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Civil War songsters

The Library holds a book containing over 250 Civil War songsters that were collected from Boston and New York publishers. Mostly presenting the Union side of the conflict, the collection dates from 1861 to the decade after the war ended, covering aspects common in wartime songs. The following selection of digitised images from the collection’s songs relates to different themes that appeared in Civil War tunes. There is also a strong representation of Irish-related songs in the collection, as well as songs mourning President Lincoln’s death. For more information about US music holdings from the period, please see Singing the Dream: American Sheet Music at the British Library.

The Battle Cry of Freedom

One of many songs presenting the Union side of the conflict, from a book containing over 250 Civil War songsters that were collected from Boston and New York publishers.

What Irish Boys Can Do

The Library’s Civil War songster collection contains over a dozen tunes specifically about Irish–born and descended soldiers fighting in the conflict.

Abraham Lincoln

Several tunes were written in response to President Lincoln’s death in 1865.

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