The Inventions of Note Sheet Music Collection was established in 1997 by the Lewis Music Library at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This sheet music collection consists of popular songs and piano compositions that portray technologies (old and new alike) as revealed through song texts and/or cover art. Today we take for granted such inventions as the automobile, airplane, radio, and telephone; they have become part of our daily lives. However, the initial appearance of these and other inventions created a myriad of responses in American society ranging from excitement and delight to anxiety and scorn. This collection reflects those varied reactions through the medium of popular music publications. The present web site has been made possible by a grant from the MIT Council for the Arts.


Collection Size


The collection contains approximately 50 pieces of sheet music owned by the Lewis Music Library. Other titles may be acquired in the future. In addition, this web site includes links to scanned images from other libraries. Several sheet music collections are available on the web. A few collections, such as Music for the Nation at The Library of Congress and the Levy Sheet Music Collection at John Hopkins University, contain a number of pieces dealing with new inventions. Probably the largest collection on the topic of transportation is the Sam DeVincent Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.




There are no chronological limits to this collection, although most of the holdings date from approximately 1890-1920. Only music published in the United States is included. For purposes of this collection, sheet music is defined as an individual piece of music consisting of less than ten pages. Songs and solo piano pieces are the musical genres collected. There are no limitations on the kinds of inventions used as subjects in this sheet music collection.

Recent Submissions

View more