The Old Maine and the Sea, or, Spanish-American War Sheet Music at The Wolfsonian-FIU Library

Today’s blog post comes to you courtesy of Sharf Associate Librarian, Rochelle Pienn. Ms. Pienn is responsible for cataloging a wealth of rare books, photograph albums, and diaries gifted to The Wolfsonian-FIU library by Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf. The Sharf Collection has greatly strengthened our holdings of primary source propaganda of the military conflicts of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and various colonial endeavors in Africa and the Far and Middle East. We owe the Sharfs a debt of gratitude for providing us with great materials from the Spanish-American War, with an emphasis on the Cuban independence movement, and American naval action and colonial intervention in the Philippines. In making The Wolfsonian rare book and special collections library an important repository of such materials, the Sharfs inspired others to help us build on those foundations. Anne Layton Rice, the Library Administrator of the Monroe County Public Library in Key West, recently facilitated the donation to our institution of eight banker boxes of rare and scarce sheet music covers dating from the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine-American War (1899-1902). These music titles for piano and voice had originally been amassed by long-time Key West resident, Joseph K. Albertson. In the era before radio, sheet music circulated widely and functioned as popular entertainment in people’s parlors and homes; the music titles gifted to The Wolfsonian inspired American support for the conflicts with patriotic marches and sentimental songs often played in dance halls and other public venues. Famirka Then, our library intern has begun processing and cataloging the sheet music; afterwards, each work will be digitized and made available online to the Florida International University community, scholars, and general public.

20150813_133018

Wolfsonian-FIU Library Intern, Famirka Then

Our thanks to the original collector, Joseph K. Albertson for preserving these important materials, and to Anne Layton Rice for facilitating the gift of these music titles which perfectly complement our Spanish-American War holdings. Here is Rochelle’s report:

Six-toed Hemingway cats and mojitos on Duval Street: Key West, Florida contains the quirkiest delights this side of Cuba.

EH8505P Ernest Hemingway at table with his cat Cristobal at Finca Vigia.

EH8505P
Ernest Hemingway at table with his cat Cristobal at Finca Vigia.

Ernest Hemingway Photographs Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Along with the great American novelist’s paw-trodden home and the classic rum-based cocktail, Key West features settings and side-trips awash in history. The Monroe County Public Library keeps local archives documenting Key West’s colorful past. Key West branch Librarian Anne Layton Rice recently visited the Wolfsonian-FIU Library to facilitate a gift of Spanish-American War period sheet music, which originally belonged to Joseph K. Albertson, long-time resident of Key West.

_18A7666

Anne Layton Rice, the author, and Chief Librarian Frank Luca, photo by David Almeida

I recently met Ms. Rice at the Society of Florida Archivists Annual Conference in Coconut Grove (another Florida town filled with eccentric tales and pit-stops). Once Ms. Rice learned of Wolfsonian-FIU Library’s strong holdings in Spanish-American War materials, primarily as a result of the generosity of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf, she decided that the Joseph K. Albertson Collection would be a perfect fit for us.

June 201592910 The Joseph K. Albertson Collection, Gift of Monroe County Public Library, Key West, Fla.

The polarizing patriotism rallied by the suspicious but unexplained explosion on the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor instigated anti-Spain sentiment in America. The Spanish-American War soon ensued, accompanied by much pro-independent Cuba propaganda in the form of yellow journalism, books, and songs.

June 201592906The Joseph K. Albertson Collection, Gift of Monroe County Public Library, Key West, Fla.

June 201592907

The Joseph K. Albertson Collection, Gift of Monroe County Public Library, Key West, Fla.

June 201592904The Joseph K. Albertson Collection, Gift of Monroe County Public Library, Key West, Fla.

June 201592905The Joseph K. Albertson Collection, Gift of Monroe County Public Library, Key West, Fla.

Miss Evangelina Cisneros became one of the first “reality stars” of American media. Daughter of a Cuban revolutionary, Cisneros languished away in a Cuban prison at the hands of her Spanish jailors until an American reporter, Karl Decker of William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal, intervened. Splashy tabloid-esque newspaper coverage fueled public outcry. A daring rescue catapulted the young beauty into instant international stardom.

June 201592908The Joseph K. Albertson Collection, Gift of Monroe County Public Library, Key West, Fla.

This new acquisition of sheet music complements the Spanish-American War period imprints and souvenir keepsake books from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection. Karl Decker wrote this 1898 book on behalf of Miss Cisneros and from her point of view. Photographs are dispersed throughout the thrilling account of bravery and daring in the name of freedom.

XC2010_08_1_87_000

Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

XC2010.08.1.87_078

Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

XC2010.08.1.87_096

Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

African Americans joined the United States armed forces in the war. Their valorous actions in battle impacted popular culture.

June 201592909The Joseph K. Albertson Collection, Gift of Monroe County Public Library, Key West, Fla.

This regimental history published in 1899 contains a rare photograph of African American military officers.

XC2010_08_1_30_000

Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

XC2010.08.1.30_322Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

Publishers’ decorative bindings attracted readers with red, white, and blue,and Army green covers, with silver and gold lettering and borders, and graphic illustrations of the U.S. Navy.

XC2009_10_20_3_000

Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

XC2010_08_1_8_000

Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

XC2010_08_1_64_000Gift of Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf

For access to more rare materials on the Spanish-American War, we invite you to search our online databases at library.wolfsonian.org and digital.wolfsonian.org, or schedule an appointment to visit us at the Wolfsonian-FIU Library. More items are cataloged every day. Let us know if you come across something that inspires you!

~ by "The Chief" on August 13, 2015.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: