LMU Newsroom

An exhibition of original sheet music from the early days of jazz and ragtime will be on display in the William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University, beginning May 21.

“American Popular Music in the Age of Ragtime and Jazz” is the fourth annual student-curated exhibition to feature works from the library’s Archives & Special Collections, in this case the Clara Jane Nixon Sheet Music Collection. The exhibition will be in the library’s Terrance L. Mahan, S.J., Gallery through July 27.

“Working with our library student workers to curate the exhibit was an extremely rewarding adventure and gave us a diverse selection of sheet music to display,” said Rachel Deras, librarian-in-residence and exhibition curator. “While the exhibit will certainly be visually stunning, we hope that those who see it will also reflect on the messages shared in each piece and how they compare or contrast to life in 2018.”

Beyond the often light-hearted music, the lyrics and cover art reveal how attitudes toward women and people of color have changed since that era, and also about life during World War I. Eighteen library student workers explored the collection and shared their thoughts about the art and history reflected in selected pieces.

The collection consists of sheet music dating chiefly from the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first three decades of the twentieth century. Most of the works hail from Tin Pan Alley and include works by Irving Berlin, Al Jolson, Clare Kummer, Ray Henderson and George M. Cohan. Works on display were previously in the personal collection of Clara Jane Nixon (1919-2013), sister-in-law of President Richard M. Nixon.

The gallery is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located on the third floor of the library. For more information, click here.