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

By Harry Dichter; Elliott Shapiro | Go to book overview

First Editions

The subject of first editions in sheet music is practically virgin territory.

No authoritative research has come to our attention with the exception of Foster Hall's extensive check-up on the Stephen C. Foster editions, Joseph Muller's Bibliography of the STAR SPANGLED BANNER, up to 1864, and O. G. Sonneck's Report on the STAR SPANGLED BANNER, HAIL COLUMBIA, AMERICA and YANKEE DOODLE.

We were fortunately able to examine some of the copyright deposits in the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C., to establish first editions. Some particularly valuable information has come from private collectors who specialize in certain outstanding American songs, and various institutions have been very co-operative with all data in their possession.

The most important discovery made is the first edition of I WISH I WAS IN DIXIE'S LAND. See illustration. This confirms the fact that early music publishers issued their best editions first, and settles the priority of edition of copies printed from hand engraved music plates, rather than from Music Type. As the engraved plates sometimes wore out, the publishers re-set their big selling "hits" in Music Type, and printed from stereotype, with the exception of the Foster songs, which were re-engraved again and again, thus accounting for variations in the music. Commencing with the 1860's, many publishers issued all copies from Music Type, so if a song is unknown in engraved music plate form, the answer is obvious. To-day Music Type is rarely used for any purpose whatsoever.

The "figure 2½ in 5 pointed star" is important. The 2½ stands for 250 in the music publishing trade, and the dealer's discount was figured from this. The 2½, or whatever the figure may be, sometimes identifies a first edition, as prices were occasionally raised to 3 and even 3½, meaning 300 and 350. (A first edition was not necessarily priced at 2½.) The number of points in the star or ornament is given for descriptive purposes only.

We have listed the earliest edition known to us of every item in this book, unless otherwise noted.

-xxiii-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Illustrations xii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Overture to Words and Music xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • First Editions xxiii
  • Part I Classified Listing of Early American Sheet Music xxxi
  • Presidents of the United States (1789-1941) 1
  • Music of the American Revolution (hostilities 1775-1783) 7
  • Early Music (1788-1810) 11
  • Early Patriotic and Historical Items (not Connected with Any War) 15
  • Yankee Doodle (in Chronological Order) 17
  • Hail Columbia (president's March) 21
  • Adams and Liberty ("Anacreon" Tune) 23
  • Undeclared War with France (hostilities 1798-1800) 24
  • George Washington 26
  • War with Tripoli (hostilities 1801-1805) 28
  • Early Indian Items 29
  • Early Negro Songs 30
  • War of 1812 (hostilities 1812-1815) 32
  • Star Spangled Banner (foreword) 34
  • Prior Uses of the "Anacreon" Tune 35
  • Star Spangled Banner Editions (the Imprints Are Given Exactly as Printed, in Each Case) 36
  • Songsters Containing Star Spangled Banner 38
  • Home Sweet Home 39
  • Lafayette 42
  • Military Items 45
  • My Country 'tis of Thee (america) 46
  • Early Comic Songs 47
  • Illustrated Negro Minstrel Songs (of the "Jim Crow" Type) 51
  • Non-Illustrated Negro Minstrel Songs 54
  • Ship Items 55
  • New York City Items 58
  • Political Items 60
  • Tobacco Items 63
  • Temperance Items 65
  • Abolition Items 67
  • Skating Items 68
  • Railroad Items 70
  • Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean 72
  • Indian Items 74
  • Dance Items 76
  • Fire Items 78
  • Mexican War (hostilities 1846-1847) 81
  • Jenny Lind Items 83
  • Early California Imprints 84
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin 85
  • Music Stores (the Name of the Publisher Precedes Each Title) 87
  • Stephen C. Foster First Editions 92
  • Stephen C. Foster Confederate Editions (description Condensed) 96
  • Express Company Items 98
  • College Views (the Name of the College Precedes Each Title) 99
  • College Songs 101
  • Later Comic Items 103
  • Telegraph and Cable Item 104
  • Dixie 105
  • Abraham Lincoln 109
  • Maryland My Maryland 113
  • Civil War Items (hostilities 1861-1865) 115
  • Confederate Items 119
  • Money Items 125
  • Stamp Items 128
  • Oil Items 129
  • Croquet Items 130
  • Trapeze and Aerial Items 131
  • Velocipede Items 132
  • Telephone Item 133
  • Harrigan and Hart Items 134
  • Electricity Item 136
  • Typewriter Item 137
  • Portraits on Music 138
  • Famous Songs (description Condensed) 139
  • Songs of Literary Interest (description Condensed) 156
  • Part II Directory of Early American Music Publishers 164
  • Part III Lithographers and Artists Working on American Sheet Music Before 1870 *
  • Bibliography 258
  • Part IV Illustrations 260
  • Index *
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