Soundtracks of Empire: “The White Man’s Burden,” the War in the Philippines, the“Ideals of America,” and Tin Pan Alley
America’s War with Spain inspired Tin Pan Alley music publishers to generate popular songs to accompany America’s military victories and subsequent occupation of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and the Philippines. By expanding the genre of the so-called “coon song” to include the people of these islands, composers and publishers contributed to the domestication of empire in fin-de-siècle America.
Keywords :Chicago World's Columbian Exposition; "Coon Song"; Hawaii; Minstrelsy; Philippines; Ragtime; Spanish-American War; Tin Pan Alley.
- 1 Robert L. Beisner, Twelve Against Empire: The Anti-Imperialists, 1898-1900 (New York: McGraw-Hill, (...)
- 2 There is a growing literature on the War with Spain and the Philippine Insurgency. An excellent ov (...)
1If the Civil War represented a “new birth of freedom” for mid-nineteenth-century Americans, the War in the Philippines heralded a similar possibility for Americans living in the fin-de-siècle era. Exhorted (baited?) by Rudyard Kipling’s 1899 poem to “Take Up the White Man’s Burden” in the Philippines, thousands of American soldiers answered the call to arms and made short work of Spain’s efforts to retain control of its colonies in the Pacific and Caribbean. Not all Americans, of course, flocked to the call of war. Some like Mark Twain, William Jennings Bryan, and Susan B. Anthony decried imperialism as contrary to America’s republican ideals.1 But Woodrow Wilson, recently appointed president of Princeton University, and U.S. Senator Albert Beveridge would have none of this dissent. Standing on the threshold of an important career in national politics, Wilson gave one of the most important, albeit little remembered, speeches of his career to support US efforts to retain control of the Philippines in the wake of the Philippine Insurgency that followed the American occupation of the islands. In “The Ideals of America” (1902), Wilson likened the Battle of Manila to the Battle of Trenton, condemned the war’s critics, and tellingly asserted: “liberty is the privilege of maturity, of self-control, of self-mastery and a thoughtful care for righteous dealings—that some peoples may have it, therefore others may not.” This was exactly what Senator Beveridge had tried to get across a couple of years earlier, when he declared about the Filipinos: “How shall they, in the twinkling of an eye, be exalted to the heights of self-governing peoples which required a thousand years for us to reach, Anglo-Saxon though we are?”2
- 3 Not much has been produced about these songs and their importance for America’s imperial wars at t (...)
2 Wilson, a Democrat, and Beveridge, a Republican, may have scripted the policy libretto for America’s imperial adventures overseas, but the tune was called in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco by Tin Pan Alley songsters like Charles K. Harris (Ma Filipino Babe); J. A. Wallace (Yankee Doodle Dewey); and Edward M. Wickes and Ben Jansen (He Laid Away a Suit of Gray to Wear the Union Blue) to name only a few.3 Although none of these songs reached the status of Julia Ward Howe’s Civil War anthem, Battle Hymn of the Republic, they signaled the nationalistic rapture many Americans felt, at least temporarily, as they set off to make the Philippines safe for democracy. Freedom, empire, high national purpose, and no small measure of joy (call it the pursuit of imperial happiness) defined this moment in time—one that would have profound consequences for the United States and the world.
- 4 I derive the phrase “emotional contagion” from Frans de Waal, The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons (...)
- 5 On the breadth of depth of racialized and engendered thinking about the War in the Philippines, se (...)
3 Importantly, the joys of imperial pursuits were also laden with deep anxieties, not so much about the rightness of war, but about the “burden” of adding to America’s already existing “race problems.” This last point is worth thinking about and goes to the crux of how music publishers had their cake(walk) and ate(danced) it too. On the one hand, songs of empire helped build support for the War with Spain. On the other, these songs, sometimes called “parlor songs,” encouraged an “emotional contagion” about empire that resonated with already existing feelings about race and gender.4 At once deeply racialized and engendered, these songs underscored thinking about “outliers” in America’s “outlying possessions” as being incapable of reaching, as Beveridge put it, “the heights of self-governing peoples” because they were racially debased.5
- 6 I am currently at work on a biography of Bloom.
4 Of the many music publishers, composers, and lyricists who outfitted Americans with soundtracks for empire, one, Sol Bloom, is particularly interesting. Bloom was the impresario who organized the entertainment concessions along the Midway Plaisance at the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. He made a small fortune off this endeavor, but the larger fortune he could have made—but didn’t—stuck forever in his craw. Bloom actually composed the tune to accompany the “hootchy-kootchy” belly dancers in the Algerian Village. Almost instantly the tune became—and remains to this day—the quintessential orientalist ditty (which you can find at: http://www.shira.net/streets-of-cairo.htm). Bloom wrote it, but in a mistake he would never repeat, failed to copyright it.6
5 With the money he made from running Midway shows, Bloom followed his passion for music and his show-business talents directly into Chicago’s booming popular music industry. Flush with success and capital from his Midway triumph, Bloom began soliciting and publishing tunes that he hoped would capture the fancy of mass audiences. He scored some early success with Nellie Revell’s Don’t Send Me Away, Daddy, but determined his play list lacked one particular genre of music, “the coon song,” that was taking the nation by storm in the late 1890s. In 1900, he filled this gap with the wildly popular “Coon, Coon, Coon” that helped establish Bloom’s growing reputation
- 7 Bloom, 147. Leo Friedman, comp. and Gene Jefferson, lyrics, Coon, Coon, Coon (Chicago: Sol Bloom, (...)
as America’s “music man” and embed the coon song into the ongoing cultural reconstruction of the United States after the Civil War as an instrument of imperialism.7
- 8 David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (Lond (...)
6 Bloom’s genius as an ideological innovator who enabled Americans to derive some joy from taking up the “white man’s burden” is difficult to comprehend apart from some understanding of the origin of the “coon song.” Like any complex artistic creation, it has multiple creation stories associated with it. Linguistically, according to historian David Roediger, the association of the word “coon” with African Americans dates to the mid eighteenth century. In the 1840s, blackface minstrels, through the character of Zip Coon, turned the word into a white supremacist slur. But the conflation of word and song into a distinctive musical genre occurred after the Civil War at the end of the nineteenth century.8 Most musicologists credit African American performer Ernest Hogan’s million-seller All Coons Look Alike to Me, published in 1896, as foundational.
7Hogan’s chorus perfectly captured the racialized core of the song:
All coons look alike to me,
I’ve got another beau, you see,
And he’s just as good to me as you, nig!
Ever tried to be;
He spends his money free,
I know we can’t agree,
So I don’t like you no how,
- 10 Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff, Ragged but Right: Black Traveling Shows, “Coon Songs,” and the Dark P (...)
8Add to these lyrics the sheet music’s demeaning cover art and a tune that white children routinely whistled to demean blacks and one gets somewhere near the molten core of the popular mood at the moment the U.S. Supreme Court handed down Plessey v. Ferguson, a decision that lent legitimacy to racial apartheid in the United States.10
- 11 Hogan quoted in Maurice Peress, Dvorak to Duke Ellington: A Conductor Explores America's Music and (...)
- 12 On minstrelsy, see especially Alexander Saxton, “Blackface Minstrelsy and Jacksonian Ideology,” A (...)
