Raising Voices in Song
Music to support the war effort flooded the market. Music publishers offered songbooks “chock full of ammunition for building morale at the Front and at Home” as well as separate pieces of sheet music. Mostly written for piano with vocal accompaniment, these popular songs urged young men to fulfill their patriotic duty to join the military, honored war heroes, and offered comfort to those left behind on the homefront. Not surprisingly, upbeat lyrics and tempos predominated, but a few songs addressed the devastation of the battlefield and the difficult adjustments to the peacetime world faced by both soldiers and civilians.
Carl D. Vandersloot, General Pershing One Step (March or Two Step) (Williamsport, PA: Vandersloot Music Pub. Co., 1918). Gift of anonymous donor.
Ed. Nelson and Sam Landers, I’ve Got a New Job (New York: A. J. Stasny Music Co., 1918). Gift of anonymous donor.
James Reese Europe, Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, Goodnight Angeline (New York: M. Witmark & Sons, 1919). Gift of Cordelia H. Brown, Mary Hinkson Jackson, and Georgine E. Willis.
Geoffrey O’Hara, Over Yonder Where the Lilies Grow (New York: Leo Feist, Inc., 1918). Gift of anonymous donor.
James F. Hanley and Ballard MacDonald, Dreaming of Home Sweet Home (New York: Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., 1918). Gift of anonymous donor.
Duncan E. MacPherson and John H. G. Fraser, It’s a Grand Old Flag to Fight For (Boston: MacPherson & Fraser, 1918). Gift of anonymous donor.
Joseph Woodruff and E. J. Pourmon, After the War is Over Will There Be Any Home Sweet Home? (Newark, NJ: Broad & Market Music Co., 1917). Gift of anonymous donor.
Al. W. Brown, Thomas Hoier, and Bernie Grossman, There’s a Service Flag Flying at our House (New York: Joe Morris Music Co., 1917). Gift of anonymous donor.
Advertisement on verso of The Navy Took Them Over and the Navy Will Bring Them Back sheet music. Gift of anonymous donor.
George W. Meyer, Grant Clarke, and Howard E. Rogers, If He Can Fight Like He Can Love, Good Night Germany! (New York: Leo Feist, Inc., 1918). Gift of anonymous donor.
George M. Cohan, Over There (New York: William Jerome Publishing Corporation, 1917). Gift of anonymous donor.
Bob Carlton, Ja-Da (New York: Leo Feist, Inc., 1918). Gift of anonymous donor.
The Songs of the Boys songbook, 1919. Loan courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
In the spring of 1918, Philadelphia established the Liberty Sing Commission to encourage patriotic songfests in schools, churches, businesses, and outdoor public spaces. The city’s first large Liberty Sing took place on June 28th at the Court of Honor in front of City Hall as part of National Pledge Day, a War Savings Stamp drive. The lyrics to nearly one hundred popular and patriotic songs filled this pocket-sized songbook used at Liberty Sings. Albert Hoxie, music director at the Navy Yard, regularly led Liberty Sings around the city, including at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s evening receptions for troops stationed in Philadelphia.