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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dawn of the Century

"Dawn of the Century" by E. T. Paull, published by E. T. Paull Music Co., 1900.
Sheet music from the Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music,
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
As a photographic historian and and general aficionado of all things photographic--especially pre-digital--I'm alway on the lookout for imagery that includes references to photography and its centrality in modern life. The blazing color illustration above, from a sheet music cover published in 1900, extols the wonders of electricity, trains, automobiles, sewing machines, telephones, photography, and other inventions. Their visual representations or symbols swirl around a lovely female figure, probably the goddess Columbia. The view camera on a tripod at the right naturally represents photography, although its form may puzzle young people who take digital photographs with small cameras and cellular telephones. Significantly, the music is a "march and two step." Progress marches on!

David Haberstich, Curator of Photography
Archives Center
National Museum of American History

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