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Evolu

"Oh, Evolu" was a phrase heard frequently on campus as the academic year came to an end, and underclasswomen prepared to say goodbye to their comfortable place in the campus hierarchy. The phrase most certainly came from the Stepsinging song "Evolu," which marvels at how Evolu (short for evolution) can transform an "embryonic mass" of students into a brand-new class that's one year older and wiser. 

Not much is known about the origins of the song, but the first record of "Evolu" appears in archival records as early as 1919. A copy of that year's Wellesley news contains a short song set to the tune of "Eveline" that appears to be an early rendition of the song: 

 

The song was printed under the newspaper's "Parliament of Fools" section, which often featured short poems and bits of humor - the funny pages of the times. The song may have made use of existing lingo among students; "Evolu" was often used as a shorthand for the concept of evolution and the passing of time in publications like the Legenda and Wellesley News, as seen here: 

1931 Wellesley News

1950 Legenda

1946 Wellesley News

Although "Oh Evolu" originally appeared in a less than serious context, it quickly caught on as a favorite and eventually went on to be performed at Commencement, where it was featured as the final song in the processional parade for several years- a fitting place for a song about the transformative nature of Wellesley. 

Click here to return to the Stepsinging home page.

Click play below to listen to Evolu

Lyrics 

Oh!
Oh Evolu!
Oh Evolu!
There is nothing in the world you cannot do
You took a monkey and you made him to a man
Long since, 'tis true
But now you've brought a greater phenomenon to pass
You've taken this first-year class, an embryonic mass
Transformed it by a miracle, into a sophomore class!
Oh!
Oh Evolu!
Oh Evolu!
There is nothing in the world you cannot do
You took a monkey and you made him to a man
Long since, 'tis true
But now you've brought a greater phenomenon to pass
You've taken this sophomore class, an embryonic mass
Transformed it by a miracle, into a junior class!
Oh!
Oh Evolu!
Oh Evolu!
There is nothing in the world you cannot do
You took a monkey and you made him to a man
Long since, 'tis true
But now you've brought a greater phenomenon to pass
You've taken this junior class, an embryonic mass
Transformed it by a miracle, into a senior class!
Oh!
Oh Evolu!
Oh Evolu!
There is nothing in the world you cannot do
You took a monkey and you made him to a man
Long since, 'tis true
But now you've brought a greater phenomenon to pass
You've taken this senior class, an embryonic mass
Transformed it by a miracle, into an alumnae class!

The other "Oh Evolu"

Interestingly, another poem entitled "Oh Evolu" appeared just four years later in the "Parliament of Fools" column. The poem has no connection to the wistful remarks found in the Stepsong and focuses instead on the annoyance of mosquitoes on campus.