Author: Molly Giffin

Win-the-War-Ballads: Musical Propaganda, Visual Propaganda, and the Importance of Context

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Photograph by Trevor Macks. Front cover, Win-the-War-Ballads by Morgenstern, Erdoes, and Goldsmith. New York: E. B. Marks, 1942. Held in the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama.

Historical Background

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent involvement of America in World War II, artists produced a veritable flood of patriotic music in order to support the efforts both of the American soldiers and of the civilians, particularly women and children. One example of music encouraging the efforts at home is found in the Hoole Special Collections Library at the University of Alabama, in the form of a paperback compilation of children’s songs. On a colorful title page, which depicts children from several Allied nations, the collection proclaims its contents to be a set of Win-The-War-Ballads: Twelve Timely Songs for Children and Everybody Else. Like many songbooks of the day, the collection involved three contributors: Beatrice Goldsmith, author of the lyrics; Richard Erdoes, the illustrator; and Sam Morgenstern, who composed the music. Within its pages, Win-The-War-Ballads includes numerous individual songs, each with a different message regarding the ways in which children and their families can bolster the war effort on the homefront. Read more