Friday, July 3, 2009

America the Beautiful, Patriotic Songs

I don't just collect magazines. As a lover of history and Americana, I've always kept an eye out for great paper items. When I had more money (and no ex-wives!) I put together a now long-gone collection of Presidential signed documents and still get goose bumps at autograph dealers booths at bookfairs.

Fortunately, I was able to hold onto a few great pieces, in particular patriotic songs. Musicians often reproduced a few bars of music for collectors and poets do the same for lyrics, known as faircopies. Here are a few of my favorites:

During the Civil War, perhaps the most beloved "flag" song (on both the Union and Confederate sides) was "Rally Round the Flag Boys" written in 1862 by George F. Root.

"America", or "My Country Tis of Thee", written by Samuel F. Smith was very popular and Smith wrote out hundreds of copies, some including all the stanzas, for collectors.

Katherine Lee Bates was inundated with requests for "America the Beautiful". Here's mine with the letter she sent to the collector who requested it. Not a bad piece of Americana!

Of course, how could one exclude John Philip Sousa

or Irving Berlin.

I've been looking for over thirty years for a George M. Cohan "Grand Old Flag" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" but I've never seen or heard of one for sale. Perhaps one will surface. More likely he never did one. Oh the collector's mentality!
OK. 2 posts done- off to the pool. Once again, have a great holiday.


Class Monitor said...


That beautiful song was readapted as my former alma Malacca High School Anthem.
Found in 1826 and originally it was Malacca Free School.

Not till 1970,MHS do not have a School Antem,a form to instill sense of belonging among us.We were the trend setters among schools in the small sleppy hollow town down south of West Malaysia.

The inspiring Principle Mr.Anandarajan Krisna (still alive)introduced it as a form of self-identity.
Knowing truth facts.We had a few Peace-Corp teachers teaching in school during the 70's era.It must be thoes peace corp teachers whom introduce the tune.(am not to sure how the tune sprang about as MHS anthem.My biology teacher was from Alabama USA,I couldn't recall the name.

We were proud of the identity till now.
Any old boys gathering THE 'School Anthem'is a must.
The lyric of the beautiful tune were translate into Malay by Master Tahir Ahmad (still alive).
A stern displinetarian and very-very well respect school master, and most boys remembers those canes smacking but very well lesson learned for ever.

The lyric goes like this following the tempo of the origial tune.

Sekolah Tinggi Melaka - Malacca High School
Tempat Mu Berbakti - A place where we served
Berpaduan berbahagia- Unity and Merry
Kekal dan Abadi - Eternity and

Sekolah Tinggi,Sekolah Tinggi Tempat Mu berbakti
Sepanjang Hari

Sejak 1826,nama mu terbina
Berpaduan Bercahaya
Kekal dan Abadi.

Monday morning assembly is a must.All smarten white collor shirts and white pants was the standard uniform then.

We learn,we quest but never question why?.
We just do it.

Thank You sir,for the nice write up of the beautiful song.


Andrea said...

Nice collection! As a paper conservator, I often get a chance to handle awesome ephemera of which a few Irving Berlin items came in. As you know, its always amazing to get to see these things in person.