Honeymooning on the Panama Canal


The construction of the Panama Canal, its opening to traffic in early 1914, and the Panama Pacific International Exposition, held in San Francisco in 1915 to celebrate the completion of the canal, all inspired a wave of songwriting in the United States. The most notable of the compositions honoring the canal was “The Pathfinder of Panama,” written by the military march composer John Philip Sousa in 1915. This was also a time in which American popular sheet music publication was enjoying a golden age of sorts. Songs were published with cover art and accompanying illustrations that often overshadowed the quality of the compositions themselves, most of which are long forgotten. Shown here is the sheet music for “Honeymooning on the Panama Canal,” a song for voice and piano published in Washington, D.C., in 1913, with music by Jack Stanley and words by William B. Delancy. The song has three verses, the first of which reads: When Balboa sailed from Spain, / Far across the bounding main, / In search for fabled wealth with which he might return again, / Gold and silver that he found, / Had to be mined from the ground, / Precious treasures, richer, greater, for me, in one girl abound.

Last updated: January 8, 2018