Penn Library Department of Special Collections

William Penn

Keffer Collection of Sheet Music,
ca. 1790-1895

Content and design by John Bewley

Collection History
Guide Statistics
Focus on Philadelphia
Composers Publishers Lithographers Images and Music
List of Topics
Related Resources

Philadelphia Composers: Philip Phile (ca. 1734-1793)

Philip Phile was a violinist and composer active in Philadelphia beginning around 1784. He performed with the Old American Company orchestra as violinist and as leader of the ensemble. On April 12, 1787 a violin concerto by Phile was performed in Philadelphia but the score to this work is no longer extant. Phile is best known for being the composer of The President's March, presumably written for the inauguration of George Washington, although not published until 1793. The tune of the march was later used for a setting of patriotic verses written by Joseph Hopkinson, son of Francis Hopkinson. The resulting song, Hail Columbia, was first performed by Gilbert Fox at the Chestnut Street Theatre on April 25, 1798. Hail Columbia, along with The Star-Spangled Banner, served as the national anthem until Congress passed a bill in 1931 that declared The Star-Spangled Banner the official national anthem.

Compositions by Phile in the Collection

Item No.TitleImprintPlate No.Illustration
Box 14
no. 31
Hail Columbia! : a new patriotic song : arranged for the piano forte New York : Firth, Pond & Co., 1861 499 Color: a young patriot holding an American flag, a steam locomotive in the left background and a steamship in the right background
Box 1
no. 7
Hail Columbia! : national air, with the original words Boston : O. Ditson, between 1842 and 1844 None Portrait of George Washington / Thayer
Box 1
no. 13
President's March ; Ca Ira Philadelphia : Carr & Co., 1793 or 1794 None None


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