9 Why did Hogan write this song? Was he selling out to white audiences? Was the song the product of depression and self-hatred? Hogan would live until 1912 and would admit that All Coons Look Alike to Me “caused a lot of trouble in and out of show business.” But, as a million-seller, it made him a lot of money. He also claimed that it opened performance spaces for African American and white performers alike who otherwise would have faced extreme hardship in an era marked by prolonged economic depressions and financial panics. Some scholars have agreed. Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff, for instance, have suggested that coon songs, as sung by women “coon shouters,” paved the way for acceptance of the “blues” and ragtime.11 There is much to debate about the merits of Hogan’s tactics—and those of fellow African American composer Will Marion Cook--in their war of position to find paying outlets for African American artistic expressions. What is clear, however, is that if “coon songs” did open some possibilities for commercial success for some African Americans, the commercial success of those songs just as quickly opened the eyes of white music publishers to their potential for generating profits. With access to greater financial resources than African American composers, publishers like Sol Bloom and Leo Feist began saturating mass markets with compositions by some black, but mostly white composers, who sought opportunities to work with novel and modern musical idioms by anchoring them to the bedrock of familiar forms of white supremacy found in blackface minstrelsy—a performance tradition that had also mastered the art of narrating in musical (and emotional) form contemporary social, economic, and political issues. What Bloom and his fellow “Tin Pan Alley” song writers and publishers did was update, by expanding, the repertoire of “coon songs” to include commentary on America’s “splendid little” war with Spain and its consequences for America’s new beginning as an overseas imperial power.12
10 This was a stroke of artistic—and commercial—genius. It was also hard work. Music publishers and composers alike operated in a world where success, measured by profit, hinged on their ability to understand through emotional cognition the yearnings of their audiences. But publishers and composers never thought of themselves solely in terms of satisfying popular tastes. They actively sought to shape them. Following the example of Charles K. Harris, who had planted “song pluggers” in vaudeville theatres to drum up applause for new releases like his hit tune After the Ball is Over, music publishers actively promoted their songs in order to shape popular desires. But more than merely promoting songs, music publishers produced them on a factory scale, generating vast quantities of theme-driven songs that would enable them to both test and shape markets for tunes that would become “hits.” By the end of the century, this process of give-and-take between composers, publishers, and audiences resulted in the creation of Tin Pan alley—more of a sound than a place—that anchored its early identity and success to scoring music that addressed prevailing anxieties about the economic and political fault lines spreading across American society in the aftermath of the 1893 Depression as Americans wrestled with the uncomfortable reality that the United States, like Europe, was prone to a deadly run of political assassinations, culminating in the 1901 murder of President McKinley.
- 13 Kristin Hoganson has launched a fruitful investigation of how domesticity conjugated imperialism i (...)
11 Not nearly enough has been written about Tin Pan Alley music publishers and composers and their role as interlocutors between ideology and popular taste in this context of real and perceived mayhem. Even less has been written about the performance spaces for these songs, especially the parlors of middle-class homes, where the process of domesticating empire actually occurred.13 Two things are striking about this process: first, the speed with which music publishers set to generating musical scores about the War with Spain and the Philippine Occupation; second, the ingenuity they showed in adapting “coon songs” to helping middle-class audiences develop in their own domestic spaces an emotional and intellectual connection to sustaining empire.
- 14 George Dewey was naval commander at the battle of Manila.
- 15 Anne Cipriano Venzon, America’s War with Spain. A Selected Bibliography (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Pre (...)
- 16 These songs can be found in the Mills Music Library at the University of Wisconsin, the Music Divi (...)
12 The immediate catalyst for mass-producing songs in support of the War with Spain came with the sinking of the Maine. In 1898 and 1899, over 100 pieces of sheet music carried titles like Brave Dewey and His Men14 (with the lyrics: “and Dewey brave/quick orders gave,/which made new history”) and the Charge of the Roosevelt Riders and Teddy, Teddy Rough and Ready. These helped make heroes out of mortals and fan the flames of war fever and nationalism.15 What is so revealing about these songs is not so much that they promoted war (for instance, Bloom’s own composition, In Memoriam of the Maine). What is striking is that so many compositions attempted to use the war to bleach out the “bloody shirt” of still-lingering Civil War memories and erase memories of the bitter sectional conflict. In 1898, for instance, Charles Graham composed and F. A. Mills published Fighting Side by Side the Blue and Gray. “Forgotten is the bitter past/North and South United,” ran the lyrics, “and so we strike for Liberty and Cuba now knighted.” Not to be outdone, Coupon Music in Boston published Laura Leigh’s We’ll All be Good Yankees in a Fight. Best selling songster, Paul Dressler also went to work and, in 1901, composed and published There’s No North or South Today. His lyrics about a parade of Civil War veterans bear notice for their generational tug: “’Father, come tell me who are those men,’ I heard a youngster say. ‘Although they are old, with a step firm and bold/They march in blue, some in gray? Why are they marching along side by side/Tears in every eye?’ The old man just choked back a sob as he turned to the youngster and made this reply:/’There is always a West, There is always an East, Where the sun shall rise, they say:/But we’re marching abreast./From the East to the West./For there’s no North or South today.” Edward M. Wickes and Ben Jansen underscored these sentiments with their ballad, He Laid Away a Suit of Gray to Wear the Union Blue, as did H. A. Brumbaugh with Re-United States. One of the co-founders of International Harvester, John J. Glessner, who was an amateur composer himself, outdid the others when he titled his nationalistic song “The Yankee-Dixie.”16
- 17 General James Rusling, “Interview with President William McKinley,” The Christian Advocate 22 Janu (...)
