Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays -- Research Guide

Sources for the Study of 19th and 20th Century Blackface Minstrelsy


Buckley's Ethiopian melodiesLittle books of lyrics to popular songs, most dating from the late 18th century to the late 19th century. Many are associated with particular performers or composers, such as Dan Bryant or Harrigan and Hart. In Josiah, they may be found by searching for the subject "Songsters." It is also possible to find them by publisher or by the name of a performer. Use the limit function to select for date or other criteria. In addition, it is useful to search the titles in the chapter references or bibliography in Robert Toll's book Blacking Up. Most of the songsters are available on microfilm, and thus photocopies can be made at need.

See Also:
» Songsters

» Top of the page

Minstrel Plays or Skits

These include actual skits performed by professional minstrel troupes (primarily in the 19th century) and those intended for amateur performers (primarily in the 20th century). Search Josiah by publisher (author search), by playwright, or using the references in Blacking Up. Many of the plays are too fragile to photocopy, although some exist on microfilm or microfiche and can be copied from these sources.

See Also:
» Plays

» Top of the page

Sheet Music

Music with notation for single songs. Most of the titles associated with minstrelsy from 1826 to the late 19th century are in Josiah. Often the music has very interesting and illuminating illustrated covers and includes portraits of performers. Sheet music can be found in Josiah by title, by performer, by composer, and by a wide variety of subjects. "African-Americans--Songs and Music" will retrieve a great many pieces. In addition, there are many uncataloged pieces filed by title. References in Blacking Up are useful, as are songs cited in the Sam Dennison's Scandalize My Name. Photocopies of sheet music can easily be made. In addition, there are digitized copies of over 1,300 pieces of African-American related sheet music on the web. See: Brown University African-American Sheet Music 1850-1920.

See Also:
» Music

» Top of the page

Searching for Blackface Msintrelsy in Josiah

Publishers (also use as limit): Musicians & playwrights (19th cent.):
Dick & Fitzgerald, pub.
De Witt, Robert M., pub.
New York Popular Publishing Co.
Brady, Frederic A., pub.
Turner & Fisher, pub.
Winch, A. pub.
Leavitt, Andrew J.
Griffin, George W. H.
Dumont, Frank
Cutler, Frank
Buckley, James
Buckley, Frederick
White, Charles
Playwright (20th century): Kaser, Arthur Leroy (use him for 20th century minstrelsy)
Subject headings for 19th century minstrelsy: African-Americans Songs and Music
African-American Plays (careful of the date)
Minstrel Shows (limit by date)
Minstrels (limit by date)

» Top of the page

Related Internet Resources

Brown University Library Resources: Resource Guides to Subject Areas:

Brown University Library Resources: Subject Collections

Other Internet Resources

» Top of the page

Essential References

Christy's plantation melodies, no. 3Afro-American Poetry and Drama, 1760-1975. A guide to information sources.
Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1979.

American music before 1865 in print and on records : a biblio-discography / pref. by H. Wiley Hitchcock
Brooklyn : Institute for Studies in American Music, Dept. of Music, School of Performing Arts, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, [c1976]

American playwrights, 1880-1945 : a research and production sourcebook / edited by William W. Demastes
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, c1995

Bordman, Gerald Martin
The Oxford companion to American theatre / Gerald Bordman

3rd ed
New York : Oxford University Press, 2004

Cambridge guide to American theatre / edited by Don B. Wilmeth and Tice L. Miller [England] ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1996

The Cambridge history of American theatre / edited by Don B. Wilmeth, Christopher Bigsby. 3 vols.

Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1998-2000

Damon, S. Foster
The negro in early American songsters
[n.p.] 1934
Note: dated, but useful.

De Charms, Desiree
Songs in collections; an index [by] Desiree de Charms & Paul F. Breed
[Detroit] Information Service [c1966]

Dennison, Sam.
Scandalize my name: Black imagery in American popular music
New York : Garland Publishing, 1982

Devine, George J.
American songsters 1806-1815
(M.A. Thesis)
Providence: Brown University, 1940

Dichter, Harry
Early American sheet music : its lure and its lore, 1768-1889 / by Harry Dichter and Elliott Shapiro ; including a directory of early American music publishers ; illustrated
New York : R.R. Bowker Co., 1941

Epstein, Dena J.
Sinful tunes and spirituals : Black folk music to the Civil War
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [c1977]

Fuld, James J.
American popular music : (reference book) 1875-1950.
Philadelphia : Musical Americana, c1955, (1956)

Gillespie, John
A bibliography of nineteenth-century American piano music, with location sources and composer biography-index / John Gillespie and Anna Gillespie
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1984

Goodfellow, William D.
SongCite : an index to popular songs.
New York : Garland, 1995

Goodfellow, William D.
SongCite : an index to popular songs. Supplement 1
New York : Garland Pub., 1999

Harwell, Richard Barksdale
Confederate music
Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press [1950]

Hatch, James Vernon, 1928-
Black playwrights, 1823-1977 : an annotated bibliography of plays/ compiled and edited by James V. Hatch and Omanii Abdullah.
New York : Bowker, 1977.

