Guide to the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, Series 9: Domestic and Community Life
Portions of this collection are digitized

Collection ID:
DeVincent, Sam, 1918-1997
1827-1986; undated
Physical Description:
66 Boxes
Sam DeVincent loved music and art and began collecting sheet music with lithographs at an early age. Series 9: Domestic and Community Life documents family, love, marriage, home, and social organizations. An overview to the entire DeVincent collection is available here: Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music.

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The Domestic and Community Life series documents family, love, marriage, home, and social organizations. It does not include Health or Business items, which are included in separate series. Certain issues, such as women's rights, are in Series 2: Politics and Political Movements.
The material dates from the early 1800s (probably earlier) to the 1980s. Most pre-1840 imprints are not dated. Estimates have been made for the dates of many early imprints by checking publisher and address of the publisher in the "Index of Publishers, Engravers and Printers" in Volume III of Richard Wolfe's Secular Music in America 1801-1825: A Bibliography and in Oscar Sonneck's A Bibliography of Early Secular American Music. Several sheets that appear to be very old could not be dated by this method.
This series has 11 subseries:
Subseries 9.1: Adult Family Members, includes songs and instrumental compositions about Mother, Motherhood, Mother's Day, Mother-in-law, Father, Grandmother, Grandfather, and Great Grandfather, Aunts, Uncles, Sisters, Brothers, and Cousins. Close to 65% of this subseries is about Mothers.
Subseries 9.2: Children, includes songs and instrumental compositions about Babies and Children, including kidnapped, lost, homeless, orphan, and poor children. This subseries also includes Lullabies and "Sandman" music. Researchers looking for mother/child relationship music will want to look at both of these first two subseries. Songs about children dying are in Subseries 9.9.
Subseries 9.3: Dolls, Stories, and Toys, includes music about Cinderella, Jack and Jill, Little Red Riding Hood, Rip Van Winkle, Robinson Crusoe, and other storybook characters, and Dolls, Teddy Bears, Puppets, Marionettes, and Manikins.
Subseries 9.4: Songs about and Images of Men and Women, focuses on the cover image more than the lyrics. Note the Christy and Manning covers in Folder H. There are a great many more sheets about women than men, with women having close to 90% of the attention. Songs and instrumental compositions include Girl/Gal, Lady, and Women titles, and Bloomer Girl, Gibson Girl and Gibson man, Flapper, Vamp, and women's and men's Names.
i Subseries 9.5: Home, Neighborhood, Immigrants/Refugees, includes music about Bungalows, Cabins, Castles, Chateaux, Cottages, Home, House, Huts, Mansions, and Shacks; City, Neighborhood, and Town; Alley, Avenue, Highway, and Streets; and Immigrants and Refugees. Titles naming specific cities and towns are in Series 8: Geography, under their respective states or countries. More music about emigration is also in Series 8: Geography, especially under the Germany, Ireland, and Scotland subseries.
Subseries 9.6: Love, accounts for 18% of the entire series. Highlighted titles are Angel, Cupid, Darling, Dream, Flirting, Heaven, Jealousy, Kiss, Loveland, Sweetie/Sweetheart, Valentine, and Bachelor/Spinster. By far the largest section in this Subseries are general love songs.
Subseries 9.7: Marriage, accounts for 9% of the entire series. Highlighted subjects are Courting, Wedding, Wedding Rings, Bride/Bridegroom, Honeymoon, Married Life (often about the less blissful aspects), Anniversary, Widows, and Alimony/Divorce.
Subseries 9.8: Friendship and Social Organizations, includes songs and instrumental compositions about Friends, Buddies, Companions, Comrades, Mates, Pals, and Playmates. The Social Organization section includes music about the Boy, Girl, and Cub Scouts, and Campfire Girls, as well as the YMCA, American Legion, and numerous fraternal organizations such as the Eagles, Elks, Kiwanis, Lions, Masons, Odd Fellows, and Shriners.
Subseries 9.9: Age, Death, and Dying, includes music about growing old, being old, and dying. Also see Subseries 9.1 for some references to "old mother."
Subseries 9.10: Domestic Arts and Clothing, includes songs and instrumentals about home activities, such as Knitting, Sewing, Spinning, and Washing; and about clothing, such as Bonnets, Hats, and Footwear.
Subseries 9.11: Albums, Lockets, and Memories, contains songs and instrumentals that, for the most part, refer to family members or love interests. Music about photography is in a separate series.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
Arranged in 12 subseries.
  • 9.1: Adult Family Members
  • 9.2: Children
  • 9.3: Dolls, Stories, and Toys
  • 9.4: Songs about and Images of Men and Women
  • 9.5: Home, Neighborhood, and Immigrants/Refugees
  • 9.6: Love
  • 9.7: Marriage
  • 9.8: Friendship and Social Organizations
  • 9.9: Age, Death & Dying
  • 9.10: Domestic Arts, Clothing
  • 9.11: Albums, Lockets, and Memories
  • 9.12: Ephemera

NMAH Staff
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
This collection was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution in 1988 from Sam and Nancy Lee DeVincent.

Digital Content
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Using the Collection
Preferred Citation note
The Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Access note
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use note
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Materials in Other Organizations
Materials in Other Organizations
Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
This collection contains duplicates of materials in the Smithsonian collection, as well as materials acquired by Mr. DeVincent after the donation to the Smithsonian. The phonograph records described above were transferred to the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Donald J. Stubblebine Collection of Musical Theater and Motion Picture Sheet Music and Reference Material, 1843-2010 (AC1211)

Forms Part Of
Forms Part Of
Series 9: Domestic and Community Life forms part of the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music .
An ongoing, updated list of DeVincent topical series is available via the Smithsonian finding aid portal.

More Information

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012