A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 21, 2007
Aggie Jokes

When did Aggie jokes start to be told? Texas A&M is a distinguished institution; its students are certainly smart. Why all the jokes?

There’s a rivalry between the University of Texas and Texas A&M, but this doesn’t entirely explain why everyone tells Aggie jokes and few people tell Longhorn jokes.

Aggie jokes became legendary because of two events in 1963 and 1965. In 1963, Texas A&M started to admit women. The University of Texas (already co-ed) and others saw humor in this situation. In 1965, the book 101 Aggie Jokes was published. The book would go through several reprintings and new editions.

Many “Aggie jokes” are similar to “Polish jokes.” No one really believes, for example, that it takes more than one Aggie to screw in a lightbulb. Although Texas A&M is now co-ed, the Aggie joke (mainly about a male country bumpkin engineering student who can’t spell) is often still told about an old stereotype.


8 March 1943, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “College Humor,” section 2, pg. 2:
The editor of the Rockdale Reporter recently remarked that he couldn’t find a joke in the A.&M. Battalion “tame enough to reprint.” Trying to be helpful, this columne opined that this was doubtless due to the fact that the Aggies are an all-male outfit and that their sense of humor is as uninhibited as that of the Army. The editor of the Battalion, in a letter ot the Rockdale Reporter, makes it clear, however, that Aggie jokes are not conditioned on the fact that Texas A.&M. and the armed forces are working especially close together. “The jokes in the Aggie’s Battalion, according to its editor,” the Rockdale Reporter remarks, “are taken from other college magazines—and over 90 per cent of all other schools in this country are co-educational.”

28 April 1963, Billings (MT) Gazette, “CO-ED LTD.: Texas A&M to Admit Women,” pg. 9, cols. 2-4:
COLLEGE STATION, Tx. (UPI)—A wall of masculinity shielding Texas A&M College from the fair sex crumbled Saturday. Women students will be admitted on a limited basis to the “West Point of the Southwest” despite protests and threats from old grads.
(...)
New Jokes in Making
Graduates and students of the co-ed University of Texas, A&M’s arch rival, chortled with glee. A new rash of “Aggie” jokes was in the making.

28 April 1963, Corpus Christi (TX) Caller-Times, pg. 16, col. 2:
“I think that having girls there will detract from this tradition.

“Let’s keep A&M a quality school with a tougher curriculum and its fine tradition. I say this, and I have five daughters who would like to go to school there.”

He added with a touch of humor. “Besides, we’d lose all these Aggie jokes that seem to be so popular these days.”

3 May 1963, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 15, cols. 1-2:
It is a standing pastime in Texas to razz Aggies. Aggie jokes number in the thousands and a new unmerciful rash of puns, digs and innuendoes will accompany co-eds to the campus that is often called “Sing Sing on the Brazos (River.)”

21 November 1963, San Antonio (TX) Express and News, pg. 7S, col. 8:
BE IMMORTALIZED!
Submit Your AGGIE JOKES for
Publication with Credit in
AGGIE JOKE BOOK,
Second Edition
Write: Aggie Joke Book
Dept. KO11
c/o San Antonio News and Express

11 September 1964, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section 2, pg. 1:
Foldberg and his players have had their fill of the Aggie jokes which are so popular some places, particularly University of Texas parties.

10 February 1965, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Texas A&M Board Termed Ready for Changes” by Thomas E. Turner, section 2, pg. 11:
Persons close to the situation told The News that “with all the respect Texas A&M commands in most places, there is considerable misunderstanding and misinformation among too many of today’s young people, based on so-called ‘Aggie jokes’ and other matters. This isn’t helping our school, or many young people, to attain worthwhile goals.”

7 July 1965, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Paul Crume’s Big D,” section A, pg. 1:
He has an Aggie joke about why it takes three Aggies to pop popcorn. One, he says, has to hold the skillet while the other two shake the stove. 

23 July 1965, Denton (TX) Record-Chronicle, “Views” by Bill Rives, pg. 1, col. 1:
Texas A&M is a great institution, with a proud tradition of steady achievement. But somehow, the Aggies have become the butt of joke after joke after joke.

Precisely why, I don’t know. Most of the razzing was born in the field of athletics; it seems to me that it reached its summit (surely the volume of Aggie jokes can’t go higher!) in the last seven or eight years, when A&M’s football fortunes were low.
(...)
And why does it take three Aggies to change a light bulb on the ceiling? Because it takes one to hold the globe and two to turn the ladder.

5 November 1965, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “A Pointed Remark On Aggie Jokes,” section D, pg. 2:
It may be the change in the weather or perhaps it has something to do with sunspots but, for some reason, the State of Texas has in recent weeks been swept by gales of new Aggie jokes, However, a reaction may be setting in.

One indication was the huge billboard in San Angelo, pictured on The News’ front page, which says, “Tell a Joke About the University of Texas—a Public Service to the Texas Aggies.”

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: 101 Aggie jokes.
Corp Author(s): Gigem Press. 
Publication: Dallas, Gigem Press.
Year: 1965-
Description: v. 1- 1965-; v.; ill. 

