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Sheet Music for "An International Anthem - Britain and America," 1917

International Anthem

New York State Archives, NYSA_A3167-78A_B7_WW1_Material_07
 
Document Description
Sheet music for An International Anthem - Britain and America, set to the tunes of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "God Save the King."  The music and lyrics were printed in The New York Times Magazine on November 25, 1917.
 
Questions
What common factors do the United States and Great Britain share according to the song’s first verse?
What do the second and third verses push as a goal?
What is the overall point of the song?
Do you agree with Major General Bell’s idea that it would be a good idea to sing the international anthem at public gatherings? Why or why not?
 
Historical Challenges
The song is missing a chorus. Write one that would be appropriate for the feelings expressed in this song.
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
Music: Play the music and/or sing the song as a group.
 
Resources
Bell, J.F. “General Bell Proposes a Song.” New York Times. 1917. Retrieved from: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9A06E2D9113AE433A2575A...
 

 

Historical Context
As you can read on the document the words of the International Anthem were written by Charles Huntington and were first sung to music composed by Mrs. Hattie Lambert Wallenstein at a dinner given by the American Peace and Arbitration League in honor of President Taft, at Sherry’s, February 22, 1912. Mrs. Wallenstein dedicated her music to Andrew Carnegie. Soon after the great war began in 1914 the anthem was heard in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, to the tune of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” and “God Save the King.”  Unlike those two songs, it has no chorus. Major Gen. J.F. Bell, commanding the national army cantonment at Camp Upton, called attention to the anthem in a letter published in THE NEW YORK TIMES.  He recommended the singing of the song at public gatherings as a means of encouraging the cordial relations between the United States and Great Britain.

Major Gen. Bell had taken part in a song rally and was disturbed to find that only the national anthems of France and Russia were included in the program.  He felt that because England had played such a prominent part in WWI, that it would not be a good time to invite bad relations between the two countries.  He felt that the International Anthem would help to cultivate good feelings at an important time in history.
 
 
Essential Question
How does a nation encourage support for war?
 
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea and explain the purpose of this song.