Brown University: “African American Sheet Music”

Click to view the collection’s website:

African American Sheet Music @ Brown University

Brown.edu-aasm

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ABOUT:

“The sheet music in this digital collection has been selected from the Sheet Music Collection at the John Hay Library at Brown University. The full collection consists of approximately 500,000 items, of which perhaps 250,000 are currently available for use. It is one of the largest collections of sheet music in any library in the United States. …

“One of the most important categories in the Sheet Music Collection is the African-Americana. This consists of music by and relating to African Americans, from the 1820s to the present day, and consists of approximately 6,000 items. …

“The African-American related sheet music includes songs from the heyday of antebellum blackface minstrelsy in the 1850s and from the abolitionist movement of the same period. It includes numerous titles associated with the novel and the play Uncle Tom’ s Cabin, so greatly influential in its day. Civil War period music includes songs about African-American soldiers, a controversial topic of the time, and the plight of the newly emancipated slave. Post-Civil War music reflects the problems of Reconstruction and the beginnings of urbanization and the northern migration of African Americans, notably in the music associated with the Harrigan & Hart shows of the 1880s. Sheet music of this period further documents the emergence of African-American performers and musical troupes, first in blackface minstrelsy, and later at the beginnings of the African-American musical stage in the late 1890s. …”

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