Guide to the Hammer and Coffin National Honorary Society, Chaparral Chapter, Records SC0228

University Archives staff
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford 94305-6064


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Language of Material: Undetermined
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title: Hammer and Coffin National Honorary Society, Chaparral Chapter, records
creator: Hammer and Coffin National Honorary Society
creator: Hammer and Coffin National Honorary Society. Chaparral Chapter
Identifier/Call Number: SC0228
Physical Description: 11 Linear Feet
Date (inclusive): 1906-1987

Custodial History note

Administrative transfer, Hammer and Coffin Society, 1980; Gift of Tristan Navarro, 2016.

Information about Access

The materials are open for research use.

Ownership & Copyright

Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.

Cite As

Hammer and Coffin National Honorary Society, Chaparral Chapter, Records (SC0228). Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Associated Materials

Original issues of the Chaparral from the first publication on October 5, 1899 to the present are housed separately in the Stanford University Archives. Issues are both bound and unbound. Articles in Stanford publications relating the history of the Society can also be found in the archives.


Missing Title

1899, October 5th. Chaparral
1905. Delmar Reynolds, editor of the Chaparral and president of the Press Club, has the idea to form a society to be known as the Hammer and Coffin Society. He purchases a sledge hammer in San Francisco which he has silver plated. A ring is carved in the handle and the names of the Chaparral staff are engraved. A tradition is born.
1906, April 17th. The Society is officially organized on the eve of the great San Francisco Earthquake by Morris Oppenheim and the staff of the Chaparral. The purpose of the society is to embody the eternal spirit of "the Farm's" literary and artistic talents and to record the wit and humor of the campus. The motto of the society, "we outta sock'em with a hammer, toss'em in a coffin and seal'em away," predicts hard times ahead for students at the University of California at Berkeley.
1918, April. The Chappie goes overseas as Le Chaparral with a blue background cover featuring the "Old Boy" with hammer over shoulder wandering through the trenches. Le Chaparral was delivered to the Stanford soldiers at the front.
1914-1918. The Hammer and Coffin Society goes national. The society creates a national collegiate humor organization. Twenty-five chapters in the United States and Canada are begun with names such as the Cal Pelican, the Arizona Kitty Kat, the Northwestern Purple Parrot and the Duke Duke n' Duchess.
1930. Chaparral editor Barney Gould and Ram's Head (the student drama group) President Paul Speegle organize "Theatre Fund Follies" a gaietes-review to raise money for the Memorial Auditorium. $5000 is contributed, part of which came from the review.
1935. Chaparral published a special "Celebrities Issue," collecting material such as a drawing from Walt Disney, an insulting article from Robert Benchley, a sweet letter from Shirley Temple, and a formal reply from Mrs. Roosevelt's secretary explaining why she couldn't contribute.
1935-1940. The "Now That" club composed of Chaparral and Pelican alumni is organized by Stanford alumnus Milt Hagen. The most memorable meeting is addressed by Somerset Maugham who is made an honorary member. World War II terminates the club's activities.
1941, October 2. The Hammer and Coffin Society's 35th Anniversary is celebrated by current members and alumni at the San Francisco Press Club.
1943, Feb. The Chaparral Staff contact alumni family about delivery of the special "Serviceman's Issue." " a Stanford man in the service, this Chaparral will be mighty meeting an old roommate or fraternity sure and send this copy to him today..."
1943, Spring. The Chaparral magazine is suspended and the charter for the Hammer and Coffin Society is revoked for business malpractice on the part of a staff member and an alumnus. The society, the charter, and the magazine are restored the following autumn.
1951, May. The Chaparral is again suspended for one issue, the "Purple Ape Crash Comics," for its similarities to Playboy Magazine. The University requires that the staff submit a list of conduct rules for determining good taste in editorial matters for approval before permission to publish again is granted.
1954, October. Chaparral editor Tom Timberlake contacts Hammer and Coffin Trust Fund Member, Northcutt Ely, about funds available for construction of a Chaparral Building.
1955, May. The Arizona Kitty Kat contacts the Chaparral about reactivating the Hammer and Coffin Society national organization established in 1914.
1958, April 30. The Chaparral spoof's Sports Illustrated with their version of the national magazine Sports Frustrated.
1961, May. The Chaparral and editor Brad Efron are suspended for the rest of the academic year for the Chaparral's Playboy parodie "Layboy" (Brad Efron later returns to campus Professor of Statistics and wins the MacArthur Award).
1966, April. The 60th Anniversary of the Hammer and Coffin Society is celebrated at the Leopard Cafe in San Francisco by current members and alumni.
1967, December. The Chaparral format reflecting changing interests of the student body. Additions to the magazine include articles featuring political and social issues, interviews, political cartoons, poetry, and film reviews.
1968, September. The Chaparral special election issue includes an article describing the Chicago Democratic Convention and the anti-Vietnam War protests held during the summer and an interview with Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver. This is the last Chaparral to print the copyright statement "published for and officially acknowledged as the humor magazine for the Associated Students of Stanford University."
1970, March. Michael Sweeney, editor of Chaparral and president of the Hammer and Coffin Society, tells an audience in Dinkelspiel Auditorium, "we'll never be able to drive ROTC from the campus if we just sit and talk about it. We have exhausted the normal procedures. You can't have an ROTC program if you don't have an ROTC building."
1971, September. The Chaparral breaks tradition as Tina Swent becomes the first woman editor and the monthly magazine becomes a weekly newspaper.
1973, September. The traditional Chaparral returns with an advertisement stating "the Old Boy is back. The satirical scourge of the Stanford scene is rising from the dead."
1976, April. The 70th Anniversary of the Hammer and Coffin Society is celebrated once again at the Leopard Cafe in San Francisco. Alumni and current members attend as new members are initiated.
1978, April. Leslie Mintz becomes the first woman to be initiated into the Hammer & Coffin Society. The initiation results in a schism among alumni, some of whom feel the organization should remain fraternal.
1980, May. Seven members of the Hammer & Coffin Society plant a fake photograph of themselves holding bowling balls and trophies on the front page of the Stanford Daily. The caption under the photo reads "Tragedy Strikes Bowling Team...None Spared." The hoax results in outcry from the Stanford Community.
1981, April. More than 115 Chaparral alumni attend the Hammer & coffin 75th Anniversary Reunion at the San Francisco Press Club.
1982, October. The Chaparral reacts to the bankruptcy of the campus concert program by bringing the Grateful Dead to Stanford. The two sold-out shows in Frost Amphitheater result in the birth of a new concert program (The Concert Network) and in an annual tradition of Grateful Dead concerts.
1985, April. A slate of four members of the Hammer & Coffin Society is elected to the ASSU Council of Presidents. Three of the four Presidents, Michael Collins, Leslie Leland, and Tim Quirk, donate their entire salaries to the establishment of the Bristow Adams Trust, an endowment for the Chaparral magazine.
1987, March. The Stanford Chaparral collaborates with the Harvard Lampoon to release an 80-page joint issue on both coasts. It is the first collaboration of the country's two oldest humor magazines.