Havlice, Patricia Pate
Popular song index
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1975

Havlice, Patricia Pate
Popular song index : first supplement
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1978

Havlice, Patricia Pate
Popular song index. Second supplement
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1984

Havlice, Patricia Pate
Popular song index. Third supplement
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1989

Heard, Priscilla S.
American music, 1698-1800 : an annotated bibliography.
Waco, Tex. : Baylor University Press, Markham Press Fund, c1975

Hixon, Donald L.
Music in early America: a bibliography of music in Evans.
Metuchen, N.J., Scarecrow Press, 1970

Hoogerwerf, Frank W.
Confederate sheet-music imprints
Brooklyn, N.Y. : Institute for Studies in American Music, Conservatory of Music, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, c1984

Hovland, Michael A.
Musical settings of American poetry : a bibliography
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1986

Keller, Kate Van Winkle
The national tune index [microform] / compiled by Kate Van Winkle Keller and Carolyn Rabson
Microfiche ed
New York : University Music Editions, c1980

Klamkin, Marian
Old sheet music : a pictorial history. Photos. by Charles Klamkin
New York : Hawthorn Books, [c1975]

Krummel, Donald William
Bibliographical handbook of American music.
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1987

Krummel, Donald William
Guide for dating early published music: a manual of bibliographical practice.
Hackensack, N. J. J. Boonin, 1974

Larson, Carl F. W., 1939-
American regional theatre history to 1900 : a bibliography / compiled by Carl F. W. Larson

Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1979

Lax, Roger
The great song thesaurus / Roger Lax, Frederick Smith
2nd ed., updated and expanded
New York : Oxford University Press, 1989

Levy, Lester S.
Grace notes in American history; popular sheet music from 1820-1900
Norman, University of Oklahoma Press [1967]

Levy, Lester S.
Picture the songs : lithographs from the sheet music of nineteenth-century America.
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c1976

Library Company of Philadelphia
American song sheets, slip ballads, and poetical broadsides, 1850-1870; a catalogue of the collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia by Edwin Wolf 2nd.
New York, Kraus Reprint Corp., 1963

Lissauer, Robert
Lissauer's encyclopedia of popular music in America : 1888 to the present
New York : Paragon House, 1991

Lowens, Irving.
A bibliography of songsters printed in America before 1821
Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1976

Martin, Edwin, 1943-
Mud show : American tent circus life / photographs by Edwin Martin ; essay by Don B. Wilmeth

Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, c1988

Metcalf, Frank J.
American psalmody; or, Titles of books containing tunes printed in America from 1721 to 1820. Compiled by Frank J. Metcalf. New introd. by Harry Eskew
New York, Da Capo Press, 1968

Miles, William.
Songs, odes, glees and ballads. A bibliography of American presidential campaign songsters
New York: Greenwood Press, 1990

Moody, Richard, 1911- ed.
Dramas from the American theatre, 1762-1909.
Cleveland, World Pub. Co. [1966]

Music printing and publishing / edited by D.W. Krummel and Stanley Sadie
New York : W.W. Norton, 1990

The New Grove dictionary of American music / edited by H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie ; editorial coordinator Susan Feder
London : Macmillan Press Ltd. ; New York : Grove's Dictionaries of Music Inc., distributor, 1986

The New York Public Library performing arts desk reference
New York : Macmillan, c1994

Odell, George Clinton Densmore, 1866-1949.
Annals of the New York stage.
New York, Columbia University Press, 1927-49.

Peters, Harry Twyford
America on stone; the other printmakers to the American people; a chronicle of American lithography other than that of Currier & Ives, from its beginning, shortly before 1820, to the years when the commercial single-stone hand-colored lithograph disappear ed from the American scene.
[Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, inc., c1931]

Peterson, Bernard L.
The African American theatre directory, 1816-1960 : a comprehensive guide to early Black theatre organizations, companies, theatres, and performing groups. Foreword by Errol Hil l.
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1997.

