In the mid-nineteenth century, publishers printed the lyrics to popular songs on sheets called song sheets, handbills, or broadsides. These sheets were often illustrated with a woodcut and sold at gathering places where people sang together. Duke's collection of American song sheets includes 1,981 of these ephemeral productions. The American South and the Civil War era are well documented, including over 100 Confederate broadsides.
Horace Smith was a musician with the 8th Vermont Regiment, Union Army, from Williamstown (Orange Co.), Vt. The collection includes letters from Smith to his father, Horace Smith, and other members of his family, describing his experiences and the concerts and serenades presented by his band at the end of the Civil War, ending with the Grand Review of the Union Army in Washington, D.C.