Greetings all! A new post is as long time coming, but wanted to get the word out about a new research project that’s in the works. Back in the day when I was working on my undergrad thesis, I spent a week at the Baseball Hall of Fame Archive and Research Center. Great place and great people all around.
Since I was an archive novice (and seriously how often do you get to spend A WEEK in Cooperstown), I ended up looking at and photographing a lot of collections that ended up not making it into the thesis project……including the entire Steele Sheet Music Collection.
Enter grad school, a growing interest in archives, and a course this semester entitled “Media, Sound, and Cultural Studies.” Since an in-depth project on the Nashville Sounds’ stadium relocation against the backdrop of the city’s widespread gentrification seemed too straight forward, I then thought about the over 800 sheet music images sitting on my hard drive.
Most baseball folks are familiar with Dave Winfield and The Baseball Music Project, which are doing great work bringing to light America’s history of baseball in song. Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary series also has a rich historical soundtrack.
But there are still so many baseball songs from the Tin Pan Alley era that aren’t known. Enter The Baseball Sheet Music Project, an Omeka-hosted archival collection.
Right now the project’s in its VERY early stages- lots of stuff to work out with copyright, the Hall of Fame’s access restrictions, and PDF quality (among other things). But sheet music PDFs are posted for 175 titles, with lyrics transcribed for most and minimal publication information for all. The ultimate goal (here’s my project….dissertation maybe?) would be a robust archival collection with background on the artists, songs, and writers, and possibly even a sound recording project. Because we can’t let the piano performance undergrad degree go to waste.