Item no. 28051
New York
Collection: Wagner Labor Archives

Workers Songbook, Workers Music League, 1934.

Like the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the American labor movement has made abundant use of songs during the periods of its greatest activity. During the Great Depression, the Composer's Collective, a branch of the Worker's Music League of the Communist Party, published an early collection of revolutionary and traditional folk songs called The Workers Songbook.

Contributors to the 1934 edition included Elie Seigmeister, Lan Adomian, and Charles Seeger, a composer and a music critic for the Daily Worker. Seeger would soon become deeply influenced by traditional American folk music, in turn influencing his son, Pete, to learn the banjo and become a folk singer. Note the songbook's industrial design.

This image accompanies the audio recording of "The Soup Song," one of twenty songs you can listen to in the exhibit Labor Sings! Songs from the 1930s and 1940s, featuring highlights from the extraordinary compact disc collection by Ron Cohen and Dave Samualson, Songs for Political Action.

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