09 February 2013

"Emblem of Freedom", a song about Patrotism

Patriotism was of the utmost importance to many new immigrants. 

One such immigrant was Thomas Ostenson Stine who was born in Vestre Slidre, Oppland, Norway on November 11, 1865. He was baptized Tollef Ostensen Steine on February 4, 1866. He emigrated to America in 1882, at the age 17.

In an brief autobiography published in the forward to a book of poetry: Heaven on Earth (Seattle, Pigott Pr., 1920), Stine writes,    "In 1890 I took out my final citizenship paper in the circuit court of Brookings [South Dakota]. The question then arose regarding the Americanization of the spelling of my name without losing the identity of the Valders farm -- Steine. ... Some time later I conferred with Dr. George Lilley [at South Dakota Agricultural College and now president of the Washington Agricultural College and School of Science], my good, old teacher, regarding the spelling of my name. He stated that Steine looked better to him than Staine, but suggested that it be spelled -- STINE."

Mr. Stine traveled to the Pacific Coast via the Canadian Pacific, landing in Seattle in the early part of March, 1891. He became well known in the Pacific Northwest as a teacher, newspaper correspondent, author, and poet.

Within ten years of his arrival in the Puget Sound, Mr. Stine was seen as a prolific writer. In February 1903 the Seattle Daily Times published the following:

A New Patriotic Song
Seattle Daily Times, February 23, 1902
A new patriotic song entitled "Emblem of Freedom," has just been published. It is in every sense expressive of true American spirit, and will undoubtedly be met with warm sympathy by the public. The words are written by Mr. Thos. O. Stine, the first graduate of the Washington Agricultural College and School of Science, who is well known to the people on the Sound as a teacher and newspaper correspondent. The melody is by Mr. C. Blom, a noted composer. Both the words and the music are strong and spirited and bear marked indications of literary and musical power.

Emblem of Freedom
Emblem of freedom how dearly I hail thee, 
Gleaming with spangles of victory won; 
Smiling with hope, which with longing has filled me,
      Courage and love that our fathers have shown.
Firm in protection,
Pure in affections,

Pride of our country, the flag of the brave!
       Spirit awakens with fond recollection
Deeds of our fathers that sleep in the grave.

Tyranny rallied with fury despairing,
       Presents to battle for liberty flee.
Washington leading and firmly declaring,
       "Yankees forever unconquered and free."
      Land in commotion,
  War on the ocean,

Never shall ruffle the flag on our shore,
     Flag that our fathers with blood and devotion
Gallantly hoisted as onward they bore.  

By June 1903 the song had spread throughout the country.  On June 14, 1903, the Seattle Daily Times reported the following:
 "Emblem of Freedom" is gaining recognition among the prominent educators in the East. The Missouri School Journal, a leading educational magazine, published the whole song in the April number and also gave considerable editorial space to it. Among other things the Journal said: "Teach your children to sing 'Emblem of Freedom,' the words and music of which are found on another page of this issue, furnished us by the author Mr. Thomas O. Stine of Seattle, Wash., that our readers may have an opportunity to become acquainted with this delightful piece of music." 
       According to present indications the the song will be adopted for use in the public schools throughout the entire United States. The majority of the state superintendents of public instruction have offered to introduce it into the public schools. Even the State of California, which is one of the most independent states in the union, has given the song recognition. Prof. Thomas J. Kirk, state superintendent of public instruction of the Golden State, wrote the author of the song, in part, as follows, February 21, 1903: "I beg to acknowledge receipt of yours of the 21st inst., together with copies of your song, "Emblem of Freedom." It will give me pleasure to recommend it as one appropriate to be sung in public schools." 
       State superintendents of instruction of other states have expressed themselves equally pleased with the new patriotic song, which has already been adopted for use in public schools of a number of cities. 
In 1917 the song got a resurgence.  After war was declared between the United States and Germany, Mr Stine's patriotism and love of country cropped out to a remarkable degree. He printed thousands of copies of his song "Emblem of Freedom" and his poem "Heaven on Earth", and placed them on sale for the benefit of the [American] Red Cross. (source: Heaven on Earth, 1920)

In 1917 Mr. Stine dedicated the song to President Woodrow Wilson. The piece was republished at least four times.  (Source: Pacific Northwest Sheet Music, from the Ashford Collection, University of Washington)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm in direct descent of him.