Nothing gets the heart of a college grad pumping like the song of their school. An ideal gift for the collegiate alumni who has everything? How about a vintage book of songs from their alma mater. The books typically include both the sheet music and the lyrics for all the songs.
The vintage Cornell Songs published in 1915 includes All Round the World Cornell, Hail Thou in Majesty Cornell, The Cornell Cheer, Cornell Victorious and many more, including the school’s “Alma Mater” or official song of “Cornell,” which predates the current “Far above the Cayuga’s Waters.”
The 1902 published Harvard Songs includes a collection of 27 songs (including the sheet music) sung at Harvard including “Johnny Harvard” and “Fair Harvard”. Selected Songs Sung at Harvard College from 1862 to 1866 was one of the earliest song books published and dates from 1866. It also includes “The Marseillaises,” which was later changed to “On to Victory” and is a football fight song. It was originally written by Bill Reid, who was football coach in 1901. He was jealous of the fact that Princeton and Yale had football songs and approached the head of the Harvard Glee Club, Paul Dillingham to write one.
The 1905 Decennial of Stanford Song includes words and music of the “football, farce, drinking and other songs of Stanford University Some include songs that would no longer be politically correct. Stanford’s song book includes The Drinking Song, Down with California, Stanford Mandalay, Chin Chin Chinaman, Stanford Red and many more. The book also contains a history of the evolution of the songs and trace how they came into being in the University’s early years.
Stanford’s song book also contains nice hand-drawn illustrations that compliment the themes of some songs, such as the one below which patronizes the University of California.
Songs of Western Colleges published in 1902 includes the University of Chicago, Michigan and Stanford University songs such as “Hail, Sanford, Hail!”, “A Football Song – Leland Stanford University”, “John D. Rockefeller – University of Chicago”.
Princeton’s song book is titled Carmina Princetonia was first produced in 1869 and takes its name from Carmina Burana, an ancient satirical song book. It is believed that the Carmina Burana contained the first “drinking songs.” Princeton’s book includes the “soul-stirring songs Old Nassau and The Triangle Song which no Princeton man ever forgets or wants to forget.”
What is the earliest college song? It is hard to say definitively, however, “Hail Columbia” would be a good choice. Written by John Hopkinson, Class of 1786 at the University of Pennsylvania. The song played an important part in rallying support around President Washington during a serious political disturbance.
We have a nice collection of vintage song books for sale on our website: