Singing the Temperance Blues Exhibit Opens Today

The alcoholic blues

America’s roaring ‘20s was a time of tremendous political, social, and economic change.  The decade saw the rise of big band jazz and it was a time when women expressed their sexuality and political views openly.  During the 1920s, industrialization doubled the wealth of most families and spawned a new consumer society previously unfamiliar to most people.  However, the 1920s were not “all skittles and beer.”  America’s 18th Amendment, more commonly known as Prohibition, took effect in 1920 and it quickly influenced all aspects of society, including music.

The Sousa Archives’ new physical and virtual exhibit, Singing the Temperance Blues, illustrates the complex morass of America’s Prohibition movement during the 1920s through popular sheet music cover art, melodies and lyrics, and historical sound recordings from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Appointments for tours of the onsite exhibit can be made by either sending an email to  or calling 217-333-4577.

For those folks who would prefer to visit the virtual version of this exhibition, all you need to do is make sure your computer speakers are turned on and follow this URL  For further information about this and the Center’s other exhibits, visit  Special thanks must be given to the Center’s two exceptional graduate assistants, Nolan Vallier and Maia Perez, for their tireless work on this exhibition project.

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