Can you tell me anything about this old song?
May 18, 2015 2:31 AM   Subscribe

My mother learnt a song from her (now deceased) mother, but we don't know anything about it other than the lyrics. I've found a few traces on Google, but can you help me track down any more information?

The lyrics as we know them are
We are the boys of the coming generation,
We are the boys who will build a mighty nation,
Hopeful are we in the planting of the seeds,
We are the boys our country needs.
Nearly the same verse appears in this Google Books link, but it's credited only as a "school song". Google also turns up similar lyrics in a couple of small-town pageants, both near Chicago: Pageant of Palos and the Arlington Heights Herald. And there my trail goes dead.

Does anyone have any ideas how to get more information? Maybe it's related to a Chicago school?
posted by katrielalex to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
Is this the hit you had? 'cos that seems to attribute to Mark Twain, but if that was correct I'd expect more hits out there.

(Ignore the Mark Twain thing, I'm misreading the text)
posted by Leon at 3:08 AM on May 18, 2015

Contact details for author. Worth a shot, right?
posted by Leon at 3:10 AM on May 18, 2015

Forgotten books has a digital copy of the Pageant of Palos available here . You do need a membership to see the full book but it might contain more information.
posted by poxandplague at 4:34 AM on May 18, 2015

All of the hits on Google books seem to refer to Chicago area boys' orphanages. Chaddock, Parkside. Maybe somebody involved with the orphanages wrote it.
posted by interplanetjanet at 6:08 AM on May 18, 2015

Oh, it has the credits for the song right in that Pageant book you linked to. It's on page 21, if the link doesn't work. By Permission of Clayton F. Summy Publishing Company. Words by H. B. Davis Music by L. D. Duncanson.
posted by interplanetjanet at 6:17 AM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

H. B. Davis was, I would bet, the Harriet B. Davis who was a teacher and principal in Chicago. Lillian Davis Duncanson seems to have been an education reformer/philanthropist. And Clayton F. Summy was a Chicago Music publisher who was also involved in the "Happy Birthday" song copyright.

So "The Coming Generation" was a song written for schoolchildren in the Chicago area that never seems to have caught on in the rest of the country.
posted by interplanetjanet at 6:49 AM on May 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

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