Boston: Oliver Ditson (copyright held by Firth, Pond & Co.), 1860. Cardboard covers. First edition. Collated and complete with all 80 pages. Illustrated card covers with cloth spine covering. Cover illustration of Buckley (not in blackface) sitting in a chair and playing his banjo. Worn spine and cracked hinges. Soiling and edge-wear. Pages toned, but not brittle. Owner names and miscellaneous docketing inside both covers. A number of songs in the table of contents have pencil checkmarks. A sound copy of a very scarce banjo book. This classic, antebellum banjo instruction book and songster is an original first edition, not a modern paperback printing. It contains 10 pages of instruction, titled “Rudiments of Music,” followed by music in standard notation for over 135 tunes, some with lyrics. Lots of early banjo highlights including Yankee Doodle, Jim Crow Jig, Hail Columbia, Dan Bryant’s Waltz, Old Dan Emmett’s Waltz, Dixie’s Land, Hard Times, Arkansas Traveler, I’m Off for Brighton, Root Hog or Die, The Glendy Burk, etc. Good to Very Good. Item #009454
“The Buckley Family were among the pioneers of negro minstrelsy. Their first appearance was in the Tremont Temple, Boston, in 1842, under the name of ‘Congo Melodists,’ and proved immensely successful. Subsequently they traveled through the South and West, and in 1846 visited England, where they performed successively at Drury-Lane and the Princess's Theatres. Returning to New-York, they located themselves in the Chinese Assembly Rooms, where they have since continued to produce burlesque operas, and become very popular with our citizens. The Buckleys consist of James Buckley, the father, and three sons—Richard, George Swaine and Frederick. . .. They are at present assisted by persons of considerable taste and skill, and the entertainments which they nightly present attract numerous and respectable audiences.” (“The Black Opera,” N. Y. Tribune, June 30, 1855) Scarce. As of 2019, no other examples are for sale in the trade and no auction records are listed at Rare Book Hub. OCLC shows only five examples held by institutions.