Of Stars, Soldiers, Mothers, and Mourning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The entry of the United States into World War I was accompanied by a flurry of new icons and symbols for engagement, support, and commitment to the war effort. One such symbol was the "service flag", a banner to be displayed by families of which a member or members was serving overseas. Initially a simple banner bearing a blue star or stars, this was modified when servicemen began to die; a gold star replaced the blue. With blue stars, gold stars, and services flags were associated a large number of songs issued as sheet music. The differing interactions of these with other pre-existing genres, with various segments of the publishing and entertainment industries, with women's organizations formed around "gold star mothers", and with shifting cultural values and concerns, from militance through service to memorialization, illuminate both the evolution of the war in the public consciousness and the workings of the music business in a time of great transformations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOver Here, Over There
Subtitle of host publicationTransatlantic conversations on the music of World War I
EditorsWilliam Brooks, Christina Bashford, Gayle Magee
Place of PublicationChampaign, IL
PublisherUniversity of Illinois Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-252-05156-2
ISBN (Print)978-0-252-04270-6, 978-0-252-08454-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019
EventOver Here and Over There: The music of World War I - United Kingdom and United States, York, UK and Urbana, IL
Duration: 27 Feb 201528 Feb 2015

Publication series

NameMusic in American Life
PublisherUniversity of Illinois Press


ConferenceOver Here and Over There
Abbreviated titleOver Here and Over There
CityYork, UK and Urbana, IL


  • World War I
  • Music
  • Sheet music
  • Memorialization
  • Mothers
  • Service flag
  • Popular music

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