Through my Uncle's Panama Canal I'll Sail


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 “Through my Uncle's Panama Canal I'll Sail,” a song for voice and piano published in Hot Springs, South Dakota, in 1914, with music by Vivian Brooks and words by Theodore Schwall. The song has two verses, the first of which reads: O fair California, / O glorious state, / Throw open thy Golden Gate; / To the great and mighty coming throng, / Present thy shining Golden Key, / All the nations will soon thee praise, / For your kind hospitality, / And you will have performed your mission, / In opening the Panama Pacific Exposition.

Last updated: September 22, 2015