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Songs in Their Time

"Scots" or "Wood" Psalter

Songs and people find each other. How they find each other changes over time, but the songs are always present, weaving in and out of the history and stories, stages and poetry of their time. Song sheets and sheet music played a large part in bringing songs to the people in the 19th and 20th centuries, and some found their way into collections at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections.

A new exhibition the Leon Robbin Gallery puts a few of these songs together with related happenings on this campus. See the song sheet for "Come Home, Father" paired with Georgetown President J. Havens Richards, S. J.'s handwritten notes for several addresses to temperance societies. The satirical and cautionary "The Steam Arm" appears with contracts for the installation of steam heating in Old North and Dahlgren Chapel. The "Battle of Bull-Run" song sheet is dedicated to the 69th New York Regiment, which was billeted on Georgetown's campus for three weeks in 1861. With it you can find the handwritten "Notice of Occupation" dated 4th May, 1861.

Visit the Leon Robbin Gallery in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections on 5th floor Lauinger to explore more ways that these songs' themes intersect with the daily life of Georgetown. Can't visit in person? See an online version at the Library's exhibition page.