Sheet music

USA IOWA : Iowa State Song
State Song of Iowa
The Song of Iowa

  • Author: Samuel Hawkins Marshall Byers (1838-1933)
  • Composer: Traditional
  • Adopted: March 20 1911
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  • Further details: The state song of Iowa, entitled "The Song of Iowa," written by SAMUEL HAWKINS MARSHALL BYERS (1838-1933) in 1867, was at that time, and has been, sung to the tune of the old German song "O Tannenbaum". Samuel Byers received inspiration for writing the words whilst he was confined in Libby Prison, at Richmond, Virginia, after he had been taken by the enemy in the battle of Lookout Mountain, in 1863. His captors were accustomed to pass by his prison playing the air of "O Tannenbaum" or "My Maryland," or singing it "set to Southern and bitter words." It was at this time that Samuel Byers resolved to put that tune "to loyal words." The song "Iowa" was the crystallization of his resolve. This musical composition was authorised to be recognised as the state song of Iowa by a House Concurrent Resolution of the Senate on March 20 1911.

    The theme of Samuel Byer's lyrics centres on his love for, and praise of Iowa, the cornfields, prairies, purple sunsets, fair women, and the patriotic sons of his beloved state.