Over There! and Back Again: Patriotic American
Sheet Music from World War I

Selections from the
Wade Hall Sheet Music Collection

The W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library
The University of Alabama

Exhibit by:
Jessica Lacher-Feldman,
W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library
and Daniel Goldmark, School of Music,
The University of Alabama



Women in the War: Wives, Lovers, and other Nurturers

A soldier’s wife or girlfriend, left behind in America with little or no word of her love’s condition, allowed for countless variations on a theme. Many songs took the position of the fighting boys themselves, assuring the girls back home that Johnny G.I. was either faithful or a philanderer; many others directly addressed a woman’s concerns as to her man’s mental and spiritual health, as well as whether he might not have met some “Belgian Baby” and forgotten his responsibilities back home. Songwriters also made the most of all those women left unprotected and on their own, coming up with numerous songs like the admonishing “Your Lips Are No Man’s Land But Mine.”

While women could not fight in the war (although the novelty sheet “I’m Going To Follow” would seem to argue otherwise), one absolutely essential role women played to support the soldiers by serving in the Red Cross. Dozens of songs thus appeared paying tribute and giving thanks to those who risked their lives tending to the wounded and dying in dangerous battle areas. A good example of this is “There’s An Angel Missing From Heaven,” depicting a man’s Red Cross nurse as something more than human, no doubt a sentiment that many shared.





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