American Popular Music and Entertainment: The Gay Nineties to the Great Depression

Allen Debus

Exploring a unique era in American musical and cultural history, the exhibit features sheet music, cylinders, discs, and phonographs from the extensive private collection of Allen G. Debus, the Morris Fishbein Professor of History of Science and Medicine at the University of Chicago. The collection includes 20,000 cylinders and discs and over 1,500 pages of sheet music. Lavishly printed with dramatic and compelling instructions, sheet music covers constituted the primary advertisements for music in the period. The exhibit chronicles the changing style of popular music, from Tin Pan Alley to jazz, as it reflects American culture during an era of rapid industrial growth and urbanization.