Sheet Music Deep Dive: Flowers

With Spring flowers in full bloom, this week’s deep dive celebrates the many floral lithograph covers in the Levy Sheet Music Collection. It took a while to choose my favorites (almost 500 songs are tagged with the subject heading “flowers,”) and as I’m far from a florist, I’ll refrain from trying to identify any of […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Insects

Now that it’s Spring in Baltimore and cicadas are starting to emerge from their seventeen-year sleep, I thought this week would be a good time to dive into the collection’s holdings on insects. Not surprisingly, insects have made their way onto quite a few lithograph covers. This ornate flower basket printed in 1860 has at […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Aerialists

Scrolling through the alphabetical list of subjects in the Levy collection, one that caught my eye early on was “aerialists.” I wasn’t expecting to see many songs in this category, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to find a few stunning lithograph covers: One immensely popular song seems to have been “The Flying Trapeze,” published in […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Maps

With a sheet music mapping project in the works (stay tuned!), I decided to spend this week combing the Levy Sheet Music Collection in search of maps. One of the first songs that caught my eye when looking for maps in the collection is the Atlantic Telegraph Schottisch. This stunning lithograph cover was done by […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Witchcraft

One of the greatest movies to come out of the 1990’s was Hocus Pocus, with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. From Binx the talking cat to the iconic “I Put A Spell on You” dance scene, the movie has become a cult classic—and although we’re far from Halloween, I thought I’d spend […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Puppets

Over the past year, the pandemic has given me plenty of time to re-watch all of my favorite movies. In revisiting Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound Of Music, I rediscovered the delightful puppet show set to a song called “The Lonely Goatherd.” Inspired by this adorable scene (and because everybody loves puppets), I thought I’d […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Lithograph or Autograph?

Working with historic sheet music, I come across autographs almost every day. This doesn’t surprise me, as most of the books on my own bookshelf have my name written inside. Likewise, sheet music was intended to be used frequently, making the contents of any historic sheet music collection far from ‘mint condition.’ Instead, most of […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Homing Pigeons


Growing up in Arizona, my family would often travel out East to visit relatives. A highlight for me was always New York City, where I developed my childhood love of skyscrapers and fear of pigeons– whether they were coming after the soft pretzel I was eating or shoving each other in front of trains (don’t […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Blue Glass

As the curator of the Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection, a phrase I hear often is “I didn’t know sheet music could be used to study…” Levy collected 30,000 songs over 50+ years not to perform, but to use as a lens for studying history. To make this easier, Levy organized his collection by subject, […]