Treasure/The Keefe Armor

The Keefe ArmorEvery issue, we invite one member of the college community to share their delight in an object found on campus. Here Dan Lukes, assistant athletics director for athletics communications, speaks to a suit of armor with a storied history.

The knight is in storage at the moment but he used to stand in the lobby of the old Schuldes Sports Center. It always looked as if he was standing sentry there. He was a fighter, and athletics has long been associated with the image of a charging knight. To me it was always nice to have that tie-in.

Back in the 1950s, someone stole the armor and, for weeks, we’d get postcards from all around the world about the knight’s travels. The suit showed up again a few weeks later, refurbished and oiled, and I think that’s when the helmet got its plume, too.

Father Anselm Keefe purchased the suit, which had been piecemealed together over time. The label specifies: “Early 17th-century Flemish close helmet of good form and condition; a breastplate formed from an early 17th-century backplate of European origin; a pair of 19th-century reproduction tassels; a good early 17th-century backplate with associated culet; a fine pair of Italian arm defenses dating from the last quarter of the 16th century, together with their original gauntlets and complete leg defenses en suite. In very good condition with minor rivets replaced and some leathers restored.”

Jan. 15, 2021