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Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?

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Steve Gardham 28 Mar 12 - 04:40 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Mar 12 - 04:45 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Mar 12 - 04:53 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Mar 12 - 05:01 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Mar 12 - 05:17 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Mar 12 - 05:32 PM
John Minear 28 Mar 12 - 06:59 PM
John Minear 29 Mar 12 - 06:39 PM
John Minear 10 Apr 12 - 06:43 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Apr 12 - 04:18 PM
John Minear 11 Apr 12 - 05:27 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Apr 12 - 05:40 PM
John Minear 12 Apr 12 - 12:34 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Apr 12 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,John Moulden 12 Apr 12 - 04:26 PM
Bill D 12 Apr 12 - 05:19 PM
peregrina 12 Apr 12 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Lighter 12 Apr 12 - 08:18 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Apr 12 - 11:06 AM
Richie 13 Apr 12 - 03:18 PM
John Minear 14 Apr 12 - 10:11 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Apr 12 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Lighter 14 Apr 12 - 04:09 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 04:40 PM

85
I have carried out an extensive comparative study of all versions of Lady Alice and Child 42 George Collins and like many others have come to the conclusion that they are the same ballad. I also think some of the later versions may be burlesques of an older lost ballad. They certainly read like the burlesques of other ballads, Lord Lovel, Barbara Allen, Demon Lover, etc.

The earliest version I have is in Gammer Gurton's Garland 1810 under the title, Giles Collins and Proud Lady Ann. I'll check to see if it's also in earlier editions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 04:45 PM

It's not in the earlier versions I have access to but they are not actually dated so if someone has access to the 1784 edition they could perhaps check.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 04:53 PM

218
Again highly suspicious. It is a typical Peter Buchan expansion of the 2 stanzas in Herd, and Christie simply expands on much of Buchan's expansions. Neither are trustworthy as Child proclaimed on numerous occasions. The version in Belden is almost verbatim the Buchan concoction and very likely derives from Child.   (IMO)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 05:01 PM

228
Motherwell refers to stall copies, but I've never come across any, certainly not under the 3 titles quoted in Child. If there are any then they are likely 18th century, but there don't appear to be copies in the National Library of Scotland, or the whole of the ECCO Collection, or the BL.

There is a ballad 'Glasgow Peggy' printed by Sanderson of Edinburgh but the Sanderson's were printing throughout the 19thc and this would more likely be a copy from one of the published versions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 05:17 PM

278
Burns rewrote the song based on 'the old song' so it must be at least 18thc. There are 17th century ballads on the same theme which no doubt inspired the Child Ballad. If pressed I'd say it's a typical stall copy rewrite of one of these, but I haven't seen a stall copy earlier than 1800, Pitts being the earliest I've got, although it was widely printed in the 19thc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 05:32 PM

281
A 17th century ballad 'The Contriving lover, or The Fortunate Mistake' tells exactly the same story so there's the probable inspiration.

The earliest version I have is on a garland with no imprint in the BL but probably Robertson of Glasgow, c1800 titled 'The Blue Curtain'. It has 6 double stanzas.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 28 Mar 12 - 06:59 PM

Steve, I've got a major thunder storm bearing down on me and need to disconnect but I wanted to thank you for all of your notes. I will look at them in detail when I can get back to this. Thanks for all of your help. J.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 29 Mar 12 - 06:39 PM

Well the thunderstorm did not blow me away. In going over the revised survey, I find that out of 108 samples 80 of them have been attributed to one or more "sources" who either sang or recited them for somebody, in the 18th century. I would assume that this is as close as we can actually get to any sense of a living "oral tradition" in the 1700s of England and Scotland.

The remaining 28 ballads on the survey, which are documented by Child's sources as being from the 18th century, and which have been documented by Coffin, et.al. as having been found in the oral tradition in America at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, apparently come from either printed collections, private manuscripts or broadsides. These are not mutually exclusive categories. And this does not mean that they weren't being sung and recited as well. However, at least as far as Child's sources go, apparently nobody documented them from sung/recited sources. However, we know they were being sung, because they were collected as sung ballads in America.

