Wednesday, January 13th, 2016...4:11 pm

Historical sheet music collections: Dancing Downton-style!

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Some terrific dance music for a grey Wednesday – some genteel, early-Downton-Abbey era numbers, and some a bit more scandalous:

SHEET MUSIC 134

SHEET MUSIC 134


Mae West wants you to shimmy.

“Ev’rybody shimmies now,
Ev’rybody’s learning how,
Brother Bill, Sister Kate,
Shiver, like jelly on a plate.”

Evr’ybody shimmies now, by Eugene West, Joe Gold and Edmund J. Porray, 1918.

SHEET MUSIC 164

SHEET MUSIC 164

A “hesitation” waltz.

“Bill’s little Daisy was more than dance crazy,
she never knew just when to stop,
The waltz – wait a minute – each time she’d begin it
some neighbor would send for a cop.”

Hesitate me around, Bill, by Wm. Jerome and Malvin Franklin, 1914.

SHEET MUSIC 165

SHEET MUSIC 165

A foxy lady from 1915.
Foxy fox trot, by N. H. Moray, 1915.

SHEET MUSIC 161

SHEET MUSIC 161

Buster Brown and his dog Tige
Buster: one-step, by Charles F. Gall, 1916.

SHEET MUSIC 160

SHEET MUSIC 160

Country dances – with hayricks?
Hayrick dance, by Warner Crosby, 1905.

SHEET MUSIC 149

SHEET MUSIC 149

Please. Ouch.
Get off my foot: fox trot, by W. B. Kernell and Van Campen Heilner, 1916.

SHEET MUSIC 163

SHEET MUSIC 163

Who doesn’t?
I wanna fox trot, by Joseph Fecher and Herman Kahn, 1916.

SHEET MUSIC 162

SHEET MUSIC 162

Apparently it’s contagious.

“The fidgety fidge, I cannot lose,
it’s got me shivering,
flivering, quivering,
from my head to my toes”

“I’ve got it”: the fidg-et-ty fidge, by Henry Creamer and Lew Pollack, 1922.

For the inspired, here’s a link to a collection of American dance instruction videos at the Library of Congress.
Please, try these dances at home!

[Thanks to Dana Gee, Project Sheet Music Cataloger, for contributing this post.]

2 Comments

  • I love these examples, including the verses, but most impressed with how much time and artistic effort it took to design and print these images without the use of any technology. That’s determination (and skill). Thanks for posting.

  • Thanks, Jane. The graphic design and printing are marvelous on so many of these. There are beautiful monochrome and color lithography covers too, on earlier pieces, like the Ward Collection’s Camp polka.