The Abraham Lincoln Library and
Museum Music Collection was organized and cataloged through a grant provided
by Colonel Lee B. Ledford Research Grant. The Music Collection was
accumulated over the past century by
Stephen Collins Foster Music Collection
Bound Volumes, Songsters, Reference Books, Posters
Manuscript of Lyrics
The music collection consists of approximately 2012 pieces of middle 19th and early 20th century sheet music published between 1826 and 1940. The collection consists of 1355 sheets of music and orchestration, 238 pieces of Stephen Foster music , 369 related broadsides, 3 bound volumes, 29 songsters, 1 manuscript of lyrics, 6 pamphlets, printing plates with the unknown author and 4 reference books. The Forsythe Collection includes 2 manuscript music, 2 volume dairy and 2 tuning forks. Some genres represented in the Music Collection are dance music, marches, minstrels and war songs. For a complete list of the genres of music click here genre of music. Some composers in the Music Collection are George Root, Henry Clay Work, Sep. Winner, W.R. Dempster, E.W. Locke, Franz Abt, William Dressler, Henry Tucker, J.W. Turner, Francies H. Brown, Daniel D. Emmett, I.B. Woodbury and many others.
Within the museum sheet music collection is the Stephen Collins Foster collection which includes there 238 facsimile and 26 number of originals. According to Finn’s Find Books a facsimile is a faithful re-creation of the original to the extent that it is virtually indistinguishable from the original copy. In “Music and Politics” Matthew Shaftel states,
“Stephen Foster’s music
become the backbone of the American minstrel show in the 1840s, A period of
critical change for blackface minstrelsy as it grew from its countercultural
class-conscious roots into an industry of racially charged entertainment.
Stephen Foster’s first minstrel song lyrics ridiculed slaves and slave life,
propagating the racial stereotypes that were embraced and financially
supported by the successful minstrel groups of the time. Towards the end of
the decade, however, many of his minstrel songs contain glimmers of a
changing perception of slave life. When his parlor ballads could no longer
sustain him financially he merged the two styles into a new hybrid genre,
‘the plantation melody.’ The songs published under this rubric use musical
strategies found in the ballads and focus on nostalgic themes. Attempting to
humanize the importance in disseminating a revised view of the African
American slave merits new examination. The text/music relationship explores
the change in Foster’s minstrel style as a reflection of his evolving
perception of slave life.”
The Broadside Collection is one of the finest collections available today, there are all originals for the most part in beautiful mellow colors. The scenes all have to do with the Civil War. There are battle scenes, naval engagements scenes, sentimental scenes of soldiers and their wives and sweethearts. There are also several old ballads with sentimental scenes in color; other are patriotic with colored State Seal. One of the main publishers for the broadside collection was Charles Magnus, they were published between the years 1850 and 1866. He was one the inventor of a new lithography process for the processing for the finishing of the picture.
According to the Oxford Music Online a songster is
“An anthology of secular song lyrics, popular, traditional
or topical (occasionally with melody lines), designed to fit in the pocket.
Songsters were aimed at either genteel or vular audiences, and appeared in
many hundreds of printings in the
For more information there are several ways to contact the archivist at special collection: