Christmas with the Woolly Whale

The Schnitzelbank song

If you’ve taken high school German or are of German heritage, you might be familiar with the Schnitzelbank song. I recall German club trips to the Rathskeller, where we’d put our language skills to the test and sing the humorous ditty. It’s a cumulative song, like “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” so the singer has to remember all the previous verses as the song progresses. (For an example, see The Animaniacs version.)


Why do I bring this up, you ask? Yesterday, while looking through the MLs (that’s literature on music for all you non-catalogers), I came across a book titled Schnitzelbank (ML89 .K82 1938). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was not only about my favorite silly song, but it was also published by the Press of the Woolly Whale!

A Modern Version of The Night Before Christmas

The Woolly Whale was a private press in New York founded by Melbert Brinckerhoff Cary Jr. in 1928. (For more information on the Press of the Woolly Whale, see the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at RIT.) In addition to dozens of items printed by the Press of the Woolly Whale, our collection includes a number of their Christmas-themed books as well. Check out the boozy A Modern Version of The Night Before Christmas (PN6149.P3 M33 1932 Art), a cocktail shaker-shaped volume published during the prohibition era.

These items and more from the Press of the Woolly Whale await in Special Collections. Stop by for some private press holiday cheer before we close for winter break!

About Alison M. Greenlee

Special Collections Librarian, McFarlin Library, The University of Tulsa.
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