Archive 2008 - 2019

Civil War Music at the Historical Society

by Bea Hait


To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, Holliston Historical Society invites the public to a presentation on March 20 at 2:30 PM at 547 Washington Street by Rick Spencer on the Greatest Hits of the Civil War: America’s Earliest Professional Songwriters. Also, Historical Society member Frank Chamberlain will be on hand to discuss Holliston’s participation in the Civil War as members of the 16th Massachusetts Volunteers, “The Winthrop Guards.” Admission is free; refreshments will be served.

Rick Spencer, executive director of Dr. Ashbel Woodward Museum in Franklin, CT, is an internationally recognized scholar, researcher and presenter of music programs based on historic themes. Audiences are enthusiastic about the highly entertaining program with songs that are presented a cappella or accompanied on guitar or 5-string banjo.

The years just prior to the War were times of remarkable cultural development in America and the songs of the era give great insight into the American character of the day (both positive and negative) and of the popular American minstrel shows. Rick Spencer will present a selection of songs from composers such as the following: Daniel Decatur Emmett (Dixie), Stephen Foster (Oh Susanna), George F. Root (The Battle Cry of Freedom) and Henry Clay Work (Kingdom Coming). Come hear these and other songs that were great “pop hits” of the 1860s. For more on Rick Spencer, check  out his web page:

For a sample of Rick Spencer in concert:


Bea Hait        
Publicity Chairperson
Holliston Historical Society