Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The YMCA Service Song Book

The  Service Song Book was distributed by the YMCA to almost all the U.S. service men of the First World War. Its author (or maybe better stated–"compiler"),  Clarence Augustus Barbour, was an American Baptist clergyman and educator most notable for having served as the president of Brown University. Seventy-four songs, Christian hymns, patriotic and traditional pieces, and—in the 1918 abridged version shown here—some of the most popular of the new wartime tunes, are included. 

Rev. Barbour

The Service Song Book, though,  contains more than song lyrics.  For moral guidance, there is a section of scriptural quotes from both the Old and New Testaments,  a few standard prayers used by most Christian denominations, plus a section of new and specific poems for those going into harm's way, their supporters, and families at home, written by theologians Edward Bosworth and Walter Rauschenbusch.  This last group of prayers includes such titles as "For Soldiers Going Into Battle,"  "Against Alcoholism," and "For Doctor and Nurses."  Here are some sample pages from the booklet. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Thanks to Mike and Donna Pal Cynthia Gross for contributing this item.

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