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Library Celebrates Whiffenpoof Centennial

A series of exhibits in Sterling Memorial Library are helping to mark the Yale Whiffenpoofs 100th birthday. Founded in 1909 at beer-fed Monday night songfests at the old Mory’s Bar on Temple Street, the Whiffenpoofs remain a signature part of “Old Yale.” Today, members of the nation’s oldest collegiate a capella group serve as Yale's musical ambassadors in performances all over the United States, on national television, and in dozens of countries.

Items on display in the exhibits, which are being held in a number of locations in Sterling Memorial Library throughout the summer and fall including the Gilmore Music Library, the Memorabilia Room, and the Sterling Nave, explore the history of the famous "Whiffenpoof Song” and feature historical memorabilia, souvenirs, and artifacts. The exhibits also pay tribute to the Whiffenpoofs’ rich history, their musical legacy, and honors noted alumni like Cole Porter, Senator Prescott Bush, and Fenno Heath.

The founding of the Whiffenpoofs in 1909 also marks the beginning of the American tradition of collegiate, close-harmony a cappella singing groups. The exhibits will cover a timeline from the beginning of the Whiffenpoofs as an extension of the Yale Glee Club, through their role in inspiring college singing groups among Yale underclassmen and throughout the Ivy League, and culminating in the current extracurricular phenomenon of over one thousand a cappella groups in colleges and secondary schools around the country.

The exhibits in Sterling Memorial Library run until late fall 2009. The Gilmore Music Library exhibit will close in September. All exhibits are free and open to the public. Sterling Memorial Library is located at 120 High Street.