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American Songsters with Irish Content (Exhibit Case 5)
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An exhibit of material from the collection of Lewis Becker, Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law. March 13, 2006 – April 28, 2006 Falvey Memorial Library Villanova University

American Songsters with Irish Content (Exhibit Case 5)

Songsters of an Irish bent published in the United States tended, with some exceptions, to follow the pattern described in Case 4: the first half of the 19th Century saw the publication of generalized collections of songs of an Irish interest; the second half tended to see publications in gaudy pictorial covers designed to showcase a particular performer or composer.


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Diamond Songster: Containing the Most Approved…Irish Songs.
Baltimore: F.Lucas, 1812

This was one of the earliest publications in the United States with exclusively Irish content. This miniature book contains two separate parts, each with its own title page designating Irish content.

In the second half of the 19th century, songsters with exclusively Irish topics began to appear with greater frequency.  Perhaps the influx of Irish immigrants accounted for the increasing number of publications of material with Irish motifs.

Examples of songsters with Irish content

Harp of Erin Songster. Being a Selection of the Most Popular Irish, Scotch, Sentimental and Comic Songs.
New York: D. & J. Sadlier, 1847

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Irish National Songster: Containing a Choice Selection of Sentimental, Patriotic, and Comic Songs.
New York: P. J. Kenedy, 1876

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Consists of two volumes, The Erin Go Bragh Songster and The Faugh-A-Ballagh Song Book.

The Emerald, or Book of Irish Melodies.
New York: Dick and Fitzgerald, [1863]

Divided into two parts: The Shamrock, A Songster and the Charley O’Malley Songster

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De Witt, R.M. De Witt’s (Irish) “Forget-Me-Not” Songster.
New York: De Witt Publishing House, [1872]

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The Universal Irish Song Book. A Complete Collection of the Songs and Ballads of Ireland.
New York: P.J. Kenedy, 1897

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Irish songsters of the second half of the 19th century sometimes favored illustrated paper covers like their American-content counterparts.

Barney Brallaghan’s Songster.
New York: Song & Toy Depot, n. d.

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Rory O’More Songster.
New York: Philip J. Cozans, n. d.

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C.A. McElroy’s Come and Have a Laugh with Me.
New York: Popular Publ. House, n. d.

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Sheridan & Flynn’s Out O’Jail Songster.   
New York: Dick’s Popular Publ. House, n. d.

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Wehman’s Irish Song Book.  No. 4
New York: Wehman Bros., n. d.

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