Category Archives: Tools

New Swim Shoes

General Information about Item:

  • Material Folklore – Tools
  • Conceptual Folklore – Superstition
  • Conversion Superstition
  • Contagious Magic
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Informant: John Hall
  • Date Collected: 02-19-2018

Informant Data:

  • John Hall was born in Manhattan, New York on July 15, 1998. John lived in New York City for a couple years before moving to New Jersey. John started swimming when he turned 11, because his younger brother has started swimming and he wanted to join. He is a sophomore at Dartmouth, and he swims sprint freestyle.

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: In many sports, and life in general, people will do or wear things that they think can help. Even though the superstition may do nothing, it gives the person a sense of reassurance and confidence.
  • Social Context: The data was collected in a one on one interview in Baker-Berry library. John described a superstition and tradition he did with a friend on the days of swim meets. The folklore was created to help bring good luck before the meet. He started doing his superstition in 7th grade, and has continued to do it since then.


  • John would wear the same shoes for every meet until he did bad. Once he did bad, he would go purchase new shoes to wear for meets until he did bad in the new shoes. He has done this with his friend for years.

Image of Flip Flops (Deck Shoes):


  • “Starting in 7th grade, my friend and I bought the same flip flops for a summer swim meet. We wore them to every meet until we did bad in the meet, then we would switch to wearing a different pair of shoes on the day of the meet. As soon as we did bad, we would switch to a new pair, to help bring good luck. The bad shoes would still be worn, just not during swim meets. “

Collector’s Comments:

  • I thought it would be expensive to maintain, but deck shoes are only a couple of bucks.

Collector’s Name: Matthew Luciano

Tags/Keywords: Material Folklore, Tool, Conceptual Folklore, Conversion Superstition, Contagious Magic, Swimming

Crampons (Brittany Champagne)

General Information about Item:

  • Genre: Material Lore- Equipment
  • Language: English
  • Country where Item is from: USA
  • Informant: Katie Harris
  • Date Collected: 11-2-17

Informant Data:

  • Katie Harris is a member of the class of 2019 at Dartmouth.  She is from central Illinois, specifically Lincoln.  Katie described her home as super rural and full of many families. Illonois to her is a “typical mid-west state,” the families are very close knit and tend to stay put rather than have a lot of new families moving in. She is from an area surrounded by a lot of farming and a love for the outdoors. Both her parents introduced her to hiking early on. When she was 3 years old and didn’t have a choice her parents would strap her to their back and go on hikes. A family vacation in the Harris household always seemed to involve hiking and led to Katie’s love for the activity.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: Crampons are necessary attire for all hikers attempting to hike in areas where ice and poor traction may be found.  The gear is typically wore prior to reaching difficult terrain but may be stored in a backpack until they are needed.
  • Cultural Context: Weather has always been an unpredictable factor for many hikers.  Preparedness is a key to backpacking as is wearing the proper attire for safety and health purposes.  Winter months require different attire than summer months do.  The ice and snow in the winter makes it necessary for proper shoes to be worn.  An avid hiker understands the consequences that can stem from deficits in equipment or attire.  Thus, hikers understand the reasoning behind using certain gear, such as crampons, and why they are so important for backpacking.


  • Crampons are used  to gain traction, especially on ice.
  • Used for safety purposes but can also be dangerous if not used correctly
  • You must wear “gators” with them
    • Gators are thick sleeves that go up to your knee to prevent crampons from tearing your pants

Informant’s Comments:

  • “In the winter you need an ice ax and crampon’s, but you have to wear gators with them to keep crampons from tearing actual pants.  Crampons can add a dangerous element to hiking if you are not careful.  When going down a hill specifically, you have to be careful to watch your footing; slipping with crampons can cause you to break your leg when the bottom catches the ground”

Collector’s Name: 

Brittany Champagne


  • equipment, crampons, gators


Red Social Cup


1. Title: Red Social Cup

2. Informant info:

Chris Boone is an student at Dartmouth, part of the class of 2017. He is from Trumbull, Connecticut, and is studying government. He was a trip leader for some of the incoming freshmen, including me. He tends to eat at foco on most days.

3. Type of lore (Genre and Sub-genre): Material, Tools

4. Language: English

5. Country of Origin: Hanover, New Hampshire, United States

6. Social / Cultural Context:

Class of 1953 Commons is one of the dining facilities known at Dartmouth. Many refer to it as ‘Foco’ for short, a phrase adopted by all students. At this dining hall, you pay to enter and get an unlimited, all-you-can-eat meal. Often you can see sports teams and fraternity/sorority members sitting together, or floor mates and close friends sitting in groups and talking about their day. But sometimes, there people who go to Foco solo, although it is known for being a very social space on campus. Today, Foco has only one kind of cup, a clear plastic one in fact. However, in the past, many claim that Foco had a red plastic cup, a cup used to solve the problem of solo dining.

7. Associated File: N/A

8. Transcript:

“The red social cup was designed to be a means of eating with people even if you went to foco alone. The way it worked was that after you sat down at a table alone, you would grab one of the red cups instead of a clear cup, and sit at an empty table. Then, other people who went to Foco alone would see you sitting with the red cup, and would then join you.”

9. Informant’s comments:

“Grabbing a red social cup was a bold move…. and it was unsure if people actually did it or not. To be honest, I might’ve tried to do it if it still existed, sometimes you just need the friendliness. Always gotta have someone to sit with at Foco.”

10. Collector’s comments:

Since the use of red cups in Foco have been discontinued for some time now, there is no way of knowing how widely this practice was used, or if it was used at all. I believe it was one of those things where people may have tried it for fun or just to see if it would happen, but i doubt that it was taken very seriously.

11. Tags/Keywords: Red Social Cup, Foco, Items, DDS, Class of ’53 Commons