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John Philip Sousa

John Philip Sousa
Harry Franklin Waltman, 1871 - 1951
John Philip Sousa, 6 Nov 1854 - 6 Mar 1932
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 68.9 x 56.5 x 2.5cm (27 1/8 x 22 1/4 x 1")
Frame: 80 x 67.3 x 5.7cm (31 1/2 x 26 1/2 x 2 1/4")
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Mustache
Costume\Dress Accessory\Eyeglasses\Pince-nez
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Beard
John Philip Sousa: Male
John Philip Sousa: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Composer
John Philip Sousa: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Violinist
John Philip Sousa: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Conductor
John Philip Sousa: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Bandmaster
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Sousa Corporation; frame conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women's Committee
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Washington, D.C.
Known as the “March King,” John Philip Sousa created the brass band music that set the tempo for America’s red-blooded parade into the twentieth century. As director of the Marine Band from 1880 to 1892, and then of the Sousa Band from 1892 to the end of his life, Sousa sought to compose and perform music that would capture a “true American national air” to express “genuine American feeling,” as he did in such marches as “Semper Fidelis” (1888), “The Washington Post March” (1889), and “Stars and Stripes Forever” (1897), and in the popular operetta El Capitan (1895). A brilliant showman, Sousa used his influence to help organize the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1914 to protect against copyright infringement. He also invented the sousaphone, a bass tuba with an upright bell.
The Sousa Corporation [descendants of sitter]; gift 1969 to NPG.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery