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Collection Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1870 to 1885

Introduction to Music Published in America, 1870-1885

In 1870 the Library of Congress became the repository for all music submitted for copyright registration. In the ensuing decade, more than twenty-two thousand items of musical interest were deposited. Some items, because of their book-like format (for example, hymnbooks and opera scores) were separated from the music deposits and either cataloged or simply laid aside. From time to time, other deposits were moved to various collections in the Library because of musical or historical considerations. The Music Division of the Library was formally established in 1896 and assumed custody of the remaining music deposits. It is these deposits, with the addition of some music that had previously been removed, that form this online collection. The collection documents the attitudes and tastes of a bygone era with music of many varieties and many origins, all of it published in the United States between 1870 and 1885.

Please note that all topical (subject matter) links included in these essays represent random samplings only and are not inclusive of the the full scope of the collection. Although we hope to complete topical indexing for the entire collection, it is not fully available at this time.

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