26 December 1965, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section A, pg. 24:
Fun’s Fun, But Enough’s Enough
In Aggieland, Jokes Raise More Hackles Than Cakcles
By Thomas E. Turner

COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Some months ago the Association of Former Students of Texas A&M University agreed more or less officially to stamp out Aggie jokes.

As was freely predicted at the time, what they did was open a Pandora’s Box of new and revived Aggie jokes.

For many an Aggie, past and present, Aggie jokes rank in seriousness just below the situation in Viet Nam and the question of Maggies—female students.
(...)
MOST AGGIES considered them a form of envy, a point of pride. They fought back with barbed wit aimed at “Sips” (short for T-Sip, or Tea-sipper, any person unfortunate enough to enroll at the University of Texas) and Baptists, or Deacons, from Baylor University.

Of late, however, most Aggies view Aggie jokes with grim animosity. It is not wise to ask an Aggie, “What has 22 feet and lives in the cellar?”, and then supply the answer, “The Aggie football team!”, and slap one’s thigh in glee.

Some days ago The News carried an innocuous little feature story on the publication in Dallas, by a trio of advertising people of a booklet labeled “101 Aggie Jokes.” Mainly a compendium of some rather archaic jabs at the Aggies, it apparently was meant as something of a gag in itself.

It speedily attained a new stature when the Aggies reacted as though somebody had desecrated old Sol Ross’s statue on the campus.
(...)
Those who would ban Aggie joke books are overlooking something. For years the Aggies have been chuckling over such books produced by a good Aggie. Thousands of the books have been peddled on the campus.

They are the handiwork of Jim Earle of Jacksonville—now Dr. Jim Earle of the school’s own Engineering Graphics Department. In December, 1953, Earle’s cartoon character, “Cadet Slouch, the Aggies’ Aggie,” made his appearance in the school newspaper, The Battalion.

CADET SLOUGH then was a scrawny-necked, tousle-haired, cigar-chomping character. In the intervening years he has become slightly more slicked-up, but he still is a bumbling, troubled type who would not be greeted happily by any registrar.
(...)
In the 2,000 or so drawings by Earle, Aggies are portrayed drinking beer, swiping test papers, accumulating hotel towels, panting at pin-up pictures, and spending a considerable time in the “sack” (bed) or sleeping in class.

9 April 1967, Corpus Christi (TX) Caller, “LBJ Boosts ‘Aggie Jokes’ With LSD Pun,” pg. 7, cols. 1-2:
The President related that one Aggie asked another: “What do you think of LSD?” The other one replied: “I think he’s the best president we ever had.”
(...)
The Aggie joke came into prominence in the last two to three years through person-to-person repetition, billboards and collections in book form.
(...)
A former Corps member said the product is simply jokes long told on ethnic groups adapted to Aggie usage. A summer camp cadet from Indiana bore this out.

“Those aren’t Aggie jokes,” he claimed. “I’ve heard them about Poles in the Midwest for many years.”

19 October 1967, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section D, pg. 1:
“Aggie Jokes” Come Back Again Like Asian Flu
(...)
The book was, “Son of 101 Aggie Jokes.”

Sired by some Dallas trio (including one ex-Aggie) who brought out “101 Aggie Jokes” two years ago, the new 98c assault on good sense and decorum by The Gigem Press is now on sale.

The earlier volume—selling, it is claimed, even on the Texas A&M campus—went to about 25,000 customers.

2 September 1973, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section A, pg. 34:
Did You Hear the One About the Aggie Who...
(...)
The new paperback is Vol. 5 in a series launched in 1965, each a bit raunchier than the last, mirroring changing public taste in literature.
(...)
Vol. 5, titled Great-Great-Grandson of 101 Aggie Jokes,” will make its debut Tuesday at the Dallas Advertising League meeting in Hotel Adolphus.
(...)
The first book, “101 Aggie Jokes,” was conceived in 1965. The publishers had just returned from an advertising convention where the air was blue with Aggie stories.

Vol. 1 came off the press just before the 1965 Texas-A&M Thanksgiving Day football game, and it was a sellout. Vol. 1 had five printings.

Most AGGIE JOKES evolve from the absurd premise, which nobody really believes, that only unwashed half-wits got to A&M.
(...)
THERE’S A WHOLE folklore about how Aggie jokes began. Old-timers remember 1920 Aggie jokes.

“In 1963, when a gorgeous girl applied for admission to the then all-male school, the students protested with booes and hisses,” he said. “The Irish have always been the butt of jokes and don’t deserve it, but the Aggies asked for it.”

6 January 1975, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “He Learns About Aggie Jokes” by Earl Wilson, section D, pg. 3:
I learned about the Aggie jokes on a visit to Dallas. They’re running jokes about the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University. The big city boys are constantly poking fun at the farmer lads.

I’m a farm boy myself and understand that some of the Aggies don’t like those jokes. They’re a little bit like some of the Polish jokes that have been going around for years to the annoyance of Polish people.

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: Best of 606 Aggie jokes :
a collection of the best of the six volumes of 101 Aggie jokes and its descendents.
Publication: Dallas, Texas : Gigem Press,
Year: 1978

(OCLC WorldCat record)
Title: The Aggie cookbook :
recipes for laughter!
Author(s): Browder, Jim. 
Publication: Fort Worth, Tex. : Browder & Associates,
Year: 1981-

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