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Where, Oh Where

"Where, Oh Where" is most commonly sung in the spring as each class closes the chapter of their academic year and prepares to move on- whether to a new grade level, or into the "wide, wide world." The song is particularly poignant for alumnae, who sing it each year at Reunion's Stepsinging event- a rare moment when the class has the chance to gather once more. The lyrics of the song have changed several times- first in 1945, when the juniors' verse was updated. A passage from the February 1945 Wellesley News states "One contributor suggested substituting "Hobbes and Descartes" in the third verse of "Where, Oh Where," since '1906 was the last class to be tortured by forensics." The timing of the second edit is difficult to pin down; the final alumnae verse is listed in different songbooks as varying over time- sometimes indicating the alumnae are "lost, lost in the wide, wide, world" whereas more recent arrangements instead offer the more comforting "safe, safe in the wide, wide, world." 

The song is one of Wellesley's oldest, appearing as the final song listed in the original "Songs of Wellesley," produced by Cordelia C. Nevers, Class of 1896 and Roberta H. Montgomery, Class of 1897. The song was commonly parodied and many references to it can be found in the Wellesley News, where humorous takes on the song were frequently published: 

The Wellesley News, 1912: 

 

 

A particularly clever parody was the following lament,
written in 1929 in response to the strict new rules for training athletes:

 

The Class of 1931 published their take on the song in the 1931 Legenda as part of "a Brief History of the Senior Class Done into Abominably Bad Verse," where the classes commiserate by flaunting their poor grades: 

 

Regardless of the number of parodies made and yet to be heard, this song remains a crowd pleasing favorite that we can expect to hear at Stepsinging for years to come. 

Click here to return to the Stepsinging home page

Lyrics

Where, oh where are the verdant freshmen?
Where, oh where are the verdant freshmen?
Where, oh where are the verdant freshmen?
Safe, now, in the soph'more class
They've gone out from their Comp and Hygiene
They've gone out from their Comp and Hygiene
They've gone out from their Comp and Hygiene
Safe, now, in the soph'more class

Where, oh where are the gay young soph'mores?
Where, oh where are the gay young soph'mores?
Where, oh where are the gay young soph'mores?
Safe, now, in the junior class
They've gone out from their kings of Israel
They've gone out from their kings of Israel
They've gone out from their kings of Israel
Safe, now, in the junior class

Where, oh where are the jolly juniors?
Where, oh where are the jolly juniors?
Where, oh where are the jolly juniors?
Safe, now, in the senior class
They've gone out from their Hobbes and Descartes
They've gone out from their Hobbes and Descartes
They've gone out from their Hobbes and Descartes
Safe, now, in the senior class

Where, oh where are the grand old seniors?
Where, oh where are the grand old seniors?
Where, oh where are the grand old seniors?
Safe, now, in the wide, wide world
They've gone out from their Alma Mater
They've gone out from their Alma Mater
They've gone out from their Alma Mater
Safe, now, in the wide, wide world

Where, oh where are the staid alumnae?
Where, oh where are the staid alumnae?
Where, oh where are the staid alumnae?
Safe, now, in the wide, wide world
They've gone out from their dreams and theories
They've gone out from their dreams and theories
They've gone out from their dreams and theories
Safe, now, in the wide, wide world

Click play below to view a recording of "Where, Oh Where" from spring Stepsinging 2012

The Class of 2001 enjoys one of their last times together before graduation