Hammer and Coffin Society Records, 1906-1987, document the development of the society from a humor society to a national student organization. The materials are arranged in nine series by type of document and include correspondence, minutes, reports, records, scrapbooks, photographs, and prints. The majority of the collection concerns the period between 1944 and 1965. Whenever possible the collection was arranged according to the order in which it arrived.
The correspondence includes business and personal letters which are arranged by in-coming and out-going sub-series. The reports include documents from the auditor, the business manager, the circulation manager, and the editor. These are separated by type and arranged chronologically. There are also financial records including bank and budget statements which are arranged chronologically. The business records include statements of copyright and drafts of the society constitution. The scrapbooks contain the society's minutes (c. 1940-1960), newspaper clippings and correspondence of importance. The photographs describe staff and alumni and are arranged chronologically. The miscellaneous papers include materials from anniversary banquets, plays, programs, scripts, and sketches.
The collection provides an excellent view into the workings of a student magazine. Issues concerning copyright, distribution, production cost, and accountability to the administration of the university are documented. The materials also reflect the student body as their attitudes and concerns change over time.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

College wit and humor.
The Chaparral.
College student newspapers and periodicals -- California.
Hammer and Coffin National Honorary Society
Pfeifer, Jules.
Hammer and Coffin National Honorary Society. Chaparral Chapter
Hammer and Coffin National Honorary Society
Steinhem, Gloria.


Correspondence Series I

box 1, folder 1

Correspondence, Incoming A-G

General note

[Includes letter from ASSU, January 1940regarding use of Hammer as symbol, removed from H & C scrapbook, 1930's through 1940's, p.84]
box 1, folder 2

Correspondence, Incoming H-M

box 1, folder 3

Correspondence, N-Y

box 1, folder 4

Correspondence, Outgoing 1916-1975

box 1, folder 5

Correspondence, Chaparral Vendors, 1957-1958, 1961

box 1, folder 6

Correspondence, Copyright

box 1, folder 7

Correspondence, Feature Article "$125,000 Grandstand Play" [see Series VIII, Photographs, for more information]

box 1, folder 8

Correspondence, Hammer and Coffin Trust Fund, 1954-1965

box 1, folder 9

Correspondence, Libel and Slander Insurance, 1960

box 1, folder 10

Correspondence, National Distribution of Chaparral

box 1, folder 11

Correspondence, Serviceman's Issue, February 1943


Minutes Series II

box 1, folder 1

Minutes, [Minutes can also be found in Series VII (Scrapbooks)]. 1947, 1948


Reports Series III

box 1, folder 1

Audit Report, 1946, 1947, 1950-1952, 1955-1958

box 1, folder 2

Business Manager's Report, 1946-1947, 1948-1949, 1955-1956, 1956-1957, 1957-1958, 1958-1959, 1959-1960, 1966

box 2, folder 3

Circulation Report, 1944-1945, 1951-1952

box 2, folder 4

Circulation Report, 1954-1955, 1955-1956

box 2, folder 5

Circulation Report, 1956-1957, 1957-1958, 1964-1965

box 2, folder 6

Special Circulation Report, 1960

box 2, folder 7

Editor's Report, 1958-1959, 1959-1960, 1964-1965


Financial Records Series IV

box 2, folder 1

ASSU Publications Fund 1956-1957 through 1959-1960

box 2, folder 2

Bank Account Statements: Chaparral, Hammer and Coffin Building Fund, Hammer and Coffin Improvement Fund, Hammer and Coffin Special Fund 1960-1961

box 2, folder 3

Budget Statements: 1947, 1957-1958, 1958-1959, 1959-1960, 1960-1961, 1962-1963

box 2, folder 4

Itemized list of photographic costs, 1959-1960

box 2, folder 5

Reserve Trust Fund Agreement, 1937

General note

(removed from scrapbook: H & C 1930's & 1940's, p.41)
box 2, folder 6

Trial Balance, 1963-1964, 1964-1965, 1965-1966, 1966-1967


Business Records Series V

box 2, folder 1

Advertising, Chaparral: rate card accounts receivable 1959, 1960-1961

box 2, folder 2

Business Manager's Office Inventory, 1955-1956, 1957-1958, 1958-1959, 1962-1963, 1963-1964, 1964-1965

box 2, folder 3

Constitution, 1906, 1937, 1952, 1953, 1960, 1961, 1987

General note

[Amendment II, Article 3, Section A, 1953 was removed from H & C scrapbook 1943 through 1960's, p.18; Amendment II, Article 3, Section A, was removed from H & C scrapbook 1943 through 1960's, p. 118]
box 2, folder 4

