Songs of the Great War - An Exhibition

Introduction | Island 1 | Island 2 | Island 3


These are some of the songs that sent men to die in the Great War. The items in the exhibition are mainly American and document America's responses to "The War to End All Wars" or "The War to Make the World Safe for Democracy"—from pacifism ("I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier") to bellicose confidence ("We Don't Want the Bacon—What We Want Is a Piece of the Rhine").

The recognizably American quality of the songs is the irreverent humor. One example is "Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" by Russian-born immigrant Israel Balin. Some of the most popular songs were inspired by the American Expeditionary Force's exposure to France, as in "Goodbye Broadway, Hello France," "Wee, Wee, Marie," and "How Ya Gonna  Keep 'Em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree?)"

This exhibition draws upon the Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection at the Thomas Cooper Library, University of South Carolina.   

Arlyn and Matthew J. Bruccoli founded the Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection in 1997. It is an in-progress research archive for the literary, historical, and cultural aspects of World War I. Its fields of specialization are the literature of the AEF, British literature and poetry of the war, the air war, and trench warfare. The collection includes posters, original art, manuscripts, correspondence, photo albums, scrapbooks, and glass slides. There are now more than 300 pieces of sheet music.

The Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection catalogue can be accessed on USCAN, the University of South Carolina online catalogue, through by conducting an author search with the term: joseph m bruccoli. 




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