The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States

Etienne Benson

Teaching the Article

Exercise 5: “Scramble a Nut?”

Illustration by Laurence Freeman Peck ’04, “Hi, Mister! Scramble a Nut?” Harvard Lampoon, December 17, 1903/Harvard University ArchivesSquirrels may have provided opportunities to celebrate the extension of charity to the weak and vulnerable, but they could also be used to reinforce existing hierarchies and even to help exclude certain people (and animals) from the community. Squirrels arrived on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sometime in the 1890s. Within a few years they were being fed regularly by students and were provided with nest-boxes and food by the university. In a 1903 cartoon in the Harvard Lampoon, a student named Laurence Freeman Peck linked attitudes toward the squirrels to attitudes toward the poor local boys derogatorily known as “muckers.”



  1. Laurence Freeman Peck, “Hi Mister! Scramble a Nut?,” Harvard Lampoon, Dec. 17, 1903, p. 121, available at Harvard Magazine:
    Local copy of image (JPG)