Drexel University Presents the Civil War as it Came to Philadelphia
Over 50 students and faculty in the history, music, and music industry programs collaborated to produce a 2-disc music CD to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The Civil War's musical legacy is so powerful that most Americans still recognize many of its songs today. The project was a perfect opportunity to contribute to the larger anniversary efforts across the city, state, and nation—and to do so in Drexel’s distinctive experiential fashion.
The CD features 14 songs, including well-known tunes like the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and the “Star Spangled Banner,” as well as more obscure songs with ties to Philadelphia, whether through the subject matter, composer, or publisher. On disc 1, students from the music program performing all 14 songs as they might have sounded in the 1860s. On disc 2, the music industry students interpreted and performed the songs in their own unique styles, whether as ballads, rock, or electronic arrangements. The 16-page booklet tells the history of Philadelphia in the Civil War using the 14 songs.
"When Johnny Comes Marching Home" is one of the most well-known of Civil War songs. Boston bandmaster, Patrick Gilmore (aka Louis Lambert), composed and published the song in 1863, when war weariness had set in for most Americans and families longed to have their soldiers home.
In our 1860s version, students Elizabeth Chambers '15, Matthew Prockup '11, and Chris Sannino '10, along with music faculty members, Mark Beecher and Veronica Mascaro, performed a traditional fife & drum arrangement of the song. In the modern version, music industry student, Joel Collier '11, arranged and performed the song on keyboard (and then some).
When Johnny Comes Marching Home [1860s Version]
When Johnny Comes Marching Home [Modern Version]
Wood Engraving of President Abraham Lincoln
Gustav Kruell (1843-1907) created this wood engraving of Abraham Lincoln in 1891. This delicate print, made from a wood engraving on tissue paper, belongs to the Drexel Collection, an art collection begun by the university's founder, Anthony Drexel.
Born in Germany, Gustav Kruell arrived in America in 1873 and immediately became known for his wood engravings. Wood engraving is a technique in printmaking—the artist uses an engraving tool, or a burin, to cut out areas of the wood for the image. It is a created by the relief process, meaning the raised area of the wood receives the ink.
In 1881, Gustav Kruell organized the Society of American Wood Engravers. He made more than 200 portraits including those of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and General Ulysses S. Grant. His portrait of Abraham Lincoln is considered his finest work.
Kruell is known for his artistic appreciation of light and shade and his sympathetic interpretation of his sitters. The print captures the delicacy associated with the face of Abraham Lincoln.
To ensure its protection, Mylar was placed over the print and an acid-free mat was made for it. The mat and the wood engraving are stored in an acid-free folder custom-made for the piece. The print is signed and dated 1891.
The prototype for this wood engraving was an 1859 photograph by Samuel M. Fassett. Lincoln sat for the portrait in the Gallery of Cooke and Fassett in Chicago on October 4, 1859. Lincoln’s wife, Mary, thought it to be the best likeness of her husband. The original photograph is in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. The negative was lost in the Chicago fire of 1871.
Abraham Lincoln was president from March 4, 1861 until his death on April 15, 1865, when he became the first president to be assassinated. The assassination occurred five days after General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant.
Photographs: Frank Taylor, Philadelphia in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (1913)
Our Flickr album contains over 60 images from Frank Taylor's book. View the images on Flickr or browse the gallery below.