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The Boys from USA (New Zealand's Souvenir Welcome Song)

Date: 1908
Dimensions:
Overall: 367 x 285 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00028683
Place Manufactured:Wellington

User Terms

    Description
    'The Boys from USA' was composed to commemorate New Zealand's welcome to the United States' Great White Fleet goodwill tour in 1908. The cover features three photographic images of Admiral Coontz, Admiral S S Robison and Rear-Admiral F H Schofield. This fox trot dance music was published in Wellington.
    SignificanceThis sheet music commemorates the important visit of the Great White Fleet to New Zealand in 1908, a US exercise to demonstrate their naval strength and build national alliances.
    HistoryIn December 1907, the United States' President Theodore Roosevelt sent the US Atlantic Battle Fleet of 16 battleships on a 14-month goodwill cruise around the world. The fleet was a chance for the Navy to train in seamanship and express America's world power. Roosevelt was also concerned about rising Japanese aggression and their expansionist foreign policy. The cruise would be a political and public relations exercise to build domestic support for more naval construction.

    Led by the flagship, CONNECTICUT, the Great White Fleet as it became known, consisted of 16 battleships painted white, as was the practice of all US Navy ships in times of peace. The ships sailed in four divisions of four ships each. Early in the voyage the ships order was altered to put the best-looking vessels in the front of the fleet. The cruise incorporated six continents, 26 countries and 32 ports with a 614 officers and 13,504 crew. It consumed 435,000 tons of coal, more than any other naval expedition and was the largest fleet to ever accomplish a circumnavigation of the globe.

    The visit attracted large crowds, over one million people in Australia, saw the Great White Fleet during its three-week visit to Sydney, Melbourne and Albany. Public holidays were declared and enthusiastic crowds flocked to see the ships and parades. A vast array of souvenirs was produced for a population caught up in the euphoria.

    Sheet music offers an insight into popular culture and social values at the time of their production. The widely distributed pieces were sold fairly cheaply, making them popular purchases with the general public. Music was an integral part of people's social life in the home and at public events such as balls, recitals, concerts and theatre shows. From the mid-19th century many middle class families owned a piano, an important part of their social entertainment and recreation at home. Early sheet music typically featured waltzes, quadrilles, galops, polkas and mazurkas, covering a range of themes including travel, ships, plays and literature. By the early 20th century sheet music compositions reflected contemporary popular dances such as the two-step and fox-trot.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: The Boys from U.S.A. (New Zealand's Souvenir Welcome Song)

    Web title: The Boys from USA (New Zealand's Souvenir Welcome Song)

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