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Georgia Tech Songs Collection

Georgia Tech Songs Collection

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Descriptive Summary

Title: Georgia Tech Songs Collection
Identification: UA318
Date: 1900-1953
Size/Quantity: 1.3 linear feet (one sheet music box)
Language: This collection is written in English.
Creator: Georgia Institute of Technology. Archives and Records Management.
Repository: Archives & Records Management, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology
Abstract:This collection consists of Georgia Tech songs, marches, and cheers, including the "Alma Mater," "Rambling Wreck," "Up With the White and Gold," three renditions of "Yellow Jacket Girl," and other lesser-known music written in honor of Tech.
General noteThis collection was originally processed in 2005 as MS053. The collection was reprocessed as UA318, with additions and updates, in April 2007.

Biographical/Historical Note

By far the most famous of the pieces of music written in honor of Georgia Tech is "Rambling Wreck," otherwise known as "Ramblin' Wreck" or "Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech." The lyrics to this song first appeared in the 1908 Blueprint, the Georgia Tech yearbook. Billy Walthall, a member of the first four-year graduating class, is credited with the lyrics in some sources; according to a 1954 article in Sports Illustrated, the song was written in about 1893 by a Tech football player on his way to an Auburn game. The phrase "rambling wreck" itself may date from as early as the 1880s, according to an oral history interview by Harold D. Cutter. At first, the phrase may have been used in reference to the students at Georgia Tech, but in modern times it also refers to a Model "A" Ford decked out in the school colors, which makes appearances at home football games.

Whatever its origins, "Rambling Wreck," which is sung to the Scottish tune "Son of a Gambolier," quickly became an established Tech tradition. In 1912 Mike Greenblatt, Georgia Tech's first professional bandleader, made a band arrangement and score of "Rambling Wreck." A few years later Frank "Wop" Roman, who became the Tech band director in 1914, adapted Greenblatt's version, adding several trumpet flourishes. Roman copyrighted the song in 1919. The Edwin H. Morris and Company, which was later acquired by MPL Communications, obtained a copyright to Roman's version of "Rambling Wreck" from 1931. However, a law firm commissioned by Georgia Tech in 1984 concluded that, while there were copyrighted versions of the song, the version used by the school is not copyrighted.

The fame of the "Rambling Wreck" song spread to such proportions that in 1959 it was sung by Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev at their historic meeting in Moscow. Khrushchev had been introduced to the song through a performance of it on The Ed Sullivan Show. "Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech" has had many other notable moments in its history, including performances in movies such as The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit and The High and the Mighty. Claims have been made that commanding officers crossing the English Channel on the morning of D-Day led their men in the song. It has also been reported to be the first school song played in space.

In addition to the arrangement of "Rambling Wreck," Frank Roman is also credited with two other famous Tech songs dating from the 1920s, the "Alma Mater" (published in 1923) and "Up with the White and Gold" (first published in 1919). Iver Granath, a member of the Class of 1923, collaborated with Frank Roman on the lyrics to "Alma Mater." The lyrics and music to an earlier "Georgia Tech Alma Mater," also by Frank Roman, appeared in the 1915 Blueprint, but it is the 1923 version that is sung most often today.

Iver Granath also composed another Tech song titled "Yellow Jacket Gal" while he was a student. Another song of a similar title by another Tech graduate, Nicholas Chotas (1932, Architecture), was also written in about 1929. A third song titled "My Yellow Jacket Girl," with words credited to Harold Atteridge and music to Jean Schwartz, was performed in the 1913 Broadway musical The Honeymoon Express at the Winter Garden Theatre. The show ran for 156 performances.

Among the many lesser-known pieces of music written in honor of Georgia Tech are the 1905 "Georgia Tech March and Two-Step" written by Frances Brownie and Winnifred Huson, and the 1900 "Georgia Tech Grand March" by Charles Astin. Numerous other songs and cheers, including many with lyrics denouncing Georgia Tech's rival, the University of Georgia, are traditionally sung at football and basketball games.

In 1925 the Columbia Gramophone Company released a 78 rpm recording of "Ramblin' Wreck" with "Up With the White and Gold" as an introduction. One side of the recording contained an instrumental version played by the Georgia Tech Band; a vocal version by the Yellow Jacket Four was recorded on the reverse. With this recording Georgia Tech became one of the first colleges in the South to have its songs commercially recorded. Since then the Georgia Tech Band and Glee Club have made several other recordings.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains several folders with various versions of "Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech" and three of "Alma Mater." The versions of "Rambling Wreck" include several copies of a postcard-sized lyric sheet, a printed version with a cartoon as cover art, and a handwritten piano-vocal manuscript (possibly in Frank Roman's own hand). A copy of the 1911 version of "Rambling Wreck," with a copyright seal, adds to the richness of the collection. A handwritten version of "Alma Mater" is also included.

