New Year’s Greetings from The Filson Historical Society!

In an age long before wireless speakers, CD players or turntables, friends and family gathered around a piano to welcome the New Year – and bid farewell to the old. In the place of a stack of vinyl records, late Victorians had treasured collections of sheet music.

“Auld Langsyne” variations by D. Ross (c. 1830s). FOLDER 1435a – SHEET MUSIC COLLECTION

“Auld Langsyne” variations by D. Ross (c. 1830s). FOLDER 1435a – SHEET MUSIC COLLECTION

Many of the popular airs of the day were illustrated with colorful prints or humorous sketches:

“How Sweet Are the Roses” (c. 1850s). SHEET MUSIC COLLECTION

“How Sweet Are the Roses” (c. 1850s). SHEET MUSIC COLLECTION

Young couples danced away the night to the sound of the latest popular air:

“Sweet Kentucky Girls” words by Young Yale and music by J.W. Parson Price (c. 1870s). SHEET MUSIC COLLECTION

“Sweet Kentucky Girls” words by Young Yale and music by J.W. Parson Price (c. 1870s). SHEET MUSIC COLLECTION

Others sang humorous ditties that warned of Holiday excess:

“The Old Man’s Drunk Again” by Will S. Hays (c. 1870s). FOLDER 3449 – SHEET MUSIC COLLECTION

“The Old Man’s Drunk Again” by Will S. Hays (c. 1870s). FOLDER 3449 – SHEET MUSIC COLLECTION

These samples represent only a tiny fraction of the Filson’s sheet music collection, which dates back to the antebellum era. For further information please contact the Special Collections Department.

James Prichard

Leave Comment