Here are the 28 ballads that are not documented with source singers/reciters:

{18}SIR LIONEL

{45}KING JOHN AND THE BISHOP

{54}THE CHERRY-TREE CAROL

{56}DIVES AND LAZARUS

{105}THE BAILIFF'S DAUGHTER OF ISLINGTON

{118}ROBIN HOOD AND GUY OF GISBORNE

{120}ROBIN HOOD'S DEATH

{122}ROBIN HOOD AND THE BUTCHER

{125}ROBIN HOOD AND LITTLE JOHN

{126}ROBIN HOOD AND THE TANNER

{138}ROBIN HOOD AND ALLEN A DALE

{139}ROBIN HOOD'S PROGRESS TO NOTTINGHAM

{140}ROBIN HOOD RESCUING THREE SQUIRES

{141}ROBIN HOOD RESCUING WILL STUTLY

{162}THE HUNTING OF THE CHEVIOT

{167}SIR ANDREW BARTON

{176}NORTHUMBERLAND BETRAYED BY DOUGLAS

{181}THE BONNY EARL OF MURRAY

{185}DICK O THE COW

{248}THE GREY COCK, OR, SAW YOU MY FATHER?

{267}THE HEIR OF LINNE


{272}THE SUFFOLK MIRACLE

{274}OUR GOODMAN

{275}GET UP AND BAR THE DOOR

{283}THE CRAFTY FARMER

{285}THE GEORGE ALOE AND THE SWEEPSTAKE

{287}CAPTAIN WARD AND THE RAINBOW

{289}THE MERMAID


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 10 Apr 12 - 06:43 PM

I have found a possible 18th century reference for "Barbara Allen" (Child #84). This is from NORTH PENNSYLVANIA MINSTRELSY, AS SUNG IN THE BACKWOOD SETTLEMENTS, HUNTING CABINS AND LUMBER CAMPS IN NORTHERN PENNSYLVANIA, 1840-1910, by Henry W. Shoemaker:

http://books.google.com/books?id=WiAwAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=North+Pennsylvania+Minstrelsy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VbCET4XwDejt0gG

Shoemaker says that this version of "Barbara Allen" was sung by Walter S. Chatham, 1777-1855. This means that it is possible that he learned this as a young man in the 18th century. Here is the link for the song:

http://books.google.com/books?id=WiAwAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA107&dq=Bonny+Barbara+Ellen-+North+Pennsylvania+Minstrelsy&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wK-ET

There are several other "Child Ballads" in this collection, including: "Charlie and Sallie" (a version of "Geordie"), "The Cruise in the Lowlands Low", "Katie Maury" (a version of "The Baffled Knight"), "Wooing and Death of John Randal" (a version of "Lord Randall"), "Lord Lovel", and "Lord Thomas".

The ballad "Charlie and Sallie" was learned by Dan Elliott "from his grandmother", but there are no reference dates given. This is also true for "Lord Thomas". The ballad, "Katie Maury" was sung in 1857. The version of "Lord Randall" was said to be "the version our earliest pioneers sang in Potter County,..."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Apr 12 - 04:18 PM

John,
If you're happy with possibilities and probabilities I go back to my original statement, it is very probable that genuine Child Ballads found in genuine oral tradition in America in the 19th/20th centuries were already in oral tradition there in the 18thc if not earlier in some cases.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 11 Apr 12 - 05:27 PM

Steve, I agree with your assessment of this. However, I am still hoping that along the way we might turn up further documentation for that probability. In the "Barbara Allen" example from Northern Pennsylvania, there is no way to say for sure that it was known there in the 1700s, but we can document the fact that the singer was born in 1777. Thus, there is the possibility that he learned it as a young person growing up. It's also possible that it didn't show up in his life or his region until later on in his life. I was just glad to get a 1700s date associated with one of the ballads over here.

Your example in the second posting in this thread up above about:" 'A Pioneer Songster' edited by Harold W. Thompson.... an anthology of ballads from the Stevens-Douglass Ms of Western New York, 1841-56" is another example of some real possibilities. If those songs were being sung by adults, especially older adults, in 1841, there is a very good possibility that they may go back into the 1700s. I see some parallels between the Western New York collection and this collection from Northern Pennsylvania. They are geographically quite close to each other, which further supports the idea that this was a region in which these songs were and perhaps had been popular for some time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Apr 12 - 05:40 PM

John, for what it's worth, all the research I've seen would suggest older traditional singers not affected by Tin Pan Alley and the folk scene learnt the great majority of their songs in their youth.