The remaining folders contain two published versions of "Up With the White and Gold," lyrics for songs and cheers (Song No. 1 and Song No. 2), single copies of each of the three versions of "Yellow Jacket Girl (Gal)," and two different Georgia Tech marches from the early years of the twentieth century. "The Georgia Tech" March and Two-Step by Frances Brownie and Winnifred Huson has a cover picture of a group of Tech students from 1905, to whom the song is dedicated. The earlier of the two marches features pictures of W.E. Klein, J.W. Rucker, Aaron French, and a photo of the Shops, Textile, and Academic Buildings of Tech as cover art.

Song No. 1 and Song No. 2 make up one side of a two-sided lyric sheet containing traditional cheers and yells for Georgia Tech sports. Also included is an identification card for L.A. Emerson, EE 1906, a list of fraternities, and several chants for game time. Lyman Hall was president, which provides a general time that the sheet could have been created. This artifact of early Tech history enhances this already diverse collection.


The music and correspondence are arranged alphabetically by title.

Index Terms

Alma maters (Songs).
Astin, Charles
Atteridge, Harold Richard, 1886-1938
Brownie, Frances
Chotas, Daisy
Chotas, Nick, (Nicholas Eli)
Georgia Institute of Technology. Songs and music.
Gernath, Iver
Greenblatt, Mike
Huson, Winnifred
Popular music--United States--20th century--Archival resources.
Roman, Frank
Schwartz, Jean, 1878-1956
Sheet music.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Please cite [Song Title, Composer and Lyricist, Publisher and Date of Publication], Georgia Tech Songs Collection (UA318), Archives, Library and Information Center, Georgia Institute of Technology.


Collection created from various donations (accessions 1988.0503, 2001.150, 2003.007, 2004.032).

Processing Information

Valerie A. Ellis and Christine de Catanzaro processed these papers in October 2005 (additions and revisions by Sheldon Smith, April 2007).

Revisions to Finding Aid

April 2007, June 2011:
  • Additional sheet music and correspondence added to the collection by Sheldon Smith and Christine de Catanzaro.

  • Restrictions

    Restrictions: Access


    Restrictions: Use

    Some of the songs in the collection remain under copyright and therefore fall under all applicable restrictions on use (including duplication) for copyrighted materials.

    Other Finding Aids

    A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.

    Container List

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    11 "Alma Mater - Georgia Tech" (Frank Roman, Iver Granath), 1923
    12 "Alma Mater - Georgia Tech" (Frank Roman, Iver Granath), 1923
    13 "Alma Mater - Georgia Tech" (Frank Roman, Iver Granath), 1923
    14 "Alma Mater - Georgia Tech" (lyrics only) (Frank Roman, Iver Granath), undated
    15Correspondence, 1951-1953
    16 "Georgia Tech March" for the pianoforte, (Chas Astin), 1900
    17 "Georgia Tech March and Two-Step" (Frances Brownie, Winnifred Huson), 1905
    121 "Georgia Tech Victory March" (Jimmy Beers, Ernest Rogers), 1933
    18 "My Yellow Jacket Girl" (Jean Schwartz, Harold Atteridge), 1913
    19 "Ramblin Wreck" (Frank Roman; 2 copies), undated
    110 "Ramblin' Wreck" (Frank Roman), 1929
    111 "Rambling Wreck," "Alma Mater" (Frank Roman -- manuscript), 1925; undated
    112 "Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech" (Mike Greenblatt), 1911
    113 "Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech" (Mike Greenblatt), 1911
    114 "Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech" (Frank Roman), 1919
    115Song No. 1 and Song No. 2 (includes cheers; lyrics only), ca. 1906
    116 "Up With the White and Gold" (Frank Roman), 1919
    117 "Up With the White and Gold" (Frank Roman), 1929
    118 "Up With the White and Gold" (Frank Roman), 1929
    119 "Yellow Jacket Gal" (Iver Granath), undated
    120 "Yellow Jacket Girl" (Nick Chotas, Daisy Chotas), 1929