Over the past year the staff of the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music have been working with William Brooks, Professor of Music at the University of York, and the University of Illinois Library’s Digital Content Creation, Content Access Management and Metadata units to digitize the WWI sheet music contained in our James Edward Myers Sheet Music Collection. World War I is considered by many music scholars to be the most musical war in America’s history. The music from this time was created by all sorts of Americans: professional songwriters, acclaimed composers, church musicians, well- and little-known performers, and uncounted singing teachers, small-town bandmasters, and amateurs. Their melodies and lyrics reflected various public perceptions of and responses to America’s evolving relationship with this War, and much of this music resonated local themes that were specific to communities, ethnic groups, or organizations.
The WWI music contained in the Myers Collection documents not only what was produced by Midwestern publishers but also offers a compelling cross-section of popular musical practices and tastes across the Midwest between 1914 and 1918. The music, lyrics, and graphic art illustrations contained in this new online resource are intended to provide insights into American life during and after the War for students, teachers, and scholars interested in learning more about Midwestern perceptions of this military conflict.
The James Edward Myers World War I Sheet Music Collection can be accessed here. We hope that you will take a couple of minutes to visit this site and dig deeper into the rich content of this new resource, and if you know of others interested in learning more about how WWI was reflected through America’s music you will recommend this resource to them. For further information on the James Edward Myers Sheet Music Collection call 217-244-9309 or email the Sousa Archives.