Where ballads are not known to have been in print and are significantly different from British versions and fairly well spread this would indicate at least a couple of generations in oral tradition in America. Of course this does not apply so much to pieces like Barbara Allen which have been constantly in print and sheet music since the early 18th century.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 12 Apr 12 - 12:34 PM

Steve, I am glad to know that "older traditional singers not affected by Tin Pan Alley and the folk scene learnt the great majority of their songs in their youth." This would tend to push a bunch of possible references back into an earlier period. I also appreciate your second suggestion.

The Northern Pennsylvania version of "Barbara Allen" above, from the singing of Walter S. Chatham, is very close to Child's B version:

a. Roxburghe Ballads, II, 25; reprint of the Ballad Society, III, 433. b. Roxburghe Ballads, III, 522. c. A broadside formerly belonging to Bishop Percy. d. Percy's Reliques, 1765, III, 125.

It has obviously been somewhat localized but is recognizably the same ballad. So did that "broadside formerly belonging to Bishop Percy" somehow find its way to Northern Pennsylvania, or did Percy's Reliques end up there. Or had this version remained in the oral tradition. All rhetorical questions, but interesting to wonder about.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Apr 12 - 04:04 PM

To be perfectly honest with you, Percy's Reliques is the more likely having been much more accessible since it first appeared in the middle of the 18thc. It has gone through many editions, some very cheap ones like Everyman. And then of course there are all the other publications that dipped into it, including Child himself of course, particularly in E&SB in the 1860s.

Not a Child Ballad as such but may be of interest. The Bramble Briar/Bruton Town/Murdered Servantman Roud 18, Laws M32, only exists in fairly brief versions in British oral tradition, yet on your side of the pond there are 2 early versions from Mss more than twice as long as the longest British version. They both give the merchant as from Bridg(e)water which isn't far from Bruton. I presume these longer versions are pretty close to the original stall copy. At one point I was beginning to think that the ballad may have been American originally as there are many Bridgewaters in the Eastern States. I have since changed my mind having seen a Bristol printed garland ballad with similar wording. I would dearly like to find the orginal ballad.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 12 Apr 12 - 04:26 PM

Have you looked at these? The second needs care, it's not sufficiently critical.

Gower (1976) Hershel Gower "The Scottish element in traditional ballads collected in America" pp117-151 and 208-211 of Emily Lyle (ed) Ballad Studies (Cambridge)
Tallmadge (1968) William H Tallmadge "The Scotch-Irish and the British Traditional Ballad in America" New York Folklore Quarterly vol XXIV no 1 (New York Folklore Society, New York, December 1968) pages 261 - 274


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Apr 12 - 05:19 PM

Just a note...

Mudcat still hosts the website of William Bruce Olson, who died a few years ago. He researched old songs & tunes from many angles, and though much information relates to UK sources, this page makes reference to American sources. Perhaps it will add a bit to searches.

(Bruce and Malcolm Douglas carried on a regular discussion of various issues)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: peregrina
Date: 12 Apr 12 - 06:45 PM

This is an amazing thread.
Here's another route for establishing the age, longevity and continuity of child (and other) ballads in America. It seems that 28 of the 39 singers whom Cecil Sharpe collected from in Madison County NC traced their descent
from the same man, one Roderick Shelton, first settler in Shelton Laurel. By the time Sharp was collecting, the singers had their own variants (and subsets) of what seems to have been one ancestor's repertoire. (this comes from the article 'a nest of singing birds' by mike Yates and kriss sands at the MT website and they cite Betty smith's use of research by Frances Dunham in the Jane hicks Gentry biography.) ... Perhaps someone even has a way to calculate time from the divergences, as in evolutionary biology. Though that isn't really necessary, because some singers today can say that they are eighth-generation ballad singers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 12 Apr 12 - 08:18 PM

The idea that folksongs move through families horizontally as well as vertically seems very significant.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Apr 12 - 11:06 AM

Mary, Jonathan,
Yes, it's a while since I read it but a lasting impression from the Jane Hicks Gentry biog and indeed Kytrad's 'Singing Family of the Cumberlands' is the inter-relatedness of many of the ballad singing families, the Harmons, the Hicks etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Richie
Date: 13 Apr 12 - 03:18 PM

Cox's version F of 73. Lord Thomas and Fair Annet
is dated 1716 by tracing it back through the family in 1916.

