Search Tips

Quotation Marks—Enclosing a multiword phrase in quotation marks tells the search engine to list only sites that contain those words in that exact order.

The following must appear in ALL CAPS and with a space on each side.

AND—Indicates that the records found must contain all the words joined by the AND operator. For example, to find objects that contain the words wizard, oz, and movie, enter wizard AND oz AND movie.

OR—Records found must contain at least one of the words joined by OR. For example, to find objects that contain the word dog or the word puppy, enter dog OR puppy.

AND NOT—Indicates that the records found cannot contain the word that follows the term AND NOT. For example, to find objects that contain the word pets but not the word dogs, enter pets AND NOT dogs.

Online Collections

How the Gates Came Ajar

sheet music

1874

"O, angel, sweet angel," runs this popular late-19th-century song, "I pray you, Let the beautiful gates ajar, Only a little, I pray you, Let the beautiful gates ajar." Published in 1874, the song, inspired by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps' 1868 bestseller "The Gates Ajar" pleads for the gates of heaven to open enough to allow a glimpse of departed loved ones. Selling hundreds of thousands of copies before the end of the century, the novel, first published shortly after the end of the Civil War, consoled grieving families by envisioning a heaven not much different from life on earth, where families would eventually be reunited. So popular was the novel that manufacturers created everything from clothing to cigars, patent medicine, and, of course, sheet music, in its honor. More than just a response to the book's popularity, however, this song, written by R. A. Eastburn and Helen Botswick for music publisher S. Bainard & Company, struck a chord with Victorian sensibilities. Singing music together at home not only entertained the family but also tied it together with chords of domestic harmony. This song promised family unity even after death.

Materiallithographed paper
Object ID93.646

All artifact images, interpretive information, and website text
© The Strong.