the turn of the 20th century).  Later they were displayed to gain access to the Michigan Union.

If you have one of these type of antique/vintage Michigan Union enamel pins (also called pinbacks, lapel pins, buttonhole, screwbacks, tie tacks, among other things) Email me at mail[at]mvictors.com or mvictors on Twitter.

Check out this vintage U-M matchbook, up on eBay now:

union matchbook

This weekend I pointed out the M logo on a t-shirt that was distributed after the Notre Dame jersey unveiling.  Judging from the new shirt available on M Den (right below), it looks like it’s going to appear on gear and branding for the game:

old school m logo

I tried to recall when and where I’ve seen that style logo before.  Reader Rob correctly noted it looks a lot like the designs high up on the wall at Yost:


Along with the Yost Field House parapet, it looks like the designers got some inspiration from the old Union logo.   As far as that ‘For Michigan Men’ slogan on the matchbook, the Union was indeed intended for the fouler sex officially until 1968 if you can believe that.  Some Union history:

Initially, women were only allowed to enter the Michigan Union through the North entrance and when accompanied by a male escort. It was the founders’ belief that women already had a social center in the parlors of the Barbour Gymnasium. In 1929, the Michigan League was constructed and opened on North University Avenue. The League, also designed by the Pond brothers, was created as a center for women’s social, cultural and recreational campus activities. In 1956, for the first time in its history, women were allowed to enter the Michigan Union without an escort, even through the front doors. The Billiards room, however, held to the old traditions and it was not until 1968 that women were granted equal access to the entire building.

Here’s a recent auction of a pin and membership card from the 1912-13 school year in Ann Arbor, belonging to one Sherwood Field (a staffer at the Daily):

1912-1913 Michigan union pin card, #544. Maize 'M' flanked by the school year (1912, 1913)

1912-1913 U-M Union membership card, Ann Arbor Michigan

As mentioned above, the Union was effectively an optional men’s club for student who paid dues to enter the facility.  In 1918 all Michigan men were automatically enrolled, billiard balls cracked and tobacco smoked.   Each year the Union issued pins that looked something/exactly like this:Michigan Union Pins

And you’ll notice the M logo on the pins on the left looks mucho like the shirt (and matchbook)designs.

Interesting, no?  More on Michigan Union history here.



  1. Here’s a better history of the Union (IME): http://umhistory.dc.umich.edu/mort/central/west%20of%20state/Michigan%20Union/index.html

    Also, my MGoDiary on Irving Pond, the Union’s co-architect and the man who scored the first touchdown in Michigan Football history: http://umhistory.dc.umich.edu/mort/central/west%20of%20state/Michigan%20Union/index.html

  2. @mgoshoe
    Thanks man. (P.S. – I really question whether Pond actually scored the first TD. I talked about this here, and reading the latest reproduced accounts of that game, well, hmm, soo…?)

  3. As to Pond scoring that First TD in Michigan Football History, the below blurb is straight from his own Autobiography as he describes it….so unless Pond was a liar or stretched the truth a little, it if probably fair to say that he did indeed score that Famous First UofM TD as he claims on his long distance TD run, where he jumped into and ran east thru the bleachers, then jumped over the head of the defenders to the ground for that first famous TD !!!!! Amazing stuff….Below is straight from the Pond Autobography……and i’ll still keep my framed IK Pond autographed Gov’t postcard and 1879 individual & team photo hanging in my M Man Cave claiming to be the only chap with with such a framed piece…..

    ***Pond had the honor of scoring the first touchdown in Michigan football history, though he did not self-identify as much of a football player.

    Pond recalled the milestone touchdown run in his autobiography, which involved running over bleachers and vaulting his tacklers like a superhero:

    “I am not a modern footballist (sic) if indeed I were ever any kind of footballist. I played only for the fun of it! … My touchdown was made towards the end of the first half and involved a long distance run to where the ball must be grounded directly behind and between the goal posts … To Avoid being tackled I was forced to mount the bleachers and run eastward along them until I was opposite the goal when I stopped suddenly and — fearing that a touchdown in the bleachers would not count– jumped over the heads of my pursuers to the ground.”

  4. @DDMich
    Dennis, thanks. I’m not disputing that Pond said he scored first (I talked about this in this post: http://mvictors.com/?p=7979 ). It’s just that more accounts of that game are popping up on the Bentley site and they are a little light on Pond’s role in that first score (and definitely don’t mention his spectacular gallop). Either way, it’s fun stuff to talk about and Pond had an amazing life.

  5. Probably should have said “reportedly scored the first TD.” I’m aware of the contra-evidence, but I don’t think it’s definitive. Until more is unearthed, I have to give Pond the benefit of the doubt. Regardless, it’s a great story, and more to the point, his ties to the Union make it fascinating.

  6. By the way, what happened to the ability to log in to a commenter profile? Am I missing something?

  7. This goes to show that the terms “Michigan Man” and “Michigan Men” predate Bo by at least a little while. Any idea how far back it goes?

  8. Is it possible that Pond scored in a different game, and that the record has been misremembered?