Music of Pullman

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At the turn of the 20th century, Pullman-- and particularly the phenomenon of the Pullman Porter-- caught the public's imagination. A journey on a Pullman car summoned up images of romance and adventure. In a rigidly segregated society, Pullman Porters were probably the only African-Americans that most of white society ever truly interacted with. As a result, Pullman Porters were also used in the era's minstrel shows; some of the words and images of the assembled tunes are blatantly racist and insensitive. The mystique and romance of rail travel is described in the sheet music of the period, 1871-1921.

The small image of the musician () indicates that the music has been scanned, optically recognized, and converted into MP3 format; the tunes are also available as MIDI files by clicking here

Music Inspired By Pullman

The Porter in a Pullman Car.
William H. Bray.
Cincinnati: Church, John, 1880.



 (1.7 mb)

Cover page/Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 

Page 4 Page 5  


Corliss Engine March Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8  The Corliss Engine March.
Sep. Winner.
Philadelphia: Sep. Winner & Son, 1877.


(4.1 mb)

P.P.C. Waltz.
Jno. C. Minton.
Cleveland & Chicago: Brainard's Sons, S., 1880.


(4.97 mb)

  P.P.C. Waltz Page 2 Page 3 
  Page 4
Page 5
Pullman Car Song Page 2 Page 3 
 Page 4 Page 5 
Pullman Car (Song).
Chas. J. Miers.
Philadelphia: Lee & Walker, 1871.

(<1 mb)

De Pullman Porters' Ball.
Stromberg, John.
New York : M. Witmark, c1901.



( 1.4 mb)

  De Pullman Porters' Ball Page 2 Page 3
 Page 4
Page 5
Porters on the Pullman Palace Cars Page2 Page 3 Page 4    Porters on the Pullman Palace Cars.
Geo. Phillips.
New York: C. H. Ditson,  1884.

(1.3 mb)

Pullman Porter Blues.
Hamilton, Burton & Clifford Ulrich.
New York : Leo. Feist, Inc., 1921

(2.2 mb)

 Pullman Porter Blues Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 
Pullman Porter Man Page 2 Page 3 Page 4   Page 5 Page 6   Pullman Porter Man.
Behim, Arthur E.
New York : J.H. Remick & Co., c1911.


(1.4 mb)

Pullman Porters Parade.
New York, New York, Maurice Abrahams Music, 1913.



 (1.8 mb)

 Pullman Porters Parade Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
 Page 5 Page 6 
Tourists in a Pullman Palace Car Page 2 Page 3 
Page 4
Page 5    
Tourists in a Pullman Palace Car (Tourists' Polka).
Chas. D. Blake.
Boston: White, Smith & Co., 1880.

(2.5 mb)

Tourists in a Pullman Car.
Geo. Bowron.
New York: Spear & Dehnhoff, 1880.


 (1.6 mb)

 Tourists in a Pullman Car Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 
Palace Car (Sunbeams) Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Pullman Car (Sunbeams).
Mack, E.
Philadelphia: Lee & Walker, 1872.

(<1 mb)

How The Music Was Encoded

The Pullman State Historic Site owns all of the twelve tunes selected to be a part of this exhibit, so the music was carefully scanned as 300-400 dpi images in TIFF format, no compression. The TIFF images were then "read' into Visiv's SharpEye 2 optical musical scanning software program. Depending on the cleanliness of the original, this process had an error rate of 70-95%, with Pullman Porter Man having only 20 errors and Tourists in a Pullman Palace Car 223. All errors had to be manually corrected, using SharpEye's very nice editing features. All stanzas were inspected on every musical selection.

The assembled OCR score, once corrected, was then exported into MIDI format, where it was then opened up in Myriad's Harmony Assistant program. This was preferred, because it allowed a very sophisticated series of instruments and playback options. We selected instruments that sounded like upright Victorian pianos; in many cases, the lyrics line is played back as a honky-tonk piano, while the supporting bass and treble lines were kept to more sedate parlor pianos. The reverb is what we imagine these tunes would have sounded like had then been played in the Hotel Florence (with its Minton tile lobby) in 1885. The files were then exported into mp3 format.


More Information About the Pullman Company

The Water Tower

Images of the The Water Tower

Left to right, The Allen Paper Wheelworks, The Water Tower, and the Corliss Engine House.

The Pullman Building

Images of the The Pullman Building

A postcard image of the Pullman Building.

Music Inspired by Pullman

Pullman Porter Man
Behim, Arthur E.
New York : J.H. Remick & Co., c1911.

Edison Films of Pullman Travel

From A Romance of the Rail, 1903

Other Pullman-Related Sites

  • Historic Pullman Garden Club - An all-volunteer group that are the current stewards of many of the public green spaces in Pullman. (

  • Historic Pullman Foundation - The HPF is a non-profit organization whose mission is to "facilitate the preservation and restoration of original structures within the Town of Pullman and to promote public awareness of the significance of Pullman as one of the nation's first planned industrial communities, now a designated City of Chicago, State of Illinois and National landmark district." (
  • The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum is a 501(c)3 cultural institution. Its purpose is to honor, preserving present and interpreting the legacy of A. Philip Randolph, Pullman Porters, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the contributions made by African-Americans to America's labor movement. ((
  • Pullman Civic Organization - The PCO is a strong and vibrant Community Organization that has been in existence since 1960. (
  • Pullman National Monument - The official page of the Pullman National Park. (
  • South Suburban Genealogical & Historical Society - SSG&HS holds the Pullman Collection, consisting of personnel records from Pullman Car Works circa 1900-1949. There are approximately 200,000 individuals represented in the collection. (
  • The Industrial Heritage Archives of Chicago's Calumet Region is an online museum of images that commemorates and celebrates the historic industries and workers of the region, made possible by a Library Services and Technology Act grant administered by the Illinois State Library. (
  • Illinois Digital Archives (IDA) is a repository for the digital collections libraries and cultural institutions in the State of Illinois and the hosting service for the online images on this site. (