American sheet music of the nineteenth century provides a fascinating historical record of contemporary social concerns, issues, events, celebrities, and tastes. This record is further enhanced by the prevalent use of illustrations for title pages, including portraits, landscapes, and scenes of battles or local sites of interest. Many of the most significant American lithographic artists of the nineteenth century provided illustrations for sheet music and a substantial number of their works are included in this collection.
Works by prominent Philadelphia composers, such as Benjamin Carr, Benjamin Cross, William Henry Fry, Francis Johnson, Alexander Reinagle, and Septimus Winner are to be found here. The collection also contains items for which Philadelphia served as the subject of either the music or illustration.