Copyright Certificates

box 2, folder 5

National Hammer and Coffin Society: Constitution memos 1955, 1961, 1903-1965

box 2, folder 6

Notes from the editor regarding Chaparral suspension, May 1951

General note

[removed frm H & C Scrapbook, 1943-1960's ]
box 2, folder 7

Subscription and Advertising materials circa 1900-1910


Miscellaneous Series VI

box 3, folder 1

Anniversary Banquets: Date unknown, Anniversary, 19th Anniversary Banquet 35th Anniversary 40th Anniversary 50th Anniversary [additional information regarding 50th Anniversary Banquet can be found in Series 7, Scrapbooks] 1925, 1941, 1946, 1956

box 3, folder 2

Anniversary Banquets: 60th Anniversary Halfway Between 60th and 70th Anniversary 70th Anniversary 1966, 1973, 1976,

box 3, folder 3

Anniversary Banquets: 75th Anniversary 76th Anniversary 77th Anniversary [1983], 78th Anniversary 80th Anniversary 1981, [1982], 1984, 1986

box 3, folder 4

Anniversary Publications: 30th Anniversary Quad Quips, 75th Anniversary The Stanford Alumni Almanac, 1936, 1981, January 1981

box 3, folder 5

Chaparral Porno Issue "Craparral: Life Begins at 40" April 17th, 1946

box 3, folder 6

Lists: distribution dorm exchange list, Former Chaparral Editors and Business Managers, Staff List by Volume and summer addresses, subscriptions paid, vendors, volumes 1963, 1964, 1965-1966, 1949-1965

box 3, folder 7

Miscellaneous: designs for letterhead, notes for humorous stories

box 3, folder 8

Newspaper clippings

box 3, folder 9

Plays: program, scripts

box 3, folder 10

Sketch for Proposed Chaparral Building, 1938

box 3, folder 11

Initiation Ceremony, "Ritual of Hammer and Coffin Society," November 1, 1916

box 3, folder 12

"Sermon on Humor," by Stephen Leacock, circa 1922

box 3, folder 13

'Tis Better," article relating the history of the Hammer and Coffin Society, published in the Stanford Illustrated Review, February 1939

box 3, folder 14

Chaparral "Album of Cartoons"

box 3, folder 15

Campus Map spoof, 1976

box 3, folder 16

Pre-Reg Packet spoof

box 3, folder 17

Advertising leaflets

box 3, folder 18

Stanford Chaparral Publishing Support Trust, Articles of Corporation, undated copy


Scrapbooks Series VII

box 4

The Old Boy's Scrapbook--For the Edification of Posterity, April 1927 to June 1928

Scope and Contents note

Subjects include:
  • newspaper articles regarding the Chaparral
  • subscription applications
  • correspondence with alumni, includes letterhead of period
  • correspondence/memos with contributers
  • 1923/1924advertisements for Chaparral
  • H & C Christmas Number, June 1927
  • photographs
box 4

Volume XXX Jack Shoup Editor, Dick Holt Business Manager 1928-1929,

Scope and Contents note

Subjects include:
  • -Chaparral magazine covers
  • -advertisements
  • -correspondence with alumni
  • -correspondence with contributors
  • -newspaper articles regarding Chaparral
  • -subscription forms
  • -minutes of the 1928-1929Annual Convention of the Western Association of College Comics
  • -photographs: H & C staff, 1928-1929
box 4

Hammer and Coffin Minutes from 30's and 40's (1938-1941)

Scope and Contents note

Subjects include:
  • -responsibility of Secretary and Treasurer, p.1
  • -Business Trust and Charter, 1937-1939,p.1-41
  • -responsibility of Managing Editor, p. 28
  • -ASSU Constitution & By-Laws, 1943,p.36
  • -minutes, p.55-71
  • -funds, p.68-70
  • -amendments to Business Trust & Charter, p.73-74
  • -annual meeting minutes, p.79-81
  • -list of members since 1899, p.97 to end
box 5

Hammer and Coffin from 1940's forward into 1960's (1942-1967)

Scope and Contents note

Subjects include:
  • -minutes, p.1-65
  • -correspondence concerning suspension, W.J. Sterling, Winbigler, p.43
  • -letters to the "Old Boy"
  • -memo from Editor regarding the moral tone of Chaparral & Administration in Volume 51; concerning possible suspension.
  • -operating statement, 1950-1951,p.75
  • -constitution
  • -ASSU Publication Board By-Laws
  • -newspaper clippings regarding suspension of Chappie and Editor, the 1961"Layboy" issue.
box 6

50th Anniversary Banquet, 1956

Scope and Contents note

Subjects include:
  • -correspondence
  • -invitations
box 7

[Scrapbook 1973-1980]

