Sheet Music Deep Dive: Sophie Tucker

Rather than exploring a subject heading in the Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection, this week’s deep dive is a celebration of Sophie Tucker, the self-billed “Last of the Red Hot Mamas.” Tucker was an early vaudeville star at the turn of the century, enjoying a diverse career until her death in 1966. Born in modern […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Napoleon

Napoleon Bonaparte

Bastille Day is coming up next week, and although the Levy Sheet Music Collection doesn’t have any songs related to the French holiday, there are at least a dozen inspired by Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). One of the earliest songs in the collection depicting Napoleon is the Marsailles Hymn, now the national anthem of France. While […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Fireworks


Fireworks have been around since the Han Dynasty in China (200 B.C.E.), when hollow bamboo sticks were thrown into fires to expand and eventually explode. Chemicals were soon added to create colorful effects, and fireworks made their way to Europe via the Silk Road. In addition to dozens of songs celebrating Independence Day in the […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Parrots


Animal lovers have been keeping birds as pets for hundreds if not thousands of years—they can be found throughout history from Egyptian hieroglyphs to homing pigeons, and in White House families from George Washington to Lyndon B. Johnson. Parrots in particular have been among the most popular birds to keep as pets, making their way […]

LGBTQ+ Data and Collections

JHU Pride

In honor of Pride month, we want to highlight LGBTQ+ data and collections at JHU and beyond. These datasets give us a lens through which we can observe and interpret the history of the LGBTQ+ struggle for equality and recognition, while also serving as a tool for progresss moving forward. Datasets Many of these data […]

LGBTQ+ Resources on and off Campus

This June, we at the libraries encourage you to celebrate your identity, your community, and your people! In honor of Pride Month, here is a list of projects, resources, materials and events that serve LGBTQ people on the Johns Hopkins campus. Education: Safe zone trainings are available for students, staff, and faculty of the Johns […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Prohibition

The temperance movement in the United States started in the 18th century, advocating for the abstention from alcohol and drugs. Organizations including the Anti Saloon League and Womens Christian Temperance Union campaigned successfully for the 18th amendment to the constitution, which prohibited the possession and manufacture of alcohol from 1920 to 1933. Prohibition songs can […]

Sheet Music Deep Dive: Volcanoes

During my sophomore year of music school, I took a class in earth science. There I learned about the loudest sound in recorded history—the 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano that was heard 3,000 miles away. To put the distance into perspective, that would be the equivalent of an explosion in Seattle being heard in […]

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 […]