I'm Hangin' Out my Washin' 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 “I'm Hangin' out my Washin' on the Panama Canal,” a song for voice and piano published in Chicago, Illinois, in 1913, composed by Charles Edward Wright. The song has two verses, the first of which reads: I’ve been traveling around with a show. / With my honey we made it a go. / We sang a tune about a silver moon, / A grizzly bear and a rag-time coon. / I’m feeling so bad ‘bout my fate, / For I lost my honey choc-late cake, / ‘Cause she went away on a ship one day, / She wasn’t gone long a wire-less came to say.

Last updated: January 8, 2018