Peterson, Bernard L., jr.
A Century of Musicals in Black and White. An Encyclopedia of Musical Stage Works By, About, or Involving African Americans .
Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.

Peterson, Bernard L., jr.
Early Black American Playwrights and Dramatic Writers. A Biographical Directory and Catalog of Plays, Films, and Broadcasting Scripts .
New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.

Popular music, 1900-1919 : an annotated guide to American popular songs, including introductory essay, lyricists and composers index, important performances index, chronological index, and list of publishers./ Barbara Cohen-Stratyner, editor
Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Inc., c1988

Popular music, 1920-1979 : a revised cumulation / Nat Shapiro and Bruce Pollock, editors
Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985

Popular music, 1980-1989 : an annotated guide to American popular songs, including introductory essay, lyricists and composers index, important performances index, chronological index, awards index, and list of publishers / Bruce Pollock, editor< /a>
Revised cumulation
Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Inc., c1995

Rabson, Carolyn
The national tune index user's guide : 18th-century secular music / Carolyn Rabson, Kate Van Winkle Keller ; [foreword by Irving Lowens ; introduction by Arthur F. Schrader]
New York: University Music Editions, 1980

Resources of American music history : a directory of source materials from Colonial times to World War II; D. W. Krummel ... [et al.]
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1981

Riis, Thomas Laurence.
More than just minstrel shows : the rise of Black musical theatre at the turn of the century
New York : Institute for Studies in American Music, Conservatory of Music, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, c1992.

Riis, Thomas Laurence.
Just before jazz : Black musical theater in New York, 1890-1915
Washington : Smithsonian Institution Press, c1989.

Sampson, Henry T., 1934-
Blacks in blackface : a source book on early Black musical shows
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1980.

Sampson, Henry T., 1934-
The ghost walks : a chronological history of Blacks in show business, 1865-1910
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1988.

Sears, Minnie Earl
Song index; an index to more than 12,000 songs in 177 song collections comprising 262 volumes, edited by Minnie Earl Sears, assisted by Phyllis Crawford
New York, The H.W. Wilson Company, 1926

Sears, Minnie Earl
Song index. Supplement; an index to more than 7000 songs in 104 song collections, comprising 124 volumes, edited by Minnie Earl Sears, assisted by Phyliss Crawford. Preface by Isadore Gilbert Mudge
New York, The H. W. Wilson company, 1934

Shapiro, Nat
Popular music (Detroit, Mich.)
Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., c1974-
Note: An annotated index of American popular songs. Edited by Nat Shapiro, v. 1-6 (covering 1920-1969); Bruce Pollock, v. 7- (covering 1970- ). A revised cumulation, 1980-1989, supersedes v. 9 (1980)-14 (1989)

Sonneck, Oscar George Theodore
A bibliography of early secular American music (18th century). Rev. and enl. by William Treat Upton. With a pref. to the Da Capo ed. by Irving Lowens.
New York, Da Capo Press, 1964

Southern, Eileen
Biographical dictionary of Afro-American and African musicians.
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1982

Southern, Eileen
The music of black Americans : a history.
3rd ed
New York : W.W. Norton, c1997

Tatham, David
The lure of the striped pig; the illustration of popular music in America, 1820-1870
Barre, Mass., Imprint Society, 1973

Toll, Robert C
Blacking up : the minstrel show in nineteenth century America / Robert C. Toll

New York : Oxford University Press, 1974

Wilmeth, Don B
American and English popular entertainment :
a guide to information sources / Don B. Wilmeth ; foreword by Brooks McNamara

Wilmeth, Don B
The American stage to World War I : a guide to information sources / Don B. Wilmeth

Detroit : Gale Research Co., [c1978]

Wilmeth, Don B
Variety entertainment and outdoor amusements : a reference guide / Don B. Wilmeth

Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1982

Wolfe, Richard J.
Secular music in America, 1801-1825 : a bibliography / introd. by Carleton Sprague Smith
New York : The New York Public Library, 1964

Woll, Allen L.
Dictionary of the Black theatre : Broadway, off-Broadway, and selected Harlem theatre
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1983.

» Top of the page

Buckley's Ethiopian melodies : published under the authority of James Buckley and Sons, proprietors and managers of Buckley's New Orleans Serenaders, containing the genuine Buckley's songs, as sung at their Opera House, 539 Broadway, New York. New York : P.J. Cozans, [c1853] Harris Index no. 3206. Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays

Christy's plantation melodies, no. 3. Published under the authority of Edwin P. Christy. Philadelphia ; New York, [etc.] : Fisher & Brother, c1853. Harris Index no. 3220. Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays