Item no. 28055
|Collection: Wagner Labor Archives|
This Almanac Singers songbook from 1942 was published in New York City by Bob Miller, Inc. Songs like “Round and Round Hitler’s Grave” and “Belt Line Girl,” offer a musical fusion of support for the war and support for labor and industrial unions that is reflected in the cover imagery, which challenged distinctions between soldier and worker, and between women and men.
This sentiment is expressed in “Belt Line Girl,” written by Sis Cunningham to the tune of the traditional “Danville Girl.” A tribute to all of the "Rosie the Riveters" working in American defense plants, the song tells the story of a woman standing at the train station, having said goodbye to her “solider sweetheart.” Her heart is mournful, but her mind quickly turns to the work that needs to be done at home, by herself and other American women. “I'll learn to build a ship, I'll learn to build a plane,” she says. “For the faster we speed this belt line, girls, The quicker our boys return.”
This image accompanies the audio recording of "Keep That Oil A-Rollin'" 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.