4 linear ft.
Organized by the type of records; First index arranged alphabetically according to the title. The second is alphabetical by composer and the third index is arranged chronologically.
The collection of Popular Songs of the Early 20th Century to World War I contains sheet music from the years 1882 to 1938. The majority of songs are from 1917 to 1919 pertaining to World War I. The collection is arranged alphabetically by song title.
Popular music in the United States had its start after the American Revolution. From that time on, the common themes of American popular music have been love, family, and death; songs about our wars and our heros, our villains and our disasters. Before 1880 song publishers had been scattered around the country, but at the turn of the century and into the 1920's, Tin Pan Alley became the center of popular music. Tin Pan Alley was born in Union Square and later moved to 28th street, New York, where publishers like Harry von Tilzer initiated the idea of promoting and selling songs to the general public. Most popular songs were the result of collaboration; one person writing the words, another the music, and another person promoting it. The songs were sold as sheet music, and the promoters or "pluggers" became an important part of Tin Pan Alley. They brought the songs to the restaurants, bars, and music halls where through begging or bribery the songs were performed. Another concept, born in Tin Pan Alley, was that songs could be manufactured for special events. The songs could take advantage of the current news or comment on passing fashion and fads. This was evident during World War I with the patriotic songs, the "parting songs" to send them off with cheerful farewells, or morale raising songs about the lighter side of the war. The invention of the phonograph, juke-box, and radio cut down on the scale of sheet music. Popular music may no longer be sold the same way but ideas of selling to general public and taking advantage of current trends still continues today.
Inventory list available.