The Sheet Music Cover

During the Civil War, the sheet music industry was booming. Some songs sold hundreds of thousands of copies and became extremely popular all across the nation. Often, the sheet music was encapsulated in a highly-decorated and intricate cover. These usually depicted scenes related to the lyrics of the song, and some are in great detail. The cover to “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!” is relatively generic and yet extremely symbolic.  The vignette contains five images and each image references a song that Root worked on over the course of his long career. The title is printed very largely on the cover, taking up a lot of space and making a large image unnecessary. The decorative border and flowers also take up a lot of space, making smaller images more practical. “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!” was not the only song attached to this cover. Other publishing companies that used Root’s work also printed the cover. Although the cover is not unique to “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!” it is still important to understand and contextualize. By understanding the cover, one can better understand the business practices of Root & Cady and the sheet music industry during the Civil War.

Courtesy of Gettysburg College Special Collections

By exploring the image below, visitors to this page can learn more about the cover of “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!”