At work, I've been cataloguing ethnic 78 rpm records, in the Columbia label's E- and F-series. Recently, I came across four E-series records made as benefit projects for the Red Cross and war widows/orphans/wounded during WWI. Three were German, and intended to benefit war victims in Germany and Austria-Hungary, and one was Serbian. They were all recorded in New York City by U.S.- based groups in the spring of 1916. Less than a year later, the United States would enter WWI, on the other side. Politics is funny that way. In April, Columbia Records is making benefit records for German war orphans. A year later, everyone is eating Salisbury steak and Victory cabbage because the Germans are the enemy. I think that's one of the things that makes WWI so tragic. It was an accident waiting to happen, and it just spread beyond anyone's control.
In other news, I've started the background reading that will lead to my master's thesis proposal by start of term. I started writing down what I thought were different issues I wanted to explore in the thesis, say a chapter per issue. I got four really good, solid issues. Then I talked to my dad on the phone, and I told him about these issues and all their related side questions. He just laughed and told me that what I actually had was four different thesis topics!
It's gonna be a fun year. . .