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Music and Culture Collections

Collections housed in the Arts and Special Collections Research Center


One of the few collections of its size and scope, the Spencer Collection contains approximately 28,000 pieces of American popular sheet music, about three-fourths of which is in mint condition. Publication dates of the items span the period from the last decades of the eighteenth century to the late 1950s.

The list of first editions includes "Jingle Bells," "Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes" (1800), "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Maryland, My Maryland" (northern and southern editions), and "Old Folks at Home." Sub-collections include songs about U.S. presidents, various editions of "The Star Spangled Banner," Ziegfeld Follies numbers, and hundreds of titles by well-known composers such as John Philip Sousa, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, George M. Cohan, Victor Herbert, and Irving Berlin.

The visualization below reveals subject headings assigned to the sheet music by the creator of the collection, Frances G. Spencer.  It represents more than 11,000 pieces in the collection that have been digitized for the Baylor Digital Collections.  Using the free Tableau Public tool, researchers may download the file and explore the data in detail, including titles, composers, lyricists, and publishers. 

To view numbers of records and additional subjects, hover over or select a block.


This animated visualization shows where the sheet music was being published over time. To see a complete view of the U.S., click into the map and drag it to the desired position. Note that the years displayed are accurate, but the specific dates are assigned arbitrarily by the software.


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