James Edward Myers Sheet Music Collection, 1836-1986 | The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

By Mary Miller and David Shin

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Collection Overview

Title: James Edward Myers Sheet Music Collection, 1836-1986Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

ID: 12/9/96

Primary Creator: Myers, James Edward (1913-2001)

Extent: 7.2 cubic feet

Arrangement: Alphabetical by song title

Subjects: Military Music, Music, Music - United States, Musical Repertoires, Women

Formats/Genres: Papers

Languages: English, French, German

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Published sheet music documenting American culture through popular music and cover art imagery. The collection is organized in two series: Series 1, General and Country Music, 1862-1986 and Series 2, Military Music, 1836-1975. Early pre-1920 songs contain themes that focus primarily on life on the farm, while many post-1920 titles feature the "gayer" night-life of city dwellers. Love is the most popular theme encountered throughout the collection. Early traditional values of courtship represented in the music and lyrics of early 1900s become the swinging attitudes of the 1940s and 50s. The cover art also dramatically changes from hand drawn pictures to photographs.

The music and cover art within this collection reflects the changing culture and social attitudes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American. Of particular interest are songs by such composers as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein, and John Philip Sousa. Cover art of interest includes Irving Berlin's Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep, Cole Porter's I've got you under my skin, and Sousa's In Flanders fields the poppy's grow, Solid men to the front, and We are coming.

Biographical Note

James Edward Myers (November 9, 1913 - December 7, 2001), a lifelong resident of Springfield, Illinois, graduated from the University of Illinois in 1936 with a degree in history and a fondness for the university bands, in which he played oboe and drums. The son of Albert Myers, a founder of the Myers Brothers department stores, James joined the US army in 1939 and served in Cuba and India during World War II.  Upon discharge, he married his wife, Edith, and returned to the University of Illinois to study agriculture. He farmed a 350-acre farm in Central Illinois from 1947 to 1953 that was noted for its agricultural innovations.  An injury forced retirement from farming; and in 1953 he returned to the family business, where he served as vice-president, remaining with the firm until 1968. He was extremely active in his community and was president or on the board of many civic organizations.

Myers was something of a Renaissance man and was a collector throughout his life. In the 1930s he journeyed to Guatemala, where he amassed an extensive collection of handcrafted fabrics and clothes of the Guatemalan natives, which he donated to the Illinois State Museum. After he retired, he bought the Lincoln-Herndon law offices building and, with two partners, restored it and opened it to the public. It was later sold to the state of Illinois. At the time of its opening, he also opened Prairie House, a pioneering showcase of US crafts, which remained in existence until 2010, exhibiting comporary art and ceramics, woodwork, glass, and jewelry. Myers also began collecting American books of humor, and his collection now forms part of the "wit and humor" holdings of the University's Rare Book & Manuscript Library. In his later years he established Lincoln-Herndon Press, which published books of humor compiled by himself and others. His books Jones, a novel, and The Bridge of Time, a nonfiction book about Israel, were published by A. S. Barnes.  A further novel, The Stones of Summerville, remains unpublished.  His extensive collection of American sheet music was built late in life. Myers specialized in music about and during wartime, and his single largest sub-collection consists of songs related to World War I. An amateur pianist, he was especially interested in the covers in his collection, which he regarded as underappreciated instances of a kind of folk art.

Subject/Index Terms

Military Music
Music
Music - United States
Musical Repertoires
Women

Administrative Information

Repository: The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music

Accruals: January 5, 2005. A second set of materials, now series 3, was donated on April 2, 2014 by Jamie Meyers.

Access Restrictions: None.

Acquisition Method: The James Edward Myers Sheet Music Collection was donated to the University of Illinois on January 5, 2005

Other Note: Pages


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: General and Country Music],
[Series 2: Military Music],
[Series 3: Jewish-American Music],
[All]

