This digital collection consists of 96 pieces of historic, illustrated sheet music from Lovejoy Library's Gordon Colket Music Collection. Gordon Wright Colket was a dealer in illustrative materials who assembled the collection over a period of six or seven years. Items were acquired from other dealers, at auction, estate sales, and through trading, primarily in New York City and New Jersey. The Colket Collection was purchased by the Friends of Lovejoy Library in January 1971.
Most of the pieces are by American composers and date from the 19th century. Twenty-four pieces have been omitted from the digital collection because they are either incomplete or under copyright restriction. Some pieces, such as "Caledonian Quadrilles" include dance instructions. The collection includes works by notable composers of that period, including Henry C. Work, Francis Brown, George Maywood (also known as George Schleiffarth), and J.H. McNaughton. The collection is also rich in Civil War vintage pieces.
Colket collected these pieces for their cover art. Several important lithography firms are represented in the collection, including that of Nathaniel Currier (for example, "Charter Oak") and Sarony & Major.
Colket had organized the collection by broad topics, including patriotic, military, dances, nautical, and politics. To browse alphabetically by title, click here. To browse by date, click here. In the absence of a publication date, the copyright date has been considered a publication date.
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The Digital Images
The sheet music in this digital collection is in the public domain. The images have been retouched to increase contrast and brightness for improved usability for performance. The cover images are digital facsimiles of the originals; they have not been retouched.
Selected titles, such as Edward Mack's "General McClellan's Grand March," include corresponding audio files of piano performances by Therese Zoski Dickman, Music and Fine Arts Librarian at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. These performances are also available on YouTube. The sound editor was Senior Library Specialist Doug Meyer.
These performance recordings can enable users to better understand the featured pieces and to perform them later, particularly in the case of dance music.
Questions about this collection? Contact: 1-618-650-4636
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This digital collection was created by Lovejoy Library in 2013. The Project Director was Therese Zoski Dickman, who also wrote the home page text. The original materials are preserved in the Music Special Collections of Lovejoy Library.