- 18 Robert Beisner, Twelve Against Empire (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968); Paul Kramer, The Blood of Gov (...)
13 Yet, for all of the joy expressed by songs about Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba, about Dewey’s sinking of the Spanish fleet in Manila, and possibilities for putting to rest bitter sectional memories from the Civil War, there remained the troubling question: “now what?” No less a figure than President William McKinley struggled to find an answer. In remarks to visiting church leaders, he explained how he paced the floors of the White House. Then, as he explained: “I am not ashamed to tell you gentlemen, that I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance more than one night. And one night late it came to me this way…1) That we could not give them back to Spain—that would be cowardly and dishonorable; 2) that we could not turn them over to France and Germany—our commercial rivals in the Orient—that would be bad business and discreditable; 3) that we could not leave them to themselves—they were unfit for self-government—and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain’s was; and 4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died. And then I went to bed, and went to sleep, and slept soundly, and next morning I sent for the chief engineer of the War Department (our map-maker), and I told him to put the Philippines on the map of the United States (pointing to a large map on the wall of his office), and there they are, and there they will stay while I am President!”17 McKinley’s revelation no doubt helped him sleep well, but as it became clear that the US government intended to occupy the Philippines and other islands acquired from Spain, popular enthusiasm for the war gave way to sharp debate about empire. 18As the nation divided, music publishers hit on a way to frame the debate in a way that would make money. They expanded the narrative structure of the “coon song” to address the “race problems” posed by the addition of Filipinos, Cubans, Hawaiians, and “others” to the American orbit.
14 Composer and, by the late 1890s, a music publisher in his own right, Charles K. Harris, helped lead the way with his Ma Filipino Babe. It appeared in his songbook right between My Genuine African Blond and Mammy’s Little Alligator Bait and bears quoting in full:
On a war boat from Manila,
Steaming proudly o’er the foam,
There were many sailors’ hearts fill’d with regret;
Gazing backwards at the islands,
Where they’d spent such happy days
Making love to ev’ry pretty girl they met;
When up spoke a colored sailor lad
With bright eyes all aglow,
‘Just take a look at ma gal’s photograph.’
How the white crew laugh’d and chaffed him.
Where shiny face they saw.
But he said: “I love ma Filipino baby.”
She’s ma Filipino baby,
She’s ma treasure and ma pet.
There’s no yaller gal that’s dearer,
Though her face is black as jet
For her lips are sweet as honey,
And her heart is pure I know;
She’s ma pretty blackfaced Filipino baby.
In a little rustic cottage
In the far off Philippines,
Sits a little black-faced maiden all alone,
Waiting for sailor lover;
Though he’s black as black can be,
Yet she loves him and her heart for him does yearn.
Suddenly she hears his dear voice,
As he cries out, ‘Carolin,
I’ve come back to the only gal I love.’
And that night there was a wedding,
All the ship’s crew gathered there.
- 20 Peggy Pascoe, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (New York: (...)
