American Song Sheets

Broadsides and song sheets from nineteenth-century America.

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About the Digital Collection

In the 1800s, publishers printed the lyrics to popular songs, without their tunes, on small sheets called song sheets, handbills, or broadsides. These would often be illustrated with a woodcut scene or portrait and sold at gathering places where people sang together. Duke’s collection of broadside verse includes around 1800 of these ephemeral productions, from “The Star Spangled Banner” to “Pop Goes the Weasel,” forming a rich source for research on American society and culture. The American South and the Civil War era are especially well documented, including well over one hundred Confederate broadsides. The collection also includes carrier’s addresses, non-musical poetry, and other ephemeral verse.

TEI files are available for almost all items in the American Song Sheets collection. To obtain a copy, please send an email to

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Behind the Scenes of Documenting the Patron Request Workflow

by asc47 20 days ago

This post was authored by  Behind the Veil/Digital Collections intern Kristina Zapfe. From the outside, viewing digitized items or requesting one yourself is a straightforward activity. Browsing images in the Duke Digital Repository produces instantaneous access to images from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s collections, and requesting an item for digitization…
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