|Title||America, My Country |
|Alternative Title||The New National Anthem |
|Composer||Maetzold, E. F. [Ernest Fred] |
|Lyricist||Grondahl, Jens K. |
|Publisher||Red Wing, MN : The Red Wing Printing Co. |
|Year of Publication||1917 |
|Date of Copyright||1917-10-05|
|Physical Description||1 score, voice and piano (, [2-3],  p.)|
|Type||Musical notation |
- A song by the same title by Edouard Hesselberg (words by Lena Shackelford Hesselberg) was copyrighted on October 10, 1917, and competed directly with Maetzold's song, but with limited success. In addition, there were newspaper reports of a song by that title written by the African-American composer John W. Work and performed at Fisk University on May 25, 1917. Later publications by the same title—by Charles L. Abbott (words by George Wallace Horne) on June 8, 1918; by Marvin Radnor (words by Olive Jones Johns) on December 15, 1918; and by Laura Sedgwick Collins (words and music) on November 8, 1919—had little impact.
- Grondahl's lyrics first achieved wide success as a poem, due in part by its promotion by the National Editorial Association (the professional association of newspaper editors). Set to music in June 1917, it was even more widely embraced as a "new national anthem." Its popularity in schools, communities, and civic groups increased the following year but gradually waned in 1919.
- In November Grondahl and other newspaper editors successfully promoted the song for use in schools, and from December 1917 through late 1918 announcements and reprints appeared in education journals, together with additional editions that cannot be dated with certainty. In this, the stipulated fourth edition, the music and words are unchanged but new plates were engraved, using a different layout, and the cover was redesigned. During the same period the song frequently appeared on civic and community events and in churches. Its popularity continued into the first half of 1919, after which it gradually receded from view.
- Disseminated with the help of newspaper editors throughout the country, the song received several more performances in July and August. By mid-September Grondahl had mounted a campaign to pitch it as a "new national anthem," and with that tag line, a new copyright was registered for the second edition on October 5. Two days later the Minneapolis Star-Tribune advertised it in versions for solo voice and for male or mixed quartet, with additional versions "ready soon" for high and low voices, chorus, band, and orchestra. The copyright deposit copy of the second edition included a lengthy statement on the back cover by leaders of the National Editorial Association that endorsed the song and promoted it as a national anthem. Grondahl sent copies to many (or all) state governors, and a second printing, probably later in October, added endorsements by seven of these to the back cover (the second printing of the second edition).
- In June Grondahl reduced the number of verses from four to three and added a refrain, and in this form the poem was set to music by E. F. Maetzold as a "patriotic song." Copies of the first edition were deposited for copyright on June 23, 1918. The song was first performed at a tribute to B. B. Herbert, the editor of the National Printer Journalist, in Red Wing on July 8, 1917, by the pupils of Mrs. Inga E. Olund, a music teacher residing in Red Wing and with a studio in St. Paul, MN.
- Jens K. Grondahl, the editor of the Red Wing [MN] Daily Republican, wrote the poem in late March 1917, during the debate about the United States entry into the war. This was published in the paper before the start of April, and copies were printed on postcards and mailed to all members of Congress and probably to other editors; at least four other newspapers printed the verses in the first half of April. On April 5, Representative Isaac Siegel of New York concluded his speech—in which he broke with party leaders to support Wilson's declaration—by reading Grondahl's poem. The following month it appeared in the National Printer Journalist, the trade journal for the National Editorial Association, and through May it was extensively reprinted in newspapers across the country, often with a headnote that mentioned Siegel's speech.
- This is the fifth of five editions; no piano rolls or recordings have been found.
|Musical Note||This piece skillfully blends march song with anthem: pervasive dotted rhythms and arpeggiated lines propel the music forward, while the slower tempo ("maestoso") and expressive use of fermatas and rallentando capture the more elevated qualities of an anthem. The arpeggiated refrain suggests but does not quote the Star Spangled Banner, and the dotted rhythms similarly evoke the Battle Hymn of the Republic.|
|Subject - Topic|
- Patriotic music -- United States.
- Popular music -- United States -- 1911-1920.
- This piece skillfully blends march song with anthem: pervasive dotted rhythms and arpeggiated lines propel the music forward, while the slower tempo ("maestoso") and expressive use of fermatas and rallentando capture the more elevated qualities of an anthem. The arpeggiated refrain suggests but does not quote the Star Spangled Banner, and the dotted rhythms similarly evoke the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
|Subject - Geographic||United States |
- [refrain 3]
- [verse 3] America, my country, now come is thy hour— / The Lord of hosts counts on thy courage and pow'r; / Humanity pleads for the strength of thy hand, / Lest liberty perish on sea and on land. / Thou guardian of freedom, thou keeper of right, / When liberty bleeds we may trust in thy might; / Divine right of kings or our freedom must fall— / America, my country, I come at thy call.
- [refrain 2]
- [verse 2] America, my country, brave souls gave thee birth, / They yearned for a haven of freedom on earth; / And when thy proud flag to the winds was unfurled, / There came to thy shores the oppressed of the world. / Thy milk and thy honey flow freely for all— / Who takes of thy bounty shall come at thy call; / Who quaffs of thy nectar of freedom shall say: / America, my country, command, I obey.
- [refrain 1] America, my country, I answer thy call, / That freedom may live and that tyrants may fall; / I owe thee my all, and my all will I give— / I do and I die that America may live. /
- [verse 1] America, my country, I come at thy call, / I pledge thee my troth and I give thee my all; / In peace or in war I am wed to thy weal— / I'll carry thy flag thru the fire and the steel. / Unsullied it floats o'er our peace-loving race, / On sea nor on land shall it suffer disgrace; / In rev'rence I kneel at sweet liberty's shrine: / America, my country, command, I am thine.
|Musical Genre||March song|
|Rights||The Newberry makes its collections available for any lawful purpose, commercial or non-commercial, without licensing or permission fees to the library, subject to the following terms and conditions: https://www.newberry.org/rights-and-reproductions|
|Cover Description||Title on abstract depiction of the US shield; directly below, "Solo or Unison Singing"; below that, the United States flag; at bottom, a paragraph of promotional text below, in a box, with publishing information below that; all enclosed in scroll-work (above) and a rectangle (below). Black on white; unsigned. |
|Back Cover Description||Lengthy endorsement by officials of the National Editorial Association, in box, with endorsements by seven state governors added below. |
- Plate number: p. , BL: America, My Country. 2.
- p. , top: To Be Sung with Sprit.
|Performance Medium||Voice and piano. |
|Original Location||Box 163|
|Local Identifier||nda163_053 |
|Collection Title||James Francis Driscoll Collection of American Sheet Music|
|Collection||World War I Sheet Music from the James Francis Driscoll Collection of American Sheet Music|