Posts

Sousa and Baseball: Bringing American Icons Together

Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Champaign, Illinois, recently opened “Sousa and His League of Players: America’s Music and the Golden Age of Baseball,” on view through July 2011. Special thanks to Sousa Archive Center Director, Scott Schwartz, for this guest post.  

Sheet music from the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music held in the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History.

The University of Illinois’ 2010 American Music Month celebration will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Sousa Band’s World Tour 1910-1911 and Sousa’s love of baseball. His band’s musicians served as his baseball team whenever they played against other bands’ and communities’ teams during their unprecedented concert tour around the world.  This November’s celebration includes the opening of a special new exhibit, America’s Golden Age of Baseball through Music, using historic sheet music and rare baseball cards from the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, and the Ronald S. Gabriel Baseball Memorabilia Collection on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center.  In addition, the University of Illinois bands will be giving a special performance in which they will be recreating the Sousa Band’s concerts given during their World Tour. Special performances include, “Rounding the Bases, Circling the Globe: Sousa’s World Tour and Baseball” and a lecture entitled, “The Essence of Uncle Sam: John Philip Sousa’s 1911 World Tour” on November 14, and “The Baseball Music Project” performed by the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Bob Thompson as conductor and Dave Winfield as host and narrator on November 12. 

Historic baseball cards from the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana and the Ronald S. Gabriel Baseball Memorabilia collections held in the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History.

Music and baseball have played an integral role in the life and culture of America for nearly two and a quarter centuries, but it was not until the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when the two forms of popular entertainment became fully entwined as the country’s greatest past times.  Songs like the “Base Ball Quickstep,” The Umpire Is a Most Unhappy Man,” “Take Your Girl to the Ball Game,” “The Baseball Man for Me,” “Let’s Get the Umpire’s Goat,” “Home Run Bill,” “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and “Three Strikes Two-step,” dedicated specifically to John Philip Sousa’s baseball team, vividly portray America’s love affair with the national game.  For music and sports scholars and aficionados the years 1900-1920 are considered the golden age of the John Philip Sousa Band and baseball in America. The 1908 World Series is considered the greatest and most controversial baseball series of the twentieth century and the Sousa Band’s World Tour of 1910-1911 is undoubtedly one of the most unique music public relations efforts by a single individual to introduce the early twentieth-century world to American music, culture, and baseball. 

We invite you to join us as we celebrate through concerts, lectures, master classes and exhibitions, John Philip Sousa’s and baseball’s impact on your nation’s diverse music and cultural heritage.  For further information on our programming and exhibitions please visit www.sousaarchives.org  or call 217-244-9309.

*amazing* loans at Affiliates this fall

More than 25 amazing and unique artifacts are on the move from the Smithsonian to Affiliates in six states,  from September to November this year.  This concentration of extraordinary activity gives testament to months (and sometimes years!) of hard work and planning by Smithsonian and Affiliate staffs alike. 

“Americans unable to visit the Smithsonian in Washington now have an opportunity to see some amazing Smithsonian artifacts from our collections in their own communities,” said Harold Closter, Affiliations Director.  “Something special happens when an artifact returns to its location of origin or joins an exhibit where it can be seen in a new context. Thanks to our Affiliates, the Smithsonian has a strong, visible presence in every part of our country.”

From the NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY:

Lexington's skeletal head, next to its image while alive.

The fall season kicked off in Kentucky, site of the 2010 World Equestrian Games.  The International Museum of the Horse borrowed the complete skeleton of Lexington, the most famous 19th-century American racehorse, returning him to his birthplace 160 years later.   Read more about this amazing loan in the upcoming Fall 2010 edition of The Affiliate newsletter. 

Isn’t Monopoly the way most of us learned about finance and economics?  A solid gold, jewel-encrusted Monopoly game from the Museum’s gem collection was unveiled with great fanfare in October at the Museum of American Finance on Wall Street in New York City.  While students competed in a Monopoly tournament, the artifact’s creator, jeweler Sidney Mobell, spoke about this one-of-a-kind artwork.   

From the SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM:

Barthe's almost 3' Blackberry Woman

Artist Richmond Barthe’s bronze sculpture Blackberry Woman will soon be on view at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi for the inaugural exhibition in its new African American gallery.  Barthe grew up in Mississippi, and was inspired by the women he encountered there in his childhood.  How elegantly appropriate for this sculpture to return to the genesis of its inspiration!

In November, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico will display three paintings from SAAM’s Vidal Collection by legendary 18- 19th-century Puerto Rican Old Master, José Campeche.  These inclusions in a definitive retrospective of Campeche’s work represent the first loans ever between these two important art museums, a signficiant accomplishment.

Likewise, SAAM’s painting by Charmion von Wiegand “Nothing that is wrong in principle can be right in practice” will be part of the Rubin Museum’s Grain of Emptiness: Buddhism-inspired Contemporary Art exhibition, the Museum’s first loan to this NYC Affiliate.

 From the ARCHIVES CENTER at the National Museum of American History:  

Detail from the illustrated sheet music, Oh! You Babe Ruth

The Archives Center is making a significant contribution to the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music’s Sousa and His League of Players: America’s Music and the Golden Age of Baseball exhibition, marking the 100th anniversary of the Sousa Band’s World Tour.  With 11 baseball cards (including Ty Cobb’s) and several examples of illustrated sheet music (including Oh! You Babe Ruth and Stars of the National Game music), this exhibition will be the core of the University’s 2010 American Music Month Celebration.

From the NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN:

In an unexpected request, the Museum has loaned a 19th-century Sioux flute and hide scraper from the Dakota Territory to the National Museum of American Jewish History.  What’s the connection?  When NMAJH opens its brand new building on Independence Mall this November, part of the history it will tell is the western expansion of Jewish Americans, and the kinds of peoples and objects they encountered along the way.   

And from the MUSEUM CONSERVATION INSTITUTE:

Within the Emperor's Garden - on view at Flushing Town Hall

MCI’s extraordinary object, the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion, made its way between two Affiliates this fall, from Texas to Flushing, New York.  Flushing Town Hall is located in one of New York City’s largest Asian communities, a perfect context for this 1:5 scale model replica from the Imperial Garden in the Forbidden City in Bejing.  Read more about the deinstallation and NYC installation of this object.

THANK YOU to all of our Smithsonian colleagues for their work on these loans, and for our Affiliate friends who so consistently collaborate with us to bring the Smithsonian to their neighborhoods.