Collections of song lyrics intended to be sung to popular tunes of the day proliferated in the nineteenth century. Known as songsters, they were usually published in small format for ease of portability and were often organized around a central theme. Publishing was primarily a Northern industry at the start of the Civil War, making The Southern “Flag” Song Book a rare example of a Confederate songster. The firm of H. C. Clarke saw a market for songsters in the military. The fact that in 1861 this was already a “new edition” attests to the success of the publication.