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John Philip Sousa: Topics in Chronicling America

John Philip Sousa was a composer and conductor best known for his military marches. This guide provides access to materials related to “John Philip Sousa” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Philip Sousa." August 29, 1911. The Hawaiian Star (Honolulu, HI), Image 7. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Nationally revered as “The March King,” John Philip Sousa was one of the most significant composers of the 20th century. Whether he was composing marches, conducting bands, producing operettas, or writing novels, his contributions to the arts have been innumerous. His most renowned work, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” was even selected as the official march anthem of the United States. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


1892 Sousa leaves the U.S. Marine Band to form his own band in Chicago.
April 1896 Sousa’s new comic opera “El Capitan” is met with great success.
May 16, 1897 First public performance of the “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
December 2, 1901 Sousa is awarded the medallion of the Victorian order by King Edward VII.
January 1902 Sousa writes his first novel, “The Fifth String.”
August 1911 Almost twenty years later and Sousa’s Band has traveled about 600,000 miles.
May 31, 1917 Sousa enlists in the U.S. Navy to conduct the national band.