George’s Hatchet


Published for the 1902-03 school year, the first Washington University yearbook was given the title Hatchet in reference to the story of George Washington chopping down a cherry tree.

Look closely at the title page for the first issue to spot the cherry and hatchet motif.


Hatchet editors played on this theme in various years with illustrations and page decorations.


WU yearbooks were published most years between 1903 – 2012, and while a few alternate titles were used, the majority were titled in honor of George Washington’s fabled Hatchet.   A selection of early yearbooks are available in digital format, and a full set of all published yearbooks is available to researchers at University Archives.

Curious about why the University is named for the first President of the United States? Read more on the historical facts page

About the author

Miranda Rectenwald is Curator of Local History, Washington University Special Collections. More info.