The following information was sent to me October 23, 1998, by
Dr. W.F.Rannie
Department of Geography
University of Winnipeg
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3B

History of K-K-K-Katy

I thought you might be interested in some additional info about the song K-K-K-Katy, undoubtedly the most famous stuttering song.

The Katie in the song was my grandmother, Katherine Gertrude Craig of Kingston, Ontario (whose married name was Katherine Richardson by the time the song was written); she was known as Kate. It was composed spontaneously at a party at Kate Richardson's house in Kingston in 1917. "Katie" was the best friend of Geoffrey O'Hara's sister, Kathleen, who married Katie's brother (thus making her Geoffrey O'Hara's sister's sister-in-law). The finished version of the song was first played at a garden party fund-raiser for the Red Cross at a cottage in Collins Bay on Lake Ontario just west of Kingston. I have a 1918 edition of the sheet music on which is printed above the title "Lovingly dedicated to K-K-K-Katy Richardson who inspired this song.". There is no recollection in the family as to how the stuttering motif came to be- certainly Katie Richardson didn't stutter but perhaps someone known to the group around the piano did, or more likely it was simply a device to make the words scan to the music.

Katie Craig-Richardson died in 1922, leaving two very young daughters- Kathleen E. Rannie (my mother named after O'Hara's sister and living in Beamsville, Ontario) and Katharine Jean Richardson (my aunt still living in Kingston). Geoffrey O'Hara was originally from Chatham, Ontario, taught music at Columbia University and the University of South Dakota, and died in Florida on January 31, 1967, at age 84. During his career, he composed a great many songs, mostly hymns and other sacred music, but none so far as I know have lasted like K-K-K-Katy.

added with permission, October 23, 1998