Category Archives: Rhymes

My Little Tea Pot

Title: My little tea pot

Informant data:

  • Chlöe Conacher was born on May 9, 1997. She grew up in Toronto Ontario and currently lives in the Bay Area California. She has an older brother and a younger sister. She went to a private school in Canada for the first half of her life but then went to a private high school in California. Her parents are both Canadian. Chlöe is majoring in neuroscience and has an interest in soccer dancing and art. She currently attends Dartmouth College and is in the class of 2019.

Contextual context:

  • Social Context:
    • While telling me this nursery rhyme Chlöe was extremely happy and excited. This was one of her favorite nursery rhymes as a child. She heard this nursery rhyme from her parents. She also heard and shared this nursery rhyme during family reunions and holidays. She has many younger cousins and so every time their family would gather she would play with them and sing nursery rhymes- Little Tea Pot was a favorite.  Chlöe didn’t just sing this nursery rhyme, she performed it as well. While singing the short song she would act out motions. She would place one arm on her hip and one hand bent over and away from her head like a tea kettle spot. She would then embody the tea kettle and bend her body to the side and act as though she was pouring tea out of her spout. As she grew up she would teach her little cousins this and watch them dance along to the rhyme
  • Cultura Context:
    • When Chlöe was little the nursery rhyme was just a fun game to play with her family and friends. She used to get excited when she heard the tune of this song come one because she loved the dance and the actions that go with it so much. She continues this tradition of singing and dancing to this rhyme with her cousins. The last time she heard this was the summer of 2017 when she had a family reunion and her “little cousins tried to master and perform the dance for the older cousins.” Today the nursery rhyme has less of a literal meaning but more of an underlying meaning. Today she remembers this as a song that brought her family together and allowed them to enjoy each other’s company.



“I’m a little tea pot short and stout, here is my handle and here is my spout.

When I get steamed up hear me shout, tip me over and pour me out!”

Informant Opinon:

Although this is a short song to sing and an easy one to learn she enjoyed the simplicity it brought to her families lives. She understands that this could be considered a basic nursery rhyme as other families might perform these traditions as well, but to her this was all about family and getting together.

Collectioner’s opinion:

She grew up around this folklore and she grew up sharing this piece of rhyme with so many of her family members that it doesn’t matter if this is a classic American nursery rhyme. The unique value it holds to her is indicative of how each nursery rhyme means something different to every person who is involved in sharing this nursery rhyme.

Collected by Avery Schuldt

Jack be Nimble

General Information abut Item:

  • Rhyme
  • Ritual
  • Children
  • American
  • English

Informant data:

  • Mollie McGorisk was born on March 7, 1998 in Detroit Michigan. She attended a large public school that was a part of the Detroit public school program. She has one older brother and one younger brother and lives with her parents. She has played soccer her entire life and has been actively involved in other sports teams like basketball. She likes the stay active and get involved with art. She currently attends Dartmouth College and is in the class of 2020. She is interested in majoring in engineering and physics.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context:
    • When Mollie was recalling her story, she started to think of home and all the great traditions that she did as a child. For her, this nursery rhyme was a tradition. It was passed down from generation to generation. Her parents taught her the nursery rhyme Jack be Nimble. When Mollie was telling me this story she became happy and sad at the same time. She “loves sharing this tradition with other people because it gives [her] joy to bring people into her life.” When Mollie performs this nursery rhyme it is not just sung, but it is acted out. Every week or so her mom would read her this nursery rhyme before bed. Instead of just singing it to her, her mom would set up a candle and Mollie would jump over the candle and into bed Mollie jumped over the candle stick multiple time before going to bed and the final jump would land her in bed and her mom would tuck her into sleep. When Mollie grew up it was her turn to teach this action to her younger brother and when he grows up it is his duty to tell this nursery rhyme to his younger cousins.
  • Cultural Context:
    • All in all, Mollie’s nursery rhyme, Jack be Nimble, reminded her of her childhood and the relationship between her mom and her brothers. This nursery rhyme made Mollie think of her home and the traditions that she used to be a part of as a child and that have stopped over the years. She hopes to bring this nursery rhyme and the tradition of jumping over the candle to her family in the future.


“Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, jack jump over the candle stick”

Associated Item:

Collector’s Comments:

Molly seemed to get happy when sharing this story. She kept saying how she loved this nursery rhyme and how it brought great memories to her. I think that this since this was part of her nightly traditions it was hard for her to let go. Also, as she grew older and didn’t need a story before bed she grew out of this tradition and forgot about it until I asked about her childhood nightly rituals. This is considered a tradition because it was passed from mother to daughter and brother.

Collected by: Avery Schuldt

Relationship Rhymes

Title: Rhymes (Verbal Folklore Category)

Informant Information: Anonymous female member of the Class of 2017 from Houston, Texas.  She is also a member of Alpha Phi sorority.

Type of Folklore: Verbal Folklore Rhymes

Language: English

Country of Origin: United States of America

Social / Cultural Context: The games and the traditions engrained in Dartmouth culture also come along with rhymes and sayings that go along these activities. Most informants discussed how an invitation to play pong is the best pick up line at Dartmouth. In addition, one informant revealed a rhyme used by the sailing team to further discourage teamcest.

Associated File:


(Anonymous 1)“You want to play pong?”

“That’s the go to when trying to pick up a guy or a girl?”

“Yeah that’s the go to.”

(Anonymous 2) “Don’t unzipper the skipper.”


Collector’s Comments: One of our informants described another pick-up line being “You want to play pong?” Another female alerted us to the sailing rhyme about teamcest described above. These are all examples of the verbal folklore that has arisen from Dartmouth’s various games and traditions surrounding its relationship culture.


Unit Song: Boots, Boots, Boots

Title: Unit Song: Boots, Boots, Boots

Informant info: Matt Menezes. Informant attends Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH as a United States Army Veteran. Informant was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division and deployed twice to Afghanistan as well as spent two years as a drill sergeant for basic combat training.

Type of lore: Customary/ Verbal, Tradition, Song, Lyrics, Chants

Language: English

Country of Origin: USA

Social / Cultural Context: Informant was interviewed at Dartmouth College. Informant was asked about any songs that they sung during their time in boot camp or while serving abroad. The informant laughed before they began speaking saying he didn’t remember all the words. The lyrics discuss the life in which the 82nd Airborne unit troops lived.

Associated file:

Transcript: [I have recorded the item exactly how it was told to me in the interview]: There is a song related to my unit. I don’t remember all of it, but I remember that it goes something like this: Put on your boots, boots, boots, and parachutes, chutes chutes, we’re going up, up up , we’re going down, down down, we’re all-American and proud to be. That’s all I remember.

Informant’s comments: He sang lots of songs during his time in the military, but did not remember the others or the words. 

Collector’s comments: Informant was nervous to sing, but had a smile on his face.  He also did the arm motion associated with the song. His arm at a right angle swinging across his body.