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Sweet Home . . . Ohio

Say the words "sweet home" and many people will expect to hear "Alabama," to quote the lyrics to the well-known country-rock song "Sweet Home Alabama" from the group Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Fruits and Temperance,' ca. 1848 You'll Never Miss the Water till the Well Runs Dry

In the new "Home Sweet Home," Web presentation we take a look at life in 19th century Ohio, especially as it is reflected in the music played and heard in Cincinnati.

Before the age of radio, television and other electronic diversions, families made their own entertainment in the home by playing games, reading aloud, performing plays and, of course, by making music. Children were taught to play the piano and sing from an early age, and sheet music was widely available and inexpensive. The whole family participated in the music-making.

In this presentation, we focus on 19th century Cincinnati, a major commercial center and a "Gateway to the West" for both longtime residents and recent immigrants seeking a new start in a new land. This parlor music is presented through audio recordings and sheet music and focuses on themes that reflect the social, economic and religious values of the time. Because the songs were created for home performance, they give special insight into the domestic life in which these values developed.

The presentation also includes an essay on Cincinnati life at the time and a "Learn More About It" page with links to related Web sites such as "The African American Experience in Ohio, "American Sheet Music," and "Historic American Sheet Music." The page also includes a reading list.


A. Nathaniel Currier, lithographer. "Fruits of Temperance," ca. 1848. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZC2-2380 (color film copy slide); LC-USZ62-2842 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: PGA - Currier & Ives--Fruits of temperance (A size) [P&P]

B. Roland, Howard, composer. "You'll Never Miss the Water till the Well Runs Dry," 18--. Music Division. Reproduction information: Call No.: M1621 .H

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