It begins:


Lord Thomas- Miller (WV) 1916 Cox F

O mother, O mother come tell unto me,
And tell the story true,
Whether I shall bring fair Ellen dear home,
Or bring the brown girl home, home, home,
Or bring the brown girl home?

A broadside of the earlier English broadside from the 1700s was printed in the US circa 1840s.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 14 Apr 12 - 10:11 AM

Richie, thanks for the reference on the Cox version of "Lord Thomas" from WVA. It reminded me that I need to look at all of those ballads in that book. I suspect that this kind of mention, that "Mr. Miller thinks the ballad has been known in his family for about two hundred years" is as close as we are going to get on much documentation for these ballads in the 18th century. Thanks for catching this and doing the math. Here is the link for everyone else:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/56/mode/2up

I agree with Steve and "Peregrina" that the Gentry biography is important and fascinating. When I was working on Child Ballad #18 - "Sir Lionel", on the "Wild Boar" thread, I was able to explore some of the family relationships between the Beech Mountain Hicks and Jane Gentry down in Hot Springs, and Sam Harmon over in Cades Cove, Tennessee. Sam had a very interesting version of this ballad and it was quite close to one still sung back up on Beech Mountain, NC, which had been his home before he went to Tennessee, in the 1800s. I am looking forward to taking another look at the material from Mike Yates.

And speaking of the Ritchie Family in Kentucky, I have often wondered about the impact of the "settlement schools" like the one in Hindman, KY, on the spread of this music. I know there were several down in North Carolina as well. I seem to recall that one of the older Ritchie sisters attended one down in NC and brought back that gem "Black is the Color" to Kentucky.

There certainly is a worthy project for somebody to try to document and untangle that "nest" of ballad singers in Madison County, North Carolina. I hope to live long enough to read that book someday!

Bill D. thanks for the reminder about Bruce Olsen's website on Broadside collections. I think it will add more than "a bit" to all of this. Has anybody already gone through this material and rounded up the references to the Child Ballads? Please say "yes"!

And John Moulden, thanks for the two additional references. It's about time for another trip to the UVA library.

And Steve, thanks for the suggestion about the Pennsylvania version of "Barbara Allen" and Percy's Reliques. Do we have any information from the 18th century that people were using Percy as an actual songbook? I keep thinking that we are missing a lot of links in here somewhere. How do we actually get from Percy to Northern Pennsylvania with so little alteration in the text? It certainly does suggest the involvement of a written source, but the PA text also shows evidence of local adaptation.   

Richie's final comment with regard to the "Lord Thomas" version from WVA that a "broadside of the earlier English broadside from the 1700s was printed in the US circa 1840s" makes me wonder if there were not a bunch of broadsides being printed in the US circa the 1840's and that Jonathan's comment back a ways "that most of the American popularity of Child ballads came from some sort of latterly unnoticed "broadside/songster revival" from around 1830?" Would this information be on Bruce Olsen's website?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Apr 12 - 02:32 PM

John
As I said, the link doesn't have to be direct from the Reliques. The material was copied into many other books and possibly was a source for some broadsides.

From the surviving evidence I'd say the songsters like The American Songster/Forget-me-not, and Western Songsters were more of an influence c1830-40 than the broadsides. Apart from printers like Coverley and Deeming I haven't seen a lot of evidence of American single sheets or garlands from this period.

From what I remember Bruce's site was more to do with the early history of traditional stuff on broadsides, 16th 17th centuries, but as that's what I'm interested in I might just have been looking at the wrong bits. I think there is a list of Child ballad references on the site, but it takes a bit of navigating.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 14 Apr 12 - 04:09 PM

My impression (and that's all it is)generally and from the Library of Congress's site squares with Steve's: not a great deal of single-sheet publication in America before the 1860s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 10:26 AM

Steve & Jonathan, I appreciate the suggestion about the "songsters". I spent some time last evening looking at a couple of them:

http://books.google.com/books?id=VWQLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA17&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=SS0_AAAAYAAJ&pg=PP7&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

I did not turn up any trace of these ballads in either of these songsters, although I confess that I was getting cross-eyed again and fairly mushed out before I finished. It was interesting to me to see so many Scottish songs, but none of the Scottish ballads.

