From the Archives: Psi Upsilon’s First Songbook

In 1853 Yale University printed “Songs of Yale”, which is known as the oldest college songbook in the United States. But four years before that, also printed in New Haven, CT, Psi Upsilon printed its first songbook in 1849 – making it not only the first fraternity songbook, but also the first college songbook in the United States!

The original Psi Upsilon Songbook was a pamphlet of sixteen pages, containing no music, and only 9 songs. By 1891 the Tenth Edition of the Songbook had over 170 Psi Upsilon songs and music for each!

The nucleus of the original songbook included five songs written by Francis M. Finch, Beta ’49, (Yale), who was a judge, poet, and academic. In fact, the 1858 Yale college songbook was dedicated to Brother Finch “Whose name is inseparably connected with the music of Yale”. The most notable song from this collection, which is still sung at Psi U Conventions regularly, is “The Psi Upsilon Smoking Song”. The four other songs in the songbook have no authors attributed to them.

You can listen and download some of our songs here.

You can view or download a copy of the original songbook below.

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