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T-O-L-E-DO: Where the girls are the fairest and the boys are the squarest

In 1906 Joe Murphy penned a song for his hometown of Toledo, Ohio with the lyrics “The girls are the fairest, the boys are the squarest”. It may surprise many from Toledo that this isn’t the only song with those lyrics. A little research shows that the University of Florida, the University of Chicago, and the Unversity of Nebraska all have fight songs with the same lyrics. From this an interesting debate arising: where did the song originate?

Gary Kirkland with Gainesville.com wrote the most comprehensive article on the song’s origins. Florida’s song, titled “We Are the Boys of Old Florida” is credited to Robert Swanson and John Icenhour and dates back to 1919. Nebraska’s tune, dating back to 1924 and Harry Pech, is called “Dear Old Nebraska U (No Place Like Nebraska)”. The University of Chicago has a familiarly titled fight song, “We’re Strong for Chicago”. Records from the Toledo Blade credit Joe Murphy with composing “We’re Strong for Toledo” in 1906.

The history of “We’re Strong for Toledo” becomes even more interesting as the influence of the song is seen throughout the country in places like Chicago, Florida, and Nebraska. It’s this history that we are celebrating with our Toledo t-shirts and the launch of our new “We’re Strong for Toledo” t-shirt.

Here are the lyrics to “We Are the Boys of Old Florida”:

We are the boys from old Florida
F-L-O-R-I-D-A
Where the girls are the fairest,
The boys are the squarest
Of any old state down our way

We are all strong for old Florida
Down where the old Gators play
In all kinds of weather
We’ll all stick together
for F-L-O-R-I-D-A

Here are the lyrics to Nebraska’s fight song, “Dear Old Nebraska U (No Place Like Nebraska)”:

There is no place like Nebraska,
Dear old Nebraska U.
Where the girls are the fairest,
The boys are the squarest
of any old school that I knew.
There is no place like Nebraska,
where they’re all true blue.
We’ll all stick together
in all kinds of weather
for dear old Nebraska U.

Sources:
Gainesville.com
luannschindler.com

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