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John B. G. Rinehart '00 Claims to Be Original Rinehart of Famous Cry---Tells How It Began

First Use in Spring of 1900 During Tense Period Between Exams and Commencement


Many famous alumni returned to Cambridge for the Tercentenary, but one who bids fair to have his name remembered longer by Harvard posterity than any other was John Brice Gordon Rinehart '00.

A modest little man from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, returning to Cambridge for the first time since he was graduated from Law School in 1903, Mr. Rinehart readily acknowledged that he was the original Rinehart, whose name has long since become the terror of Colonel Apted's loyal cohorts, a battle cry voiced by Yardling warriors in their first rabble and inebriated grads at Club dinners alike.

Origin of Battle-Cry

"It was in the spring of 1900," Mr. Rinehart declared when asked about the origin of this old tradition, "examinations were just over and the students were sitting around on the steps of the Yard dormitories, when the cry first became a fever. The atmosphere was tense, as it usually is between examinations and Commencement.

"I was living in Grays 49 on the top floor. I had come to college with few friends. Gradually during the four years I picked up friendships with various students, including John Price Jones, Frank Simonds and many others.

Everything Tense

"They had been accustomed to call me from down below instead of climbing up the four flights to my room. This night, as I said, everything was tense, when along came one of my friends and yelled up to me from below.

"Well, as soon as this friend called out 'Rinehart' at the top of his lungs and it had echoed throughout the Yard, the rest of the students picked it up, and within a few minutes the place was a bedlam. Most of the students did not even know who I was, but it caught like a fever and they were hanging out of the windows yelling 'Rinehart' at the top of their lungs. It was good exercise, and I didn't care, but the cry has stuck."

Old Theory Declared False

The general theory heretofore concerning the origin of the yell--one which Mr. Rinehart said had no truth in it--was that a lonely youth had conceived the idea of calling his own name up to a vacant room so that the other students would think he was not without friends.

After completing his law school course, Mr. Rinchart practised law for a while in Waynesburg and when the United States entered the War he joined the aviation service. He was totally disabled by service in the War and has not practised law since.

During his short stay in Cambridge, his autograph was procured and presented to the University News Office where it now resides in their archives.

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