Baltimore: G. Willig, Jun'r, 1834-1850. Wraps. Sheet music with 8-pages including the cover. Complete. Six songs: Zip Coon (Turkey in the Straw), Jim Brown, Sittin on a Rail, Jim Crow, Clare de Kitchen, and Sich a Getting Up Stairs. The front cover features a series of blackface character illustrations. The music is in very nice shape; light toning. Once bound so a little rough along the left edge. Very good. Item #008942
Thomas "Daddy" Rice, the "father of American minstrelsy," was a white performer who first donned his black-faced, Jim Crow persona in 1828 during a New York song-and-dance routine. Rice claimed his routine was inspired by a stable hand named Jim Crow whom he saw performing a song and jig, after which he purchased the man's ragged clothing and adapted his dance routine for the stage. Rice's performance took first New York and then the entire country by storm. Others imitated Rice's act in increasingly elaborate shows, and minstrels became the most important and popular form of American entertainment during the 19th century. Several versions of "The Crow Quadrilles" were published between 1834 and 1850, and their precedence is undetermined. This example is one of two that included six Rice songs. Its front cover shows Rice performing as Jim Crow in the center, a blackface marching band, and several other characters including Zip Coon and Long Tail Blue. A black crow with a human face (possibly a portrait of Rice without burnt cork) surmounts the other illustrations. While all versions of "The Crow Quadrilles" are scarce, this six-song edition is much less common than the others. As of 2017, none are for sale in the trade, OCLC shows only one institutional holding, and one was sold at a recent Swan auction.