Skip to Main Content
Archives & Special Collections (ASC)

History of the Cardinal Bird: The First Birds

A history of the evolution of the University of Louisville's athletics mascot, known as the Cardinal Bird or Louie. Covers the development of the costume used for in-person appearances as well as the Cardinal Bird's depiction in print.

The First Birds

The first person known to have donned a Cardinal Bird costume was T. Lee Adams. He wore a cloth costume created by Frances Goldsmith, a Home Economics faculty member, in 1953.

This image dates from 1955, and may document this first costume - or it may be a later iteration. 

Cardinal Bird in costume, with cheerleaders, 1955 Thoroughbred yearbook
Image credit: 1955 Thoroughbred Yearbook, Archives & Special Collections, University of Louisville