- 21 For a variation on this theme, see also James G. Dewey, Ma Filipino Baby: A Coon
15On one level, this song is about a touching reunion between two lovers separated by the fortunes of war. And the song certainly reflected the reality of African American troops fighting in the Philippines. But, Harris complicates the story by invoking terms that went to the core of prevailing fears in the United States about miscegenation.20 The chorus, with its refrain about “no yaller gal that’s dearer” called to mind the growing concern in the United States about mixed races, while at the same time drawing attention to alleged similarities between Filipinos with their faces “black as jet” and African Americans. On one level, the song, with its reference to a “war boat” seemed to extol the virtues of the war in the Philippines. But, on another level, by suggesting a bond between an African American soldier and a dark-skinned Filipino, with not so subtle references to the soldier’s “black Filipino baby” (a reference both to his lover and to their offspring?), Harris brilliantly played to imperialists and anti-imperialists alike. He never called the rightness of the war into question (the battleship steams “proudly”), but, by underscoring the mutual attraction of African American males and Filipinas, he did call into question the fitness of Filipinos for anything like eventual American citizenship.21
- 22 James O’Dea and William Penn, My Honolulu Queen (New York: Sol Bloom, 1899) from ibid, http://www. (...)
16 Other songsters, drawing on deeply rooted racist stereotypes of African Americans, made the same case about other people recently embraced by US imperial expansion. In “My Honolulu Queen,” composed by John O’Dea and William Penn and published by Bloom, the chorus sang out: “For she’s the belle of all the Honolulu ladies,/Just the sweetest ever was seen,/And although her face a dusky shade is,/She is my Honolulu Queen./For she’s the Queen.”22 Similar sentiments echoed from Lee Johnson’s “My Honolulu Lady,” a piece of sheet music billed as “The Latest Coon Conquest.”
I went down to a swell coon ball
Last night and took my bride;
She set dem crazy.
I lead dat colored festival,
With Lulu by my side.
My love divine.
We eat de pigeon wing,
De coons did shout and sing,
When we did the Honolulu Pas-ma-la.
Den we glided by de judge’s stand,
De coons and wenches sighed
17Linking newly minted colonial subjects to African Americans and their alleged lasciviousness was one tactic used by music publishers to racialize imperial discourse by harnessing demeaning images of African Americans to images of dark-skinned people who now found themselves under the American imperial umbrella. At the core of these songs was the constant reminder that the United States had a “race problem” of its own with African Americans and that becoming an imperial republic ran the risk of adding to an already existing social problem. Magnifying this problem was the rhetoric of desire. Clearly, the “wenches” in My Honolulu Lady and the “pretty blackfaced Filipino baby” in Ma Filipino Babe drew on sexual stereotypes long imposed by whites on African American women to buttress political and social apartheid in the United States. But African Americans were only one point of comparison for Tin Pan Alley songsters.
- 24 Paul Reubens, Pow-Wow Dance of the Philippine Igorrotes (New York: Sol Bloom, 1904) in Music Divis (...)
18 Another was revealed by Paul Reubens’s composition, Pow-Wow Dance of the Philippine Igorrotes, inspired by the Igorot exhibit that was part of the Philippines Reservation of 1,200 Filipinos at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. For the cover of this dance music, the publisher included this telling description: “When the Igorrotes first arrived at the St. Louis fair, the cold weather made it necessary to keep them indoors. With the advance of Spring, these children of the Philippines were taken out into the sunshine. Their pleasure at the change was expressed in prolonged dancing. Forming into clans, or bands, these Indians of the Archipelago continued the performance until compelled by those in charge to stop for rest.” To be sure, there was something alluring in the anti-modernist exoticism of the Igorots, but calling Filipinos “Indians of the Archipelago” also served to remind Americans of the not-so-distant wars on the Upper Plains and evoked associations with “savagery.”24
19 In some respects, one might argue that these stereotypes of sexual wantonness and savagery simply reflected dominant popular opinions of most white Americans. But these songs did much more. Like photographs and cartoons that helped Americans visualize empire, these songs, with their graphic covers, made empire visible and audible. And in the context of the time and the question being debated as what to do with the occupants of America’s imperial archipelago, the songs carried important implications for policy. Should possibilities of future citizenship even be entertained for islanders? The songs made a positive answer seem remote at best and may well have contributed to the strange contortions in how islands that formed America’s imperial archipelago came to be considered as “outlying possessions,” or “insular possessions,” or “incorporated territories.” The distinctions may seem arcane, but, in the series of Insular Cases decided by the Supreme Court in the early twentieth century, the Court held that U.S. sovereignty over the islands did not convey citizenship rights to its inhabitants. Coon songs, as much as any other medium, certainly helped set the stage for these legal contortions.
