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Battles, Balderdash & Beauty: American Popular Sheet Music from the Howard W. Wildin Collection: Notable American Music

Sheet music covers

Case 4: Notable American Music: Introduction

Case 4: Notable American Music: Introduction

 

This case on Notable American Music highlights the various important and popular American sheet music found in the Wildin Collection.

Cohan, George M. "The Yankee Doodle Boy". Illus. Joseph Hirt. New York: F. A. Mills. 1904. (HW-02455)

Cohan, George M. "The Yankee Doodle Boy". Illus. Joseph Hirt. New York: F. A. Mills. 1904. (HW-02455)

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Born in 1878, Cohan published more than 300 songs during his lifetime, many for Broadway musicals. This piece became a standard and was written for his first musical “Little Johnny Jones.”  This Broadway hit also included his tune “Give My Regards to Broadway.”  The sheet music cover has a portrait of Cohan.

Chorus: ‘I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, / A Yankee Doodle, do or die; / A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam’s, / Born on the Fourth of July. / I’ve got a Yankee Doodle sweet heart, / She’s my Yankee Doodle joy, / Yankee Doodle came to London, / Just to ride the ponies; / I am the Yankee Doodle Boy.”

Holzmann, Abe. “Uncle Sammy: March and Two-Step”. Illus. H. Carter. New York: Leo. Feist, Inc. 1904. (HW-02766)

Holzmann, Abe. “Uncle Sammy: March and Two-Step”. Illus. H. Carter. New York: Leo. Feist, Inc. 1904. (HW-02766)

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This song is a commemoration of the new United States of 1904. The original Uncle Sam was a meat packer form Troy, New York named Samuel Wilson.  During the War of 1812, he and his brother furnished the army with meat.  Since the barrels were marked with the letters "U. S." for "United States," Troy workmen joked that the symbols stood for "Uncle Sam" as that is what they called Samuel Wilson.  By the end of the war, newspaper cartoonists begin using the symbol of Uncle Sam to represent the United States.

 

Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii. "Aloha Oe: Farewell to Thee". Lyricist: J. Will. Callahan. Arranger. Henry Sawyer. Chicago and New York: McKinley Music Co. 1916 (HW-00213)

Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii. "Aloha Oe: Farewell to Thee". Lyricist: J. Will. Callahan. Arranger. Henry Sawyer. Chicago and New York: McKinley Music Co. 1916 (HW-00213)

 

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This arrangement is for voice and piano followed by 4 voices and piano.  “Aloha Oe” is Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani’s most famous song.  Supposedly, it was inspired by a notable farewell embrace given by Colonel James Boyd to another Maunawili lady during a horseback trip taken by Princess Liliuokalani in the late 1870s in Oahu.  In 1900 the Queen used this song as a farewell to Hawaii when it lost its independence and became territory of the United States.

Chorus: Aloha Oi, alaho Oi / E ke onaona noho I ka lipo / One fond embrace, / A ho’I a’e au / Until we meet again.

Translation: Farewell to there, Farewell to thee / The charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers / one fond embrace, / “Ere I depart / until we meet again.

Shaw, David T. Columbia: The Gem of the Ocean (Land of the Brave). Philadelphia: Lee & Walker. 1843. (HW-02532)

Shaw, David T. Columbia: The Gem of the Ocean (Land of the Brave). Philadelphia: Lee & Walker. 1843. (HW-02532)

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The piece on display is an 1859 edition as the flag has 34 stars. 

Most American school children in the late 19th and early 20th centuries sung this patriotic song with the line "The Army and Navy Forever / three Cheers for the Red, White, and blue."  Written during peace time, it was used during the Mexican War and then became recognized as a patriotic song, song at July Fourth celebrations. 

Although the composer and lyricist are given as David T. Shaw, Thomas á Beckett actually composed the piece for his friend Shaw, who wanted a new patriotic number to sing at a benefit performance.  Shaw at first took credit, but á Beckett was able to prove his authorship because he had the original handwritten copy of the music.

Sousa, John Philip. “The Stars and Stripes Forever!: March.” Cincinnati: The John Church Company. 1897. ( HW-02454)

Sousa, John Philip. “The Stars and Stripes Forever!: March.” Cincinnati: The John Church Company. 1897. ( HW-02454)

 

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Score for piano.  Cover art shows Sousa’s portrait. This piece is considered Sousa’s major work.  He was an American composer and conductor, who was primarily known for his American military and patriotic marches.  He composed this piece on Christmas Day 1896, while on an ocean liner on his way home from Europe.  The song became the official National March of the United States in December 11, 1987 (36 U.S.C. 304).

Von Tilzer, Albert. “Take Me out to the Ball Game”. Lyricist. Jack Norworth. Illus. Joseph Hirt. New York: York Music Co. 1908 (HW-2477)

Von Tilzer, Albert. “Take Me out to the Ball Game”. Lyricist. Jack Norworth. Illus. Joseph Hirt. New York: York Music Co. 1908 (HW-2477)

 

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This song along with “Happy Birthday” and “the Star-Spangled Banner” are some of the most frequently performed songs according to the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.  Most people are unaware that this song has two verses.   The chorus has become the unofficial anthem of baseball.  Neither lyricist nor composer had seen a baseball game before publishing the song. The chorus is traditionally sung during the seventh inning stretch of a baseball game.

The first verse tells about how Katie Casey preferred going to a baseball game instead of going to the theater with a boyfriend.  The second verse describes her great fan qualities:  “Katie Casey saw all the games, / Knew all the players by their first name. / Told the umpire he was wrong, / All along, / Good and strong. / When the score was just two to two / Katie Casey knew what to do, / Just to cheer up the boys she knew, / She made the gang sing this song:”

Berlin, Irving. “God Bless America”. New York: Irving Berlin Inc. 1938. (HW-00017R)

Berlin, Irving. “God Bless America”. New York: Irving Berlin Inc. 1938. (HW-00017R) (Image restricted by copyright laws. Available on 3rd floor, Foley Library)

 

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Renowned contralto Kate Smith sang this song for the first time on her popular, nationwide radio program on Armistice Day, 1938.  Originally Berlin wrote it 20 years earlier as the grand finale for his World War I army revue “Yip, Yip, Yaphank.”  It was set aside until Smith asked for a patriotic number she could introduce on the air.  Berlin edited the lyrics to reflect the current times.  Smith recorded the song in 1940 and it sold more than 1 million copies and became her trademark.  Berlin gave the song’s royalties to the God Bless America Fund for redistribution to the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA.  In 1955, President Dwight B. Eisenhower presented a congressional gold medal to Berlin in recognition for all his work, especially for this song.

Cohan. George M. “Father of the Land We Love: Written for the American People”. Illus. James Montgomery Flagg. Washington, D. C.: United States George Washington Bicentennial Commission. 1931. (HW-00012R)

Cohan. George M. “Father of the Land We Love: Written for the American People”. Illus. James Montgomery Flagg. Washington, D. C.: United States George Washington Bicentennial Commission. 1931. (HW-00012R) (Image restricted by copyright laws. Available on 3rd floor, Foley Library)

 

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George M. Cohan was an American entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, and singer.  Published by the George Washington Bi-Centennial Commission, this song is a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington.  The sheet music contains images of famous ‘Washingtonian’ paintings and a short biography line the insides of the front and back covers.