Make an Ordinary Brand Fancy: Send It to College

The art of co-opting the Ivy League

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Nobody’s sure where the term originated. One story holds that in 1935 eight college athletic teams—Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania—decided to form an exclusive football league. Another account roots the appellation in 1933 when New York Herald Tribune sports writer Stanley Woodward used the term “ivy college” to denote these proud old schools where Hedera helix grows on the stone walls.

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