Love Songs

Notes from the Archives: Love in Sheet Music

by Nancy Noble, Archivist/Cataloger

Rudy Vallee

This winter we showcased some of our sheet music collection as an exhibit in our lecture hall, relating to the theme of home, hearth, and winter, which included a real nostalgia, and love, for our state of Maine. Continuing on the sheet music theme, we now turn towards Valentine’s Day, and showcase some of our sheet music related to human love.

Crooner Rudy Vallee, our local Westbrook boy who became a Hollywood crooner, is prominent in our sheet music collection. Two of our pieces, “Good night sweetheart” (billed as “The favorite song of the King and Queen of England”) and “When it’s springtime in the Rockies,” feature Rudy Vallee on the cover. (Sheet Music #91)

When it’s springtime in the Rockies,

I am coming back to you,

Little sweetheart of the mountains,

with your bonny eyes of blue;

Once again I’ll say ‘I love you,’

While the birds sing all the day,

When it’s springtime in the Rockies,

In the Rockies, far away

Indeed, thinking about spring this time of year, is appealing.

“Life without you” is a song by Sylvia Rowell, published by Sylvan Company in Portland, Maine. The cover has an image of Sylvia Rowell on it. Sylvia Rowell was a music teacher in Portland, Maine when she penned these words in 1935:

We are so happy, all is so bright,

For the whole world seems full of delight.

Sometimes I wonder, if you were gone,

How could I ever still carry on

Sylvia met her husband a few years later when she was a staff violinist in the studio orchestra at WCSH radio in Portland. Waldo “Wally” Harwood Jr. was hired as the orchestra’s leader, and he asked Sylvia on a date. They were engaged in a few months and were married for 60 years until his death in 1999. (Sheet Music #95)

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“Love I adore you” was sung by Pauline Hall, a musical comedy actress who was married to George McLellan, of the McLellan family originally from Bath, Maine. (Sheet Music #79)

Love, I adore you,

This is my song,

All my life long

Sunlight and shadow

You have my heart alone!

One piece of sheet music is not only placed in Maine but has a lovely cover to match. “Love’s happy golden dream – on the Penobscot River” starts out “On the old Penobscot River, way down east in good old Maine” and goes on to express love for “sweet Meliss.” The image is of a young man and woman drifting down the river, gazing into one another’s eyes. (Sheet Music #42)

Another wonderful cover has as touch of wistfulness to it. “Remembering” shows a young man, sitting in his smoking robe with pipe nearby, in a lonely looking hotel room in the city, looking up a bubble which shows him with his loved one. The words and music are by S.E. Griffin, and published in Portland. (Sheet Music #109)

The words read:

Far away in a New England City, As the clock strikes the hour of two

All alone I sit by the window, Thinking dear one of you

I picture you wrapped in deep slumber, And a smile on your face I see,

I’m wondering if you are dreaming, Dreaming sweet dreams of me.

We hope that these “sheet music valentines” warm your heart during this cold winter we’re experiencing, and if you are able, please visit our sheet music exhibit at the MHS lecture hall, which will be up until February 17, 2014. To see all of our catalogued sheet music collection search the Minerva catalog for “sheet music” as either a subject heading or call number.

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