Early American Sheet Music: Its Lure and Its Lore, 1768-1889

By Harry Dichter; Elliott Shapiro | Go to book overview

Hail Columbia
(President's March)

HAIL COLUMBIA was written in Philadelphia, in 1798, by Joseph Hopkinson, son of Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and our first native composer. It was first sung, with great success, by Gilbert Fox at the New Theatre in Philadelphia, on the evening of April 25th. The words were inspired by our impending hostilities with France, and were adapted to the tune of the PRESIDENT'S MARCH. Two days later, Benjamin Carr of Philadelphia advertised publication of the song. The music was composed by "Pheil" ( Philip Phile). This is substantiated by an early edition formerly in the Pennypacker Collection of Philadelphia, and now in the Library of Congress.

PRESIDENTS [sic] MARCH AND CA IRA. Carr & Co. [ Philadelphia. 1793]

Price 12 Cents. Under caption title, the music is marked PRESIDENTS MARCH at left. CA IRA is included in lower half of page. [1] leaf. ÇA IRA was a famous French Revolutionary song.

PRESIDENT'S MARCH, THE. Wm. Priest. Philadelphia. [ca. 1795]

Arranged for two performers on one Piano Forte. By R. Taylor. Price 25 Cents. [4] pp., pp. 1 and 4 blank.

* FAVORITE NEW FEDERAL SONG, THE. ADAPTED TO THE PRES. IDENTS MARCH. [ B. Carr. Philadelphia. Advertised April 1798]

Sung by Mr. Fox. Written by J. Hopkinson Esqr. [41 pp., pp. 1 and 4 blank. Three editions.

*[1] Portrait of President John Adams.

*[2] Portrait of George Washington.

*[3] Sunburst and eagle.

The vignette portraits of Adams and Washington are separate prints, mounted at head of p. 2. Under each is engraved "Behold The Chief Who Now Commands" on the music plate itself. The sunburst and eagle are engraved on the music plate, with the inscription "Behold The Chief" etc., eliminated.

-21-

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