Series 1: General and Country MusicAdd to your cart.
Contains published sheet music documenting the evolution of America''s popular music culture and marketing practices from 1862 until 1986.  Of particular interest is the transformation of music, lyrics, and graphic cover art from the age of vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley to the time of swing dance bands and Hollywood musicals.  Such works as Cole Porter`s The Laziest Gal in Town, Irvin Berlin`s My Sweetie, and Duke Ellington`s Don`t Get Around Much Anymore.  The Music is arranged alphabetically by titles and then chronologically.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Numbered Titles, 1919-1942Add to your cart.
Folder 2: A Titles, 1894-1919Add to your cart.
Folder 3: A Titles, 1920-1929Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 4: A Titles, 1930-1938Add to your cart.
Folder 5: A Titles, 1944-1948Add to your cart.
Folder 6: A Titles, 1955-1984Add to your cart.
Folder 7: B Titles, 1888-1910Add to your cart.
Folder 8: B Titles, 1908-1917Add to your cart.
Folder 9: B Titles, 1922-1928Add to your cart.
Folder 10: B Titles, 1930-1936Add to your cart.
Folder 11: B Titles, 1940-1949Add to your cart.
Folder 12: B Titles, 1950-1963Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: C Titles, 1862-1909Add to your cart.
Folder 2: C Titles, 1910-1917Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 3: C Titles, 1922-1928Add to your cart.
Folder 4: C Titles, 1930-1938Add to your cart.
Folder 5: C Titles, 1944-1949Add to your cart.
Folder 6: C Titles, 1950-1973Add to your cart.
Folder 7: D Titles, 1878-1907Add to your cart.
Folder 8: D Titles, 1913-1919Add to your cart.
Folder 9: D Titles, 1920-1929Add to your cart.
Folder 10: D Titles, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: D Titles, 1941-1949Add to your cart.
Folder 2: D Titles, 1955-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 3: E Titles, 1907-1918Add to your cart.
Folder 4: E Titles, 1925-1936Add to your cart.
Folder 5: E Titles, 1941-1986Add to your cart.
Folder 6: F Titles, 1865-1909Add to your cart.
Folder 7: F Titles, 1914-1919Add to your cart.
Folder 8: F Titles, 1920-1928Add to your cart.
Folder 9: F Titles, 1931-1938Add to your cart.
Folder 10: F Titles, 1941-1949Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 11: G Titles, 1863-1903Add to your cart.
Folder 12: G Titles, 1910-1919Add to your cart.
Folder 13: G Titles, 1922-1929Add to your cart.
Folder 14: G Titles, 1931-1945Add to your cart.
Folder 15: G Titles, 1950-1978Add to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: H Titles, 1898-1908Add to your cart.
Folder 2: H Titles, 1910-1919Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 3: H Titles, 1920-1929Add to your cart.
Folder 4: H Titles, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Folder 5: H Titles, 1941-1948Add to your cart.
Folder 6: H Titles, 1950-1959Add to your cart.
Folder 7: H Titles, 1960-1968Add to your cart.
Folder 8: I Titles, 1889-1909Add to your cart.
Folder 9: I Titles, 1910-1919Add to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 1: I Titles, 1920-1929Add to your cart.
Folder 2: I Titles, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Folder 3: I Titles, 1941-1947Add to your cart.
Folder 4: I Titles, 1950-1964Add to your cart.
Folder 5: J Titles, 1903-1919Add to your cart.
Folder 6: J Titles, 1920-1928Add to your cart.
Folder 7: J Titles, 1930sAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: J Titles, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: J Titles, 1951-1958Add to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: K Titles, 1908-1941Add to your cart.
Folder 2: L Titles, 1865-1919Add to your cart.
Folder 3: L Titles, 1920-1929Add to your cart.
Folder 4: L Titles, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Folder 5: L Titles, 1940-1968Add to your cart.
Folder 6: M Titles, 1868-1911Add to your cart.
Folder 7: M Titles, 1914-1919Add to your cart.
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 1: M Titles, 1920-1929Add to your cart.
Folder 2: M Titles, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Folder 3: M Titles, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: M Titles, 1950s-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 5: N Titles, 1902-1912Add to your cart.
Folder 6: N Titles, 1920-1928Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 7: N Titles, 1930sAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: N Titles, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: O Titles, 1879-1899Add to your cart.
Folder 10: O Titles, 1902-1909Add to your cart.
Folder 11: O Titles, 1911-1919Add to your cart.
Folder 12: O Titles, 1920-1929Add to your cart.
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: O Titles, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Folder 2: O Titles, 1943-1956Add to your cart.
Folder 3: P Titles, 1865-1907Add to your cart.
Folder 4: P Titles, 1910-1918Add to your cart.
Folder 5: P Titles, 1920-1929Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 6: P Titles, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Folder 7: P Titles, 1940-1949Add to your cart.
Folder 8: P Titles, 1954-1960Add to your cart.
Folder 9: R Titles, 1915-1929Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 10: R Titles, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Folder 11: R Titles, 1940-1969Add to your cart.
Folder 12: S Titles, 1892-1909Add to your cart.
Folder 13: S Titles, 1910-1919Add to your cart.
Box 9Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 1: S Titles, 1920-1929Add to your cart.
Folder 2: S Titles, 1930-1938Add to your cart.
Folder 3: S Titles, 1940-1947Add to your cart.
Folder 4: S Titles, 1950-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 5: T Titles, 1899-1909Add to your cart.
Folder 6: T Titles, 1910-1919Add to your cart.
Folder 7: T Titles, 1920-1929Add to your cart.
Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 1: T Titles, 1930sAdd to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 2: T Titles, 1940sAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: T Titles, 1950sAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: T Titles, 1966-1983Add to your cart.
Folder 5: U Titles, 1904-1968Add to your cart.
Folder 6: V Titles, 1910-1953Add to your cart.
Folder 7: W Titles, 1886-1909Add to your cart.
Folder 8: W Titles, 1910-1914Add to your cart.
Folder 9: W Titles, 1915-1919Add to your cart.
Folder 10: W Titles, 1920-1924Add to your cart.
Box 11Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 1: W Titles, 1925-1929Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 2: W Titles, 1930-1939Add to your cart.
Folder 3: W Titles, 1940-1949Add to your cart.
Folder 4: W Titles, 1954-1978Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Y Titles, 1906-1917Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Y Titles, 1920-1929Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Y Titles, 1930-1938Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Y Titles, 1940-1942Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Y Titles, 1954-1977Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Z Titles, 1914-1946Add to your cart.View associated digital content.
Folder 11: Miscellaneous Titles, NDAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: General and Country Music],
[Series 2: Military Music],
[Series 3: Jewish-American Music],
[All]

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