This morning I did a quick Google Book search for "The Brown Girl" and for "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender" just to see if it turned up any references to a songster. No luck there. I did turn up some other kinds of interesting references. One that caught my eye was this "songster"(?) from the previous century (1723):

http://books.google.com/books?id=hlEJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA249&dq=%22The+Brown+Girl%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=e8GKT56wGKbW0QGipa22CQ&ved=0CEcQ6AE

Here is an 1839 reference to this version:

http://books.google.com/books?id=eCfZAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA394&dq=%22The+Brown+Girl%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XL-KT6GtBoPg0QGxh533CQ&ved=0CE0Q6AE

I'm wondering if this kind of book from the 18th century was circulating in America at all. It is pretty interesting to compare the collections of songs contained in the 1723 book and those in the later songsters! And here is something from in between from Ritson (1829):

http://books.google.com/books?id=5DgJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA89&dq=%22The+Brown+Girl%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UcOKT--vM6qw0AHJ25SDCg&ved=0CFcQ6AEw

This looks closer to the earlier material rather than the later stuff.

Does anyone have a specific reference to a Child Ballad in one or more of the American "songsters", or a specific place to look for this? Jonathan could you post the LOC site?

I've been spending most of my time the last day or so on Cox's West Virginia material and I'm beginning to get a strong impression of "class difference" running through all of this. And here I am talking about the American side of things. The people who generally sang these ballads, at least in West Virginia at the time when Cox was collecting, which was about the same time that Sharp was collecting in other areas of the Southern Appalachians, and Alphonso Smith was collecting in Virginia, circa 1915, were not of the same "class" as those doing the "collecting". And in reading the West Virginia accounts of the origins of those ballads, they were not from printed sources or books but what we might call "family and friends oral tradition". I don't see any mention of "songsters" or of "broadsides", which may suggest a class difference between those who were singing ballads and those who were reading books. I'm not wanting to head off into socio-economic discussions here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 10:48 AM

Many British songsters (and perhaps even broadsides) must have been imported to America in Colonial and post-Colonial times. That would mean that a British place of publication wouldn't mean the the item was restricted to British circulation.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 03:04 PM

You beat me to it, Jonathan.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 03:05 PM

I'll have a look at my American songsters after my bath!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 05:00 PM

Okay had a look at my 5 American songsters and not much in the way of Child Ballads pops up. My undated 'Forget-me-not Songster' seems quite seminal, and Jonathan might be able to date it.
It has
Captain Ward
Captain Glen
The Mermaid
Barbara Allen 'It fell about the Martinmas Day'
Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor 21v (of interest to Richie)

The 1839 N C Nafis, NY 'The American Songster' has
Barbara Allen 'In Scarlet Town where I was born
and the same songster printed in 1851 by Cornish and Lamport NY has the same version.

I have another similar songster without title page that has another copy of the Mermaid which can be dated to 1846.

Steve Roud has more of these than I do and I suspect some of the collectors on Ballad List will have many more.

I've just pulled an interesting volume off the shelves which I'd forgotten about. American Song Sheets 1850-1870 by Edwin Wolf 2nd. It seems to be mainly sheets by De Marsan and is only a catalogue, but I haven't yet included it in my own indexes so it will be worth looking through for interesting ballads, though I think I've got copies of most of De Marsan's output.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 07:35 PM

Steve, Norm Cohen's 2005 article, "The Forget-Me-Not Songsters and their Role in the American Folksong Tradition" (American Music, XXII, 137-219) attempts to disentangle and date the various booklets carrying that title. Their contents differ considerably.

Cohen believes the earliest edition was published by Robert H. Elton in New York in 1840-41. Earlier dates, which are occasionally proffered, seem to be based on wishful thinking only.

If you can't access the article through JSTOR, email me and I'll see if I can find a way to get it to you.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 02:12 PM

Hi Jonathan,
I thought I remembered Norm doing this but I wasn't certain so I didn't post it. I've a vague notion he sent me a copy so I'll have to look it up and check. I can remember looking at all those pictues of Kelly the Pirate and the different versions of it.

I'm about halfway through the Wolf catalogue and there are some interesting titles in there which warrant following up. Amazing the number of songs set to the 'Bow wow wow' tune which started in the middle of the 18th century and still v popular more than a century later. Lots of things set to Villikins as well.

1840s would have been my guess for my copy of FMNS. Apart from the obvious native American ballads there's a lot in there from British broadsides of about 1800-1830.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 03:15 PM

Steve & Jonathan, thanks for the discussion on these "songsters". Here are links to two of the "Forget-me-not" songsters. The first one does contain some of these ballads. I could not find dates for either one of them:

http://books.google.com/books?id=oEYZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA63&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false

This one was published in Boston, and contains:
"Barbara Allan", "Captain Ward" (?), "Lord Bakeman", "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor", "Mermaid" (p. 79), "The Turkish Lady". The "Barbara Allan" is a strange version to me. The following Songster does not seem to contain any of the ballads. There is a song in it entitled "The Fashions of 1847" which might be a clue to dating it.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Zq9DAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 03:36 PM

I want to highly commend the discussion about the reliability of historical information on song origins from the source singers themselves that has been taking place over on Richie's Ballad thread with Jonathan Lighter, Steve Gardham, Brian Peters, and Jim Carroll. It begins here with a suggestion by Jonathan:

thread.cfm?threadid=143708&messages=50#3337887

It is in the light of this discussion, which is ongoing, that I want to present some information from John Harrington Cox's collection of West Virginia folk songs, including a number of the "Child Ballads". I want to again thank Richie for calling my attention to this collection. This is a good source for demonstrating how source singers "remember" the origins of their songs. Here is a link to Cox's book, published in 1925, although most of the ballads seem to come from a decade or so earlier:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/n7/mode/2up

Here is an example of a biographical sketch of one of the ballad singers represented in Cox, named George W. Cunningham of Elkins, West Virginia.

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/n23/mode/2up

Cox had four ballads from him. Mr. Cunningham's memory sources don't go back as far as some of the others. For instance, he says he learned his version of Child Ballad #4, "Six Kings' Daughters", "shortly after the Civil War from Laban White, Dry Fork." Here is the link for that:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/6/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 04:18 PM

Here we have one contributor who learnt his ballads whilst very young and was recorded late in life. He was obviously a gifted person with a very good memory and in this case a very reliable source, but not all contributors of songs and ballads fall into that category.

Then of course there are those collectors who deliberately distort the information given, but that's another issue entirely.

Yes 'Lord Bakeman' is in my FMNS but I skipped it because it's a burlesque, not a serious version.

Both these versions of Barbara Allen are in Child, the 'strange' one being the Scottish version. My own theory here is this is the ballad referred to by Pepys as 'the little Scotch ballad' he heard at the theatre and the 'Reading/Scarlet' version I think could have been a burlesque of this.

Jonathan, I do have Norm's article, thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 06:09 PM

Steve, thanks for the information on "Barbara Allen".

One of the source singers in Cox's collection is Mrs. Rachel Fogg, who was originally from Doddridge County, WVA. There were four Child Ballads obtained from her by Mrs. Hilary G. Richardson, in Clarksburgy, Harrison County, WVA, in March of 1916. They were: "Down by the Greenwood Side", "Little Johnnie Green" (Barbara Allen), "Young Collins"/"Johnny Collins", and "The House Carpenter".

In each case, Mrs. Fogg said that she had learned the ballad from her mother, and she from her mother. In one instance, she added "on back into the old country across the sea", and in another instance, she added "...on back into the old country across the sea in Scotch, Dutch, or Jerusalem, she forgets which but in this country they call'em Hebrews."

Here are the links:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/28/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/108/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/110/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/146/mode/2up

Here is an account of Cox's visit with Mrs. Fogg:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/n27/mode/2up

And here is a picture of Mrs. Fogg:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/112/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 06:31 PM

Thanks, John. I have Cox.

Norm just sent me another pdf of his excellent article on FMNSs. Would you like me to ask him if I can forward this to you? It has good background info on the history of the ballads in America.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 16 Apr 12 - 09:21 PM

Steve, I would appreciate seeing that article. I will pm you my email address.

I'm going to go ahead and compile some of this information from Cox and put it up here. I think there are a few of these personal histories/memories that would qualify as maybe reaching back into the 1700s. I am interested in rounding up as much information as possible and making it available. I also very much appreciate the critical analysis. Each of the perspectives that we've considered adds another kind of feeling to this history. I think that the 1700s are really the launching point for the ballad history in America. And I would guess that it "lived" for about 200 years, from around 1750 to about 1950 or so. Maybe a little later on both ends. These folks from the early part of the 20th century may well be the highpoint of the history here. Or they may be the end point.

Thanks for your continuing insights and interest.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 08:51 AM

> I think that the 1700s are really the launching point for the ballad history in America.

I'm inclined to agree, and later in the century rather than earlier.

That's not to deny that ballads were presumably sung earlier. But recall that the U.S. population in 1790, from Georgia to Maine, was under 4 million (compared with 92 million in 1910, the census prior to Sharp's visit). The entire Anglo-Celtic population, the group likely to be singing Child ballads, was probably no more than 3 million. (There were 700,000 Negro slaves in 1790.)

Southern Appalachian state populations in 1790:

Virginia: 748,000
Kentucky: 74,000
N. Carolina: 374,000
S. Carolina: 250,000
Georgia: 83,000

Roughly half a million of those counted were slaves (who may have been unlikely to sing Child ballads). There were not a whole lot more people living in all of the Southern Appalachian states in 1790 than are living in Phoenix today.

I haven't checked on the Appalachian numbers for 1910.

It may well be that many more people in 1790 knew many more ballads than in 1910, but for all we know the opposite may have been the case. There's no way to correlate the small population and the greater difficulty of travel in the 18th C. with ballad singing, but it seems at least possible that fewer people, greater distances, greater isolation from printed sources, and fewer social networks made for fewer ballads and ballad performances.

Only a suggestion.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 10:45 AM

Jonathan, thanks for the information of population sizes. These kinds of things really help put all of this in a more realistic perspective. I assume that the "Virginia" statistics would include what we are now calling "West Virginia". I wonder what the population looked like west of the Alleghenies in 1790.

Speaking of which, here is some more information from J.H. Cox's collection. He has four ballads from Mrs. Elizabeth Tapp Beck, of Morgantown in Monongalia County, which were collected in March of 1916. There is "Lord Thomas and Fair Eleanor," "The House Carpenter," "Home Came The Old Man (#274)," and "The Golden Willow Tree." Cox says that she said that she learned these songs from her mother, Mrs. Thomas H. Tapp, who learned it from her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Wade Mack, who lived "near Bethel Church" near Easton. Here are the links:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/64/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/148/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/154/mode/2up

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/170/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 11:09 AM

Continuing with some more information from John Harrington Cox's West Virginia collection in "Folk Songs of the South", here are several sources which seem to go back a ways.

Cox has "The King's Daughter" or "The False Lover" from Miss Mildred Joy Barker, of Morgantown in Monongalia County, WVA, on October 2, 1916, which was "obtained from her mother, whose family came to Monongalia County before the Revolution. Its members have known the ballad for years."    Here is the link:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/12/mode/2up

Cox has another version of this ballad (#4) called "Pretty Polly" sent to him by Mrs. Anna Copley, of Shoals in Wayne County, WVA, on December 19, 1915, "dictated by her cousin Mr. Burwell Luther, who learned it from his mother about fifty years ago. Mrs. Luther's name was Julia Stephenson. She learned it from her mother, whose maiden name was Peyton. The Peytons were English and the Stephensons were Highland Scotch. The Luthers and Stephensons have lived in Wayne County for over a century, the latter having come from Georgia." Here is the link:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/8/mode/2up

Then there is a version of "Lord Randall" called "Johnny Randolph," which was "Communicated by Miss Lily Hagans, Morgantown, Monongalia County, January 20, