Historic Display of Civil War Songs

Historic Display of Civil War Songs

Stop by the Main Library lobby between now and Thanksgiving to enjoy Will S. Hays and His Civil War Songs, a Special Collections & Archives display illustrating a cultural side of the war – music written about the war for families to sing while gathered around the parlor piano.   The song’s themes during this time varied from patriotism and soldiering to battlefield deaths and yearning for the war to be over. 

Will S. Hays (1837-1907), a Louisville native and Unionist during the war, composed over 300 songs in his lifetime; the display contains five of his songs written during the Civil War, including his most famous, “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh.”  All five songs are originals from 1861-1863; the display features a book of songs and poems by Hays as well as Civil War photographs.