Scope and Contents note

Subjects include:
  • -publication promotionals/advertisements
  • -newspaper clippings regarding Chaparral Radio Show and Chaparral Quiz
  • -Hammer & Coffin campaign slate for the Council of Presidents (1976)
  • -article regarding Chappie sweep of ASSU Senate race (1976)
  • -fake campus map distributed to incoming freshmen during orientation (1976)
box 7

[Scrapbook 1980-1982]

Scope and Contents note

Subjects include:
  • -correspondence regarding the New Yorker magazine publication of Chaparral cartoon in December 1980 issue
  • -newspaper clippings regarding ASSU concert program conflicts
  • -correspondence from Newsweek magazine's College Digest regarding inclusion of Chaparral articles
  • -photographs of Chaparral staff, 1980-1981
  • -newspaper clipping regarding Chaparral alum William Clark, deputy secretary of state under Ronald Reagan
  • -newspaper clippings regarding Chaparral spoof of San Francisco Chronicle's "Datebook" and the CBS television network's "Dallas" with "Who Shot RR," (Ronald Reagan) controversy gets considerable local press
  • -newspaper clippings regarding celebration of 75th Anniversary
box 7

[Scrapbook 1982-1987]

Scope and Contents note

Subjects include:
  • -newspaper clippings regarding formation of concert network
  • -articles regarding Chaparral "Mickey Mouse and the clock tower prank"
  • -advertisements for Chaparral
  • -newspaper clippings regarding Chaparral alums Brad Efron and Doodles Weaver
  • -campaign literature and articles regarding the victorious Hammer and Coffin Council of President's slate (1985)
  • -history of the Great Sacred Hammer Robbery
  • -articles regarding joint issue of the Stanford Chaparral and the Harvard Lampoon in 1987

Photographs Series VIII

General note

[Names and dates are available on some images. Some photographs are also stored in scrapbooks]
box 8, folder 1

Chaparral Staff, Alumni, and Western Association of College Comics, 1919 and ca. 1927-1950's,

Physical Description: black and white prints
box 8, folder 2

Feature Article "$125,000 Grandstand Play" 1960,

Physical Description: black and white prints
box 8, folder 3

60th Anniversary Banquet, Leopard Cafe in San Francisco, April 1966,

Physical Description: color slides
box 8, folder 4

Chaparral Staff and Alumni, circa 1969-1980

Physical Description: black and white prints
box 8, folder 5

Chaparral Staff and Alumni, circa 1970s

Physical Description: color prints
box 8, folder 6

78th Anniversary Reunion, Spring 1984,

Physical Description: color prints
box 9

35mm color negatives describing Chaparral Staff, circa 1970s

Scope and Contents note

Many of the images appear to have been at the Leopard Cafe in San Francisco, CA. There is also a black and white line negative describing the Chaparral billhead.

General note

Also available is a 9xl2 inch black and white group portrait portraying the Hamper and Coffin Society in 1921.All members are identified in this photograph. This image is stored in the oversize photographs collection area under the Society's name.

Prints Series IX

Scope and Contents note

One 24x32 inch document outlining the purposes and policies of the trust for the Stanford Chaparral Chapter of the Hammer and Coffin Society. Dated as approved by the Stanford Board of Trustees, September 23, 1937.This item is stored with the oversize art prints as Print # 223.

Additional Material Accession ARCH-2017-064

Box 1

"Layboy" photographs, cartoons, copy, and advertising 1965

Box 1

Hammer and Coffin Reunion photograph album 2006

Box 1

Bart Simpson Senatorial Campaign for the ASSU scrapbook 1990

Box 1

Chaparral scrapbook circa 1980s


Additional Material ARCH-2017-169


Hammer and Coffin National Honorary Society, Chaparral Chapter, Trust (signed parchment) ARCH-2017-169_01 1937 Dec 10


Additional Material Accession ARCH-2017-175

Box 1

Hammer and Coffin Initiation Ceremony


Additional Material Accession ARCH-2017-181

Box 1

"Alumni of Stanford! Do You Know That--" [letter sent to Alumni] 1927 Aug 1