Dr. Danny O. Crew Theodore Roosevelt Sheet Music Collection

Some people use the term “collector” when viewing Dr. Crew’s amazing political sheet music collection; however, he believes the term “hoarder” is probably more accurate. Prior to embarking on a life-long collector’s odyssey, his interests included music, politics, and history. History and politics were reflected in his choice of government for his college major and history as his minor, while music was his spare time personal passion (trombone in high school band and banjo, guitar, and accordion in his spare time).

His sheet music collecting started in 1972 when he found himself wandering around an antique shop in Tallahassee, Florida. He noticed several campaign buttons for the 1900 campaign of McKinley and Roosevelt. The store owner indicated that he had a trunk full of items in the back of the store: There were scores of old campaign souvenirs including buttons, ribbons, banners, and a large stack of sheet music. Dr. Crew bought the entire lot. At home he began sorting through the items; and the sheet music stuck out as particularly interesting. He remembers a piece of Teddy Roosevelt sheet music, awash in bright colors, with his portrait almost jumping off the page, and he concluded that sheet music was a wonderful way to combine his love of politics, history, and music into one inexpensive collectible.

Today, Crew’s collection of political-related items exceeds 13,000 pieces, including the nation’s largest collections of music related to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and with over 450 pieces, Theodore Roosevelt. The collection led Dr. Crew to author four published bibliographies on political sheet music and formed the basis of his PhD in music history from the University of Sunderland (UK).

Read Dr. Crew’s essay on sheet music as public discourse here.

Please click here to see items from the collection.