- 25 Hoganson, The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920 (Chapel Hill: University of Car (...)
- 26 Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood.
20 To appreciate the full effect of these songs on America’s new, post-Civil War beginnings with the Spanish-American War and subsequent war of occupation in the Philippines, it is important to bear in mind that the content of these songs played out on keyboards and in tuneful voices raised within the domestic spaces of middle-class households largely controlled by white women. So, how exactly, were these songs incorporated within the domestic sphere? The answer is that we do not know. But Kristin Hoganson’s important Consumer’s Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920 provides some clues. According to Hoganson, “countless women in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century United States dealt with the confines of domesticity by turning their homes into imperial outposts and by escaping—if only imaginatively—into the wider world.” (p. 255). Within the domestic “imperium,” coon songs, played in the new rhythms of “ragged time,” may well have served as handmaidens of the processes of modernization, cosmopolitanism, and consumerism that, in Hoganson’s words, transformed the home into “a global midway.”25 One might also add this observation: songs about war and empire provided the emotional contagion for acquiring overseas territory and for denying colonial subjects human rights. What music publishers succeeded in doing was rooting imperialist sentiments in middle-class parlors and making imperialism understandable in terms of both race and gender, suggesting that to the allures of empire—both sexual and economic—had to be added concerns about making people deemed racially inferior future citizens of the United States.26
- 27 Charles K. Harris, comp. and lyrics, Break the News to Mother (Milwaukee, WI: Charles K. Harris, [ (...)
21We can never know how many Americans turned the pages of Harris’s patriotic hit, Break the News to Mother, a song initially written in 1891 about a fire fighter but subsequently rewritten to extol the virtues of a soldiers who died in a valiant effort to save the American flag, and then raised their voices to sing Bloom’s Coon, Coon, Coon. But until we can at least imagine the powerful emotional entanglements at work here, we may find ourselves thinking about the American fin-de-siècle primarily in terms of “rooted cosmopolitanism.” What I am suggesting is that we also need to consider the emergence of a “rooted imperialism” made possible, in part, by the articulation of ideology through music. Without such a concept, we will never be able to understand the appeal of ragtime music or be able to understand the “ragged time” of America’s global expansion at century’s turn. 27
1 Robert L. Beisner, Twelve Against Empire: The Anti-Imperialists, 1898-1900 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968). The literature on American empire is expanding. Recent insights are developed in James T. Campbell, Race, Nation, and Empire in American History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2007) and David Brody, Visualizing American Empire: Orientalism and Imperialism in the Philippines (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).
2 There is a growing literature on the War with Spain and the Philippine Insurgency. An excellent overview of the American war in the Philippines is provided by Paul Kramer, Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2006); Woodrow Wilson, “The Ideals of America,” The Atlantic Monthly 90 (1902): 721-734; Albert J. Beveridge, Congressional Record, Senate, 56th Congress, 1st session, Jan. 9, 1900, 704-712.
3 Not much has been produced about these songs and their importance for America’s imperial wars at the beginning of the twentieth century. A useful starting point is: “Crucible of Empire: The Spanish American War,” PBS, 1999 http://www.pbs.org/crucible/frames/_music.html.
4 I derive the phrase “emotional contagion” from Frans de Waal, The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society (New York: Harmony Books, 2009), 67.
