When not being used in the Lewis Gallery, our nineteenth-century vitrines (glass display cases) are hosting displays from our collection in the Main Library Lower Level – Information Desk area. Our first display, on view now through November, is a selection of sheet music from the Portland Room Archives.
In the nineteenth and early twentieth century musical life revolved around the family piano, and sheet music was provided for home performing mostly from publishers in New York’s Tin Pan Alley. But most large cities had their own small music publishers (who were usually instrument and sheet music sellers) and many songwriters would publish with local firms or simply publish their own works.
Portland could boast several such publishers, including the Paine family, whose most distinguished member, John Knowles Paine, was Harvard’s first Professor of Music. J.K.’s father Jacob and uncle William sold instruments and music at 113 Middle Street. The Paines published many of the compositions of Hermann Kotzschmar, the leading Portland musician of the period. Cressey and Allen had a music shop at 566 Congress Street; Cressey was also a composer and published many of his own pieces.
Many of the compositions featured in our exhibit were on local subjects: dance pieces named for Portland landmarks: the Forest City Polka, the Diamond Cove Waltz, and others in that vein. Others were hymns to local pride: Somewhere in Maine, Down in Maine. Patriotic compositions were standbys of the home music collection, and we have several from the Civil War to World War II.
We’ve included two items published “away”. The first, Kathleen Mavourneen, was a sentimental pseudo-Irish ballad popularized by tenor John McCormick. It was written by Frederick Nicholls Crouch, an English musician who lived and taught in Portland until his secessionist leanings made him unpopular in 1861; he joined a Virginia regiment as a trumpeter. The other New York publication is perhaps the most familiar college song of the 1920s, Rudy Vallee’s Maine Stein Song.
We hope that local music lovers, local history buffs, and everybody else will stop by the lower level and see this exhibit!
PPL’s Business and Government Team proudly announces a unique art display at the Main Library. In collaboration with the Public Engagement Students at Maine College of Art, we encourage you to VOTE!
“What is the B+G Team?” you ask. The B+G Team is a group of PPL staff and civic minded colleagues who, among other goals, aim to create a culture of civil literacy and civic engagement here in Portland; resulting in a first-rate quality of life and community. How do we propose to do this? Through research support, public programming, public forums/conversations on important topics, by maintaining a collection of up-to-date political and current event titles (both in print and for your e-reader), by engagement of the City’s efforts and now… also through ART! PPL is not only a place to check out a good book (though we do have plenty);the library is also a dynamic and energetic community center. So, you can see voting is something our Team cares about. We don’t offer opinions on how you vote or who you vote for, we simply encourage you to educate yourself on the issues and then get out and VOTE!
This fantastic collection of posters was created by the talented students in the Graphic Design Jr Studio, taught by Charles Melcher and David Puelle, with support from the Public Engagement Program at MECA. The posters were designed in connection withAIGA’s Get Out the Vote campaign, which invites designers to create nonpartisan posters and videos that inspire the American public to participate in the electoral process and vote in the2012 general election. PPL is honored to hang the posters in our window and are very thankful for the student’s efforts in creating the art and for caring about the electoral process.
The Graphic Designers Cassie Amicone, Kailin Callender, Sam Chabot, Vanessa DeMars, Jon Foster, Chrissy Hill, Nicloe Holmes, Cori Kippin, Sarah McLean, Shelby Newsted, Celia Packard, Hannah Sherwood, Carly Soos, Anna Taylor, Katie Tomasyan and Sabrina Volante
Yes, it’s that time of the year! Here are a few images from a recent exhibit in the Portland Room, displaying books from our collections on the topic of education and schools. We focused on the old-fashioned “3 R’s.”
A primer, a math book, and a slide rule
Reading and writing books
Portland school reports, with an old Portland Public Library card