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Sources on World War I Songs


My first recommendation would be Paul Fussell, ed., THE NORTON BOOK OF MODERN WAR (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1991.). Fussell has assembled poems, prose, and even some songs from participants and observers in WWI, the Spanish-Civil War, WWII, and the Wars in Asia. While his collection presents a broad coverage of the British and American participation in these wars, you won't find much depth concerning "the other side." However, since you mentioned that you wanted to focus on Britain and France, this work might be of some use. Be warned that Fussell focuses more on the written word than on song, however there are at least three included -- "The Reason Why," "For You But Not For Me (The Bells of Hell)," and "The Old Battalion." (no sheet music -- just the lyrics).

My second recommendation is another book by Fussell: THE GREAT WAR AND MODERN MEMORY (London: Oxford University Press, 1975).

My next recommendations come from David R. Woodward and Robert Franklin Maddox, eds., AMERICA AND WORLD WAR I: A SELECTED ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ENGLISH-LANGUAGE SOURCES (New York: Garland Publishing, 1986). I plug this book as often as possible because the first editor is my professor and the second is currently my boss, but also because it has been an invaluable resource. I would certainly recommend it to any researcher of the First World War. I am including works that focus on the AEF because they may have useful bibliographies.

Braley, Berton. IN CAMP AND TRENCH:SONGS OF THE FIGHTING FORCES. New York: George H. Doran, Co., 1918. 84 pp.

Brophy, John, and Eric Patridge. THE LONG TRAIL: WHAT THE BRITISH SOLDIERS SANG AND SAID IN THE GREAT WAR OF 1914- 1918. London: Andre Deutsch, 1965. 239 pp. (revision of 1931 ed. titled SONGS AND SLANG OF THE BRITISH SOLDIER, 1914-1918)

Cary, Melbert B., Jr. MADEMOISELLE FROM ARMENTIERES. New York: Press of the Woolly Wale, 1930-1935. 2 vols. (collection of the many verses of this song sung by Americans and British)

Garrett, Erwin Clarkson. TRENCH BALLADS AND OTHER VERSES. Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co., 1919. 134 pp. (focuses on AEF)

Gibbons, Herbert Adams, comp. SONGS FROM THE TRENCHES: THE SOUL OF THE A.E.F. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1918. 207 pp.

Lighter, Jonathon. "The Slang of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe, 1917-1919: An Historical Glossary." AMERICAN SPEECH 47 (Spring-Summer 1972): 5-143. (includes a 20 page bibliography)

McCollum, L.C. HISTORY AND RHYMES OF THE LOST BATTALION. New York: Bucklee Publishers, 1919. 140 pp.

Niles, John Jacob, ed. SINGING SOLDIERS. Detroit, MI: Singing Tree Press, 1968. 171 pp.(reissue of 1927 ed. of songs and anecdotes of black soldiers)

-----, Douglas S. Moore, and A.A. Wallgren. THE SONGS MY MOTHER NEVER TAUGHT ME. New York: Mcaulay Co., 1929. 227 pp. (focuses on AEF)

PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES--SONGS OF TWO WORLD WARS. RCA. Recording by Carl Tapscott Male Chorus.

Spaeth, Sigmund. A HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC IN AMERICA. New York: Random House, 1948. 729 pp.

Stokes, Will. SONGS OF THE SERVICES: ARMY, NAVY AND MARINE CORPS. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1919. 235 pp.

Following are some works about WWI propaganda:

Lasswell, Harold D. PROPAGANDA TECHNIQUE IN THE WORLD WAR. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1927. 239 pp.

Sanders, M.L. and Philip M. Taylor. BRITISH PROPAGANDA DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR, 1914-1918. London: Macmillan Press, 1982. 320 pp.

Squires, James Duane. BRITISH PROPAGANDA AT HOME AND IN THE UNITED STATES FROM 1914-1917. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1935. 113 pp.

Following are other bibliographical works that may be of use:


Enser, A.G.S. A SUBJECT BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR: BOOKS IN ENGLISH 1914-1978. London: Andre Deutsch, 1979. 485 pp.

International Commission for the Teaching of History. THE TWO WORLD WARS: SELECTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY. New York: Pergamon Press, 1965. 246 pp. (trans. of 1964 French ed. Good source for French and German sources)

Lutz, Ralph H. "Studies of World War Propaganda, 1914-1933." JOURNAL OF MODERN HISTORY 5 (December 1933): 496-516.

New York Public Library. SUBJECT CATALOG OF THE WORLD WAR I COLLECTION. Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1961. 4 vols.

Prothero, Sir George W., comp. A SELECT ANALYTICAL LIST OF BOOKS CONCERNING THE GREAT WAR. London: H.M. Stationary Office, 1923. 431 pp.

Lastly, I would recommend Trevor Wilson, THE MYRIAD FACES OF WAR: BRITAIN AND THE GREAT WAR, 1914-1918 (Oxford: Polity Press, 1986). Wilson has, if I remember, a short chapter on British propaganda, but I believe it focuses on film and print media. Nonetheless, it may be useful to you.

As a second "last" recommendation, you may want to contact Dr. Anne Cipriano Venzon. She's editing the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WORLD WAR I for Garland Publishing. I will have to dig to find her address, but I will send it to you (her address is U.S. Post only, no email).

Jantzen, Steven. HOORAY FOR PEACE. HOORAY FOR WAR. THE UNITED STATES DURING WORLD WAR I. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971. 327 pp.

Mike McCarthy

LADY ASTOR: Winston, if you were my husband, I should flavour your coffee with poison.

CHURCHILL: Madam, if I were your husband, I should drink it.