Early Songs of Uncle Sam

Early Songs of Uncle Sam

Early Songs of Uncle Sam

Early Songs of Uncle Sam

Excerpt

Singers of songs, fortunately, do not think of themselves as contributing to social history. None the less, it is a familiar fact that their ditties, grave or gay, are important data for investigators of their civilizations. Of course only the most rigorous of such seekers after historical knowledge have patience to dig through the dusty heaps of dead and forgotten songs which each generation leaves behind. General readers and even professed historical students, except for those rare individuals who are armed with courage and spurred on by tormenting conscience, are, naturally enough, quite content to leave such mouldy rubbish untroubled in airless attic corners. They form their ideas and utter their generalizations with only surface knowledge of the songs which once inspired, cheered, and entertained their predecessors in this country.

The author of this volume, endowed with the necessary courage and conscience, and blessed by a sense of humor, has plunged recklessly into forbidding piles of old songs. By letting in air and light and by diligent sifting he has uncovered a surprising amount of color and here and there a gleam or two of genuine treasure. His pages may save many another from much painful labor, and certainly they tell admirably a story of a sort, a kind of sub-plot in the narrative history of the United States. The glimpses he gives of songs once shouted on street corners or tearfully rendered in pale drawing-rooms are precious to anyone who wants to complete the mosaic design of our . . .

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