To commemorate the birthday of world-renowned bandleader and composer
John Philip Sousa on Nov. 6, 1854, a new Web site dedicated to the
composer of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" is now available from the
Library of Congress at <
This presentation provides access to many music manuscripts from the
John Philip Sousa Collection, which is housed in the Library’s Music
Division. Also online are more than 450 pieces of printed music and
historic recordings of the Sousa Band. The site includes a selection of
photographs and the manuscript of "Pipetown Sandy," Sousa’s
semiautobiographical novel of a boy’s adventures in Civil War-era
Washington, D.C. Copies of programs and press clippings from the
band’s 1919-20 North American tour press books appear courtesy of
the U.S. Marine Band Library.
Although he is best known for his marches, Sousa composed a variety of
music, including operettas, suites, fantasies, vocal works and dances.
Born in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 6, 1854, Sousa enlisted in the U.S.
Marine Band as an apprentice musician at the age of 13. After being
discharged, he made his living as a violinist and conductor in various
theater orchestras in Washington and Philadelphia. His renown as a
composer, conductor and arranger grew, and in 1880 he was appointed
leader of the U.S. Marine Band, known as "The President's Own," a
position he held until 1892.
After leaving the Marine Band, he formed his own professional concert
band, which employed some of the finest musicians of the day, including
Herbert L. Clarke on cornet, Arthur Pryor on trombone and Maud Powell on
violin. Known throughout the world as "The March King," Sousa traveled
with his band to entertain people around the country. He and his
musicians traveled around the world as well, promoting American music
everywhere they went.
Sousa died after a rehearsal of the Ringgold Band in Reading, Pa., on
March 6, 1932. He was buried at Congressional Cemetery in Washington,
On Dec. 11, 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed a law designating
Sousa’s "The Stars and Stripes Forever" as the national march of the
John Philip Sousa began donating his music manuscripts to the Music
Division of the Library of Congress in 1914. Over the years, Sousa
family members and others have presented additional Sousa-related
materials to the Library. The John Philip Sousa Collection now contains
approximately 10,000 items, including music and literary manuscripts,
printed music, photographs and business records of the Sousa band. John
Philip Sousa IV, the composer’s great-grandson, continues to enrich
the collection with additional research materials.
Please direct any questions about this collection to the Library's
Music Division: < http://www.loc.gov/rr/askalib/ask-perform2.html >.
Digital Reference Team
The Library of Congress