Lot 371BERLIN, IRVING
Autograph stanza from God Bless America. [N.p.: n.d., likely circa 1940]. One page autograph manuscript in ink signed "Irving Berlin" below eleven lines of lyrics, on one sheet of Berlin's personal stationery. 11 x 7 1/4 inches (28.5 x 19 cm). Folds, light thumbsoiling and toning to edges, holes to upper left corner from staples, slight smudge to last word, the signature bold and dark, overall a fine example.
"God Bless America, My Home Sweet Home" - a very rare autograph stanza from Berlin's famous patriotic song. Written while serving in the Army in 1918, Berlin did not feel the song fit the revue he was writing at that time. Upon Hitler's rise in the mid-1930s, Berlin, a first generation Jewish immigrant, revisited the song, altered a few lyrics, and introduced it on Armistice Day in 1938 on Kate Smith's radio show. Smith's famous recording of the song is played patriotically at American professional sporting events and the song has been revitalized in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks. The present manuscript greatly resembles a similar manuscript in the Library of Congress, which Berlin gifted to Dwight D. Eisenhower in December 1940. While we find several signed examples of the 1939 printed sheet music for God Bless America, we find no example of the lyrics in manuscript in the auction record.
Sold for $5,625
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