You’ve read about funny college sports mascots, but have you ever seen a purple cow? Meet Ephelia, the Williams College purple cow. Back in 1865, two young women at Williams College in Massachusetts wanted to make sure that the school’s baseball team had an official team color before they faced Harvard in the intercollegiate champion series. They bought purple ribbons for the team, which won the title. One of the young women went on to be Lady Randolph Spencer Churchill, the mother of Winston Churchill.
As for the cow, that’s still a bit of a mystery. One theory has it that when dairy cows grazed ay sunset in a valley not far from the college, they took on a purplish tinge from the nearby Berkshire Mountains. The name Ephelia was selected in a contest sponsored by a local radio station in 1952.