The Wellesley Blue
The Wellesley Blue is a slow and stirring song that describes a Stepsinging tradition known as the changing of steps. The ardent lyrics were penned by Helene Kazanjian, Class of 1940, and arranged to music by Natalie L. Gordon, Class of 1938. While the song was not sung during the changing of the steps itself, it sets a poetic musical picture of the scene.
In an article from the 1942 Wellesley News titled "Classes Change Steps as '42 Sings Farewell," the year's step-changing is recounted:
"According to age-old rites, Tuesday, May 19th, the Senior class sang their farewell song on the Chapel steps before turning to walk four abreast up the hill to Green Court. After each class had sung its farewell song to '42, the Seniors sang the time honored "Step Song," dating from 1906. As the seniors march down the steps towards the Tower, members of the "Little Sister" class handed them bouquets of blue forget-me-nots. When the Seniors were in the Court, the Juniors moved to take their places, '44 moved up and '45 changed to the other side of the steps. Mildred Kramer '43, newly elected Song leader, took Lorna Cooke's place to lead the College in the Alma Mater, which the Seniors answered with the chorus from Green Court."
An article from the 1959 Wellesley News titled "Evolu's Seniors Leave Steps" describes a similar scene of pageantry:
"After all classes had joined in singing favorite Wellesley songs, the seniors filed down the Chapel Steps, two-by-two, receiving forget-me-nots from their little sister class as they wound through the arch to the Green Hall Courtyard. Upper classmen sang the Wellesley tra-la-la-la from the chapel as the Seniors echoed back from the courtyard in the distance. The three lower classes then exchanged steps in traditional fashion, leaving a gaping space to be filled by the Class of 1963. When the seniors returned, stepsinging closed with the Alma Mater. As members of the College left the chapel steps, a cheer for the yellow-caped '63 resounded through the dusky evening."
Did you know?
Wellesley has assigned classes colors since 1879, but up until 1906, those colors were each unique to the class. Some classes had one distinct shades, while others had a pair of colors. Here are just a few of the class colors of the time:
1880 - Scarlet
1890 - Lilac and Gold
1891 - Green (the first and only solely green class until 1953!)
1900 - Purple and Lavender
1903 - Crimson and Rose
From 1907 to 1934, the classes began to rotate between yellow, red, blue, and purple, but some classes still chose distinctive shades such as Royal Purple, Crimson Lake, Sapphire Blue, National Blue, and Yale Blue. In 1935, the colors settled into the standard rotation of simple yellow, red, blue, and purple, but eventually it was deemed somewhat unfair that one out of every four classes enjoyed the College's color as their own, and so in 1953, green replaced blue in the class color rotation, where it has remained ever since.
The Class of 1949 is the last class to enjoy the perk of having "the Wellesley Blue" as their class color. Here they are displaying it proudly at their 65th Reunion in 2014.
See, winding through the arch they come
The colors of ev'ry class
And o'er them all, the tow'r on high
Bright etched against the sky
The campus echoes to the song
As proudly they march along
Assured that Wellesley's great traditions
Will live forever strong
Fling out the banner of each class
The blue flies over all
Be with us, Alma Mater here
Unchanging ev'ry year
To further fields we follow you
Our haven our whole lives through
Lead on before us as we're marching
Oh royal Wellesley blue
A thoughtful op-ed was written in 1908 about "Wellesley-blue enthusiasm"