Music to vote by

“Tippecanoe and Tyler Too! ” sheet music, 1840.

“Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.” Can you even say the words without feeling upbeat? People in 1840 must have felt so, because the song by that name is credited today with “singing” Whig presidential candidate William Henry Harrison (hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe) and running mate John Tyler into office. The North American Review, a leading literary magazine of its time, even went so far as to declare that the song “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” was to the 1840 presidential election what “La Marseillaise” was to the French Revolution.

Just in time to get in the voting mood for this year’s presidential election, the Gardiner Public Library will host balladeer and musical historian Linda Russell on Sunday, November 4 at 3 p.m. in “Songs America Voted By: Campaign Songs of the 19th Century.” Admission is free.

Russell will offer a dynamic program of live music and anecdotes from primary sources to trace the history of our elections, from Jefferson’s victory song through the Whigs’ Great Singing Campaign of 1840 to the ragtime melodies of Teddy Roosevelt’s term. Accompanied by guitar, dulcimer and pennywhistle, Russell will entertain the listener while presenting a unique look at how we got to know the candidates for political office in the days before mass media.


Russell is a recognized expert in historical interpretation, who began her career as a balladeer for the National Park Service at Federal Hall National Memorial in New York City, where for 16 years she brought the 18th century to life for visitors to the site of George Washington’s inauguration on Wall Street. Her touring career began in 1985, and since then she has performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Symphony Space and on A Prairie Home Companion. Russell also has eight albums of traditional and historical music to her credit.

The program is made possible by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities. Melissa Fairweather, coordinator of volunteers and public relations for the Library, says that these types of grants enable smaller libraries like Gardiner’s to offer the caliber of programs that otherwise would only be possible at the larger libraries.

On Monday, November 5, the Library will host local author Steve Hamilton, who will read from his work from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Hamilton is a two-time winner of the Edgar Award and a New York Times best-selling author. His first novel, A Cold Day in Paradise, introduced his character Alex McKnight to the world of crime fiction, and he has gone on to win or be nominated for every major crime fiction award in America and the UK. Born and raised in Detroit, Hamilton currently resides in Ulster County with his wife and children. One of his novels, Night Work, is set in Kingston.

On Sunday, November 4 at 3 p.m., the Gardiner Public Library will present balladeer and musical historian Linda Russell in “Songs America Voted By: Campaign Songs of the 19th Century.” Admission is free. On Monday, November 5 local author Steve Hamilton will read from his work at the Gardiner Public Library from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. The Library is located at 133 Farmers’ Turnpike, which runs parallel to Main Street in Gardiner. Turn south on Arch Street to find a long driveway leading to the parking lot and building. For more information, visit or call (845) 255-1255.