5 On the breadth of depth of racialized and engendered thinking about the War in the Philippines, see Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996); and, Kristin Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998).
6 I am currently at work on a biography of Bloom.
7 Bloom, 147. Leo Friedman, comp. and Gene Jefferson, lyrics, Coon, Coon, Coon (Chicago: Sol Bloom, ) in Library of Congress, American Memory Project.
8 David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (London: Verso, 1991), 97-100.
9 Ernest Hogan comp. and lyrics, All Coons Look Alike to Me, New York: M. Widmark, 1896, in Detroit Public Library, E. Azalia Hackley Collection.
10 Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff, Ragged but Right: Black Traveling Shows, “Coon Songs,” and the Dark Pathway to Blues and Jazz (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007), 14.
11 Hogan quoted in Maurice Peress, Dvorak to Duke Ellington: A Conductor Explores America's Music and Its African American Roots (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 39; Abbott and Seroff, 23, 35-38.
12 On minstrelsy, see especially Alexander Saxton, “Blackface Minstrelsy and Jacksonian Ideology,” American Quarterly 27 (1975): 3-28; and Eric Lott, Love& Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).
13 Kristin Hoganson has launched a fruitful investigation of how domesticity conjugated imperialism in Consumers’ Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007), but does not address the popularity of “coon song” sheet music.
14 George Dewey was naval commander at the battle of Manila.
15 Anne Cipriano Venzon, America’s War with Spain. A Selected Bibliography (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2003), 187-194.
16 These songs can be found in the Mills Music Library at the University of Wisconsin, the Music Division of the Library of Congress, and the James Francis Driscoll Collection at the Newberry Library.
17 General James Rusling, “Interview with President William McKinley,” The Christian Advocate 22 January 1903, 17. Reprinted in Daniel Schirmer and Stephen Rosskamm Shalom, eds., The Philippines Reader (Boston: South End Press, 1987), 22–23.
18 Robert Beisner, Twelve Against Empire (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968); Paul Kramer, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006).
19 Charles K. Harris, Charles K. Harris’ Complete Songster (Chicago: Frederick J. Drake Co., 1903), 88-90. The sheet music cover is reproduced from Charles H. Templeton, Sr., Sheet Music Collection, Special Collections, Mississippi State University Libraries. For another cover for this music see: the PBS “Crucible of Empire” Website: http://www.pbs.org/crucible/frames/_music.html.
20 Peggy Pascoe, What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).
21 For a variation on this theme, see also James G. Dewey, Ma Filipino Baby: A Coon
Simplicity with Rag-time Chorus (San Francisco: Wright and Kochman, 1899) in Mary
Kay Duggan, 19th-Century California Sheet Music, University of California, Berkeley
22 James O’Dea and William Penn, My Honolulu Queen (New York: Sol Bloom, 1899) from ibid, http://www.mip.berkeley.edu/csmp_img/cahs_imgs.5/cahs0003880010.jpg.
23 Lee Johnson, “My Honolulu Lady” (San Francisco: Zeno Mauvais Co., 1898) and his Ma Honolulu Man: An Oriental Coon Song (San Francisco: Lee Johnson & Co., 1899), both from http://www.mip.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/csmp_search_new.cgi.
24 Paul Reubens, Pow-Wow Dance of the Philippine Igorrotes (New York: Sol Bloom, 1904) in Music Division, Library of Congress.
25 Hoganson, The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920 (Chapel Hill: University of Carolina Press, 2007), 254.
26 Hoganson, Fighting for American Manhood.
27 Charles K. Harris, comp. and lyrics, Break the News to Mother (Milwaukee, WI: Charles K. Harris, [1897-1898]), in Historic American Sheet Music, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, also available from Library of Congress, American Memory.Top of page
Robert W. Rydell, « Soundtracks of Empire: “The White Man’s Burden,” the War in the Philippines, the“Ideals of America,” and Tin Pan Alley », European journal of American studies [Online], Special issue | 2012, document 7, Online since 29 March 2012, connection on 22 May 2013. URL : http://ejas.revues.org/9712Top of page