Women's Studies Section

Association of College & Research Libraries / American Library Association
Digital Archive of Popular American Music
Primary Source Types for Women's Studies  TEXT
Song lyrics
Prints / Other Images
Musical Scores
Subjects for Women's Studies African American Women
Asian American Women
Gender Roles
Media Images
Middle Eastern Women
Social History
United States
World War, 1914-1918
Coverage Dates


Archive is Ongoing / Completed Completed
Publisher University of California at Los Angeles
URL http://digital.library.ucla.edu/apam/
Date Searched January 2007


This digital archive is a small sample of the UCLA print collection, one the largest research collections in the United States on popular music from 1790 to the present that numbers almost 450,000 pieces of sheet music, anthologies, and arrangements for band and orchestra. The online collection includes complete digitized copies of sheet music to hundreds of songs written in the years 1885-1953 as well as links to 12 other digitized music collections.

Women's Studies Content

Many of the song lyrics mention women and this seems fairly consistent with the prominent role of the opposite sex in popular music and of the female in male-authored music. Gender roles of the times are evident in both the cover images and the song lyrics, with women alternatively depicted as objects of love and adoration or as a temptress.

A search for "girl" produces six times the results as a search for "lady" and over twenty times the results as a search for "woman." It appears that the female sex is most commonly referred to as “girl” in this selection of songs from 1853-1953; the second most common term is “baby.” Ethnic stereotypes of African American, Asian American, and Middle Eastern women abound in the cover art images.


A number of browsing options exist -- name (composer, lyricist, etc.), song title, date, and cover art subject. Keyword searching is possible for names, titles, publisher, date, and other descriptive information such as plate numbers, key and tempo. The advanced search screen allows combining search terms within five indexes: keyword (the entire record), title, description, composer or lyricist, and publisher. One can create a virtual collection of saved records and add notes to each.

Truncation yes (%)
Boolean yes (use + for AND, use - for NOT)
Phrase Searching yes (use " ")
Help Screens/Quality yes/extensive
Controlled Vocabulary yes
Keywords in Context no

Archive Review:
Toby Matoush
San Jose State University

Last updated: January 16, 2007

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