Consists of published sheet music documenting American culture through popular music and cover art imagery. The collection is organized in two series: Series 1, General and Country Music, 1862-1986 and Series 2, Military Music, 1836-1975. Early pre-1920 songs contain themes that focus primarily on life on the farm, while many post-1920 titles feature the "gayer" night-life of city dwellers. Love is the most popular theme encountered throughout the collection. Early traditional values of courtship represented in the music and lyrics of early 1900s become the swinging attitudes of the 1940s and 50s. The cover art also dramatically changes from hand drawn pictures to photographs.
The music and cover art within this collection reflects the changing culture and social attitudes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American. Of particular interest are songs by such composers as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein, and John Philip Sousa. Cover art of interest includes Irving Berlin's Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep, Cole Porter's I've got you under my skin, and Sousa's In Flanders fields the poppies grow, Solid men to the front, and We are coming.
The World War I music contained in the James Edward Myers Sheet Music Collection digital image repository was derived from the Myers collection and can be accessed through the website [https://digital.library.illinois.edu/collections/692ae4c0-c09b-0134-2371-0050569601ca-6]. This digital content documents not only what was produced by Midwestern music publishers but also offers a compelling cross-section of popular musical practices and tastes across the Midwest during the War.