The informant was raised in Chicago Illinois. She attended school in Chicago until she was able to go to USC on a track scholarship. She remembered a song that had been taught to her in elementary school that went through her and was continually passed on.
“Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back.
She asked her mother, mother, mother
For 50 cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump over the fence, fence, fence.
They jumped so high, high, high
They reached the sky, sky, sky
And they didn’t come back, back, back
‘Til the 4th of July, ly, ly!”
Miss Mary Mack is a very popular song amongst the American children population. The informant said that she learned in first or second grade. She said that there is a hand game that goes along with it. You have a partner and you clap hands back and forth while chanting the song lyrics. She said that she was taught the song by other girls in her school and she taught others this same thing. It sort of gets passed down through the grades and never really stops getting sung. She wasn’t sure where it came from but no one really knows. Its not about the author she said, its about the song and the hand game with it.
Miss Mary Mack is popular in our society. It is common for most people to recognize this and be able to sing it and clap hands with someone. Me personally, I was taught this song in elementary school as well and passed it on. The difference is that my mother showed it to me. It is interesting to me that this song is so common amongst the youngsters.
The song Miss Mary Mack can be found in the childrens’ book Miss Mary Mack, adapted by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Nadine Westcott.