Collection RC0583 - War Songs from the first half of the twentieth century collection

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War Songs from the first half of the twentieth century collection

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  • 1898-1944 (Creation)

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Physical description

9 cm of textual records

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The focal point of this collection of sheet music is the First World War. These songs do not reflect the idea of war as it is commonly thought of in popular imagination: battlefields, trenches and heroic charges. These songs were not, for the most part, written for the soldiers. Instead, they reflect the daily experience of the Canadians who remained at home during the war and the way people thought about the effect the war was having on their lives and on their country. They do not address changes in society explicitly; instead they go deeper, preserving the visceral responses of Canadians to the war as it was happening. This sheet music offers an intimate picture of the conditions out of which post-war Canada grew.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Provenance of the first accrual is not known; it was probably acquired in the 1970s. The second accrual was found in the Division in August 2007. The third accrual (25-2007) was purchased from John Rush in August 2007. The fourth accrual (2013-036) was donated by Val Seath in September 2013. The fifth accrual (2015-041) was purchased from George Flie in September 2015.


There have been four accruals: The first accrual of sheet-music (121 songs) has been organized as follows: World War I – Canada (59 songs; numbered 1-59); World War I – non-Canadian (includes Britain, United States, Germany; numbered 60-80); Pre World War I (13 songs; numbered 1-13, includes a few songs from the late nineteenth century); Between the Wars (9 songs; numbered 1-9); World War II (19 songs; numbered 1-19, Canadian and American). The second accrual (30 songs) includes World War I songs (4 songs, numbered 81-85), Between the War songs (2 songs, numbered 86-87), World War II songs (20 songs, numbered 20-39), and 3 songs which have different versions in the first accrual. The third accrual contains four songs, numbered 88-91. The fourth accrual contains one song from WWI, numbered 92. The fifth accrual contains ten songs, one from WWI (number 93) and nine from WWII (numbers 40-48).

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Further accruals are not expected.

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