Chapter & Verse

A correspondence corner for not-so-famous lost words

F. Markoe Rivinus requests the title and the other words of a song he heard in the late 1950s; he remembers two lines: “You ain’t no bigger than a bug is big/Oh, you cute little thingamajig!”


Harry Goldgar asks if someone can supply the identity of the “Institute” referred to in, and a specific origin for, an “abundantly Googled” cheer he dates to the 1920s or earlier: “Rooty-toot-toot, rooty-toot-toot,/We are the boys from the Institute./We don’t smoke and we don’t chew,/And we don’t go with the girls that do.”


“skywest and crooked” (July-August 2004). Jerry Leath Mills found this expression in Fred Gipson’s 1949 novel Hound Dog Man, in an early account of a raccoon hunt: “that old coon [was] slapping the dogs sky-west and crooked.”


Send inquiries and answers to “Chapter and Verse,” Harvard Magazine, 7 Ware Street, Cambridge 02138.

You might also like

Threats Foreign and Domestic

Joseph Nye discusses geopolitics and Harvard’s challenges.

Harvard’s New Football Coach: A Real Tiger

The magazine’s football correspondent advises fans to deal with it.

The Interim President’s Agenda

Alan Garber on campus speech, academics, and his other Harvard priorities

Most popular

Open Book: The Photographer’s Art

Robin Kelsey probes the place of photography within art.

An Ipswich Idyll

Restorations revive the grand spirit of a North Shore estate.

Harvard Corporation to Drop Law School Shield Linked to Slavery

The announcement follows a Law School committee’s recommendation to abandon the shield. 

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults