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Illustrating Tin Pan Alley: From Ragtime to Jazz

July 19 - September 21

Tin Pan Alley, located on 28th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was the cradle of the music industry in the United States. Here, American popular music as we have come to know it was first manufactured and promoted through sheet music and its compelling representative illustrations.

The landmark buildings on that block of 28th Street offer a glimpse into what has become a worldwide cultural force – pop music – at its specific place of creation.

This exhibition of sheet music covers, and other illustrations, are drawn from the collection of Harlem historian John T. Reddick whose research has focused on that community’s Black and Jewish music culture between 1890-1930.  The illustrations on sheet music served as an important tool in marketing Tin Pan Alley songs and capturing their spirit in the minds of the public.  The sheet music helps tell the stories of the songwriters, music publishers and performers — many of whom were Eastern European Jewish immigrants and Black Americans — that formed the sound and industry of American Popular Music in the first half of the 20th Century.

The nonprofit Tin Pan Alley American Popular Music Project commemorates and continues the legacy of Tin Pan Alley, the culturally rich and diverse birthplace of American Popular Music on 28th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue in New York City.  The Project connects people with the power of music as an essential element of New York City and American cultural history.

Exhibit Details:

Presented in partnership with the Tin Pan Alley American Popular Music Project.

On display in the 2nd floor Red Gallery.

Exhibit-Related Events:

Opening Reception

Exhibit Tours


July 19
September 21
Event Category:


At the Society
128 East 63rd Street
New York, NY 10065 United States
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