Friday, November 4, 2016

1916 Election Day Music

Cover of "She's Good Enough to be Your Baby's Mother and She's Good Enough to Vote with You!" The image depicts a domestic scene with a smiling woman in a dress and her rosy cheeked infant looking out a window. The child is waving.This is just so troubling, while supporting a cause that's so right. In the presidential election of a hundred years ago, women still did not have the vote in most states. With the election in the news, it was a good opportunity to push yet again for women's suffrage. Good idea--long overdue. But the message this 1916 popular song conveys is not exactly liberating.

The woman's role is clearly defined in the image: at home, raising the family, smiling to the world. The rhetoric of the chorus then places the woman as a man's helpmate and little more:
She's good enough to love you and adore you,
She's good enough to bear your troubles for you;
And if your tears were falling today,
Nobody else would kiss them away.
She's good enough to warm your heart with kisses
When you are lonesome and blue,
She's good enough to be your baby's mother
And she good enough to vote with you!
A hundred years later, Americans have their first opportunity to vote for a woman as a major party candidate. Progress for sure. But Lord knows what we will think a hundred years from now about the rhetoric of this campaign season.

To learn the tune and read the rest of the song, ask for Rauner Sheet Music SC 4077.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Shall We Dance?

Woodcut image of a nobleman fighting with death. Death is a skeleton and is tugging on the nobleman's robes. The nobleman has a sword drawn and is trying to pull away from death. He has an anquished look on his face.It is the Day of the Dead, perfect for highlighting the recent acquisition of Imagines mortis (Cologne: Apud haeredes Arnoldi Birckmanni, 1557). It will warm your heart on a gray November day. The fifty-three woodcuts are based on Hans Holbein's famous Dance of Death series, but here are presented more in the form of an emblem book with each image captioned with a verse. Death shows no favorites, and comes for all: some seem quite willing to go, while others fight.

Woodcut image of an elderly man being lead off by a skeletal image of Death. The man is not putting up any fight but appears resigned to his fate.Image of Death (as a skeleton) attacking a figure that appears to be a king or the Pope. Other figures in the room look on aghast at what they see.
This is also a good opportunity to let you know about an upcoming conference that the Library is co-sponsoring: Lives and Afterlives in the Middle Ages: The 43rd Annual New England Medieval Conference on November 19th,. We will have an exhibit with more medieval and early modern death later this month.

To see Imagines mortis, ask for Rare N7720.H6 I434 1557.