Exhibits Celebrate Whiffs’ Centennial

The 100th birthday of the Yale Whiffenpoofs, the nation’s oldest collegiate a cappella group, is being celebrated in a series of exhibits at the Sterling Memorial Library.

Held at a number of locations in the library, the exhibits explore the history of the famous “The Whiffenpoof Song” and feature historical memorabilia, souvenirs and artifacts. They also pay tribute to the group’s musical legacy and honor such noted former Whiffenpoofs as composer Cole Porter, Senator Prescott Bush (father of President George H. Bush) and Fenno Heath, a long-time conductor of the Yale Glee Club.

Founded in 1909 at Monday night songfests at the former Mory’s Bar on Temple Street, the Whiffenpoofs remain a signature part of “Old Yale.” The group’s founding also marks the beginning of the American tradition of collegiate, close-harmony a cappella singing groups. The ex­hibits, which will be on view through Oct. 29, 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 pursuits of over 1,000 a cappella groups in colleges and secondary schools around the country.

Today, members of the Whiffenpoofs serve as musical ambassadors of Yale in performances all over the United States, on national television and in dozens of countries on six continents.

The exhibits are free and open to the public. Beginning Sept. 2, library hours are 8:30 a.m.-11:45 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Saturday; and noon-11:45 p.m. Sunday. There are some reduced hours in August. For further information, visit www.library.yale.edu.

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