January 29th, 2009
Above is the cover to a piece of sheet music entitled “We Mourn Our Country’s Loss: National Funeral March” by Augustus Buechel. After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in April 14, 1865 the country was in shock. Lincoln had just reunited America and put an end to slavery. History remembers Lincoln as the man who freed the slaves. However, even though Lincoln freed the slaves he did not necessarily believe in social equality. But he still ended the practice of slavery in the United States. During Lincoln’s presidency and after his death, well into the 1900s, many composers, not just in the United States but around the world, wrote songs about him to commemorate Lincoln for his stance on equality. Music was the one form of entertainment at the time but because there were no radios people learned songs through the sheet music and people all over the country were able to hear the songs written about Lincoln, to remember what he did for America and the idea of freedom.
The cover of this sheet music is similar to other pieces of music written about the death of Lincoln. This one uses many american symbols, like Lady Liberty comforting the American eagle while looking mournfully at Lincoln’s casket with the American flag draped over it. Above the casket is Lincoln surrounded by the angels. These images show how important Lincoln was to people, many even regarded him as a savior.
This cover, along with many others, is currently held in the Library of Congress’ Rare Books and Special Collections Division which was donated by Alfred Whital Stern.
Here is a link to other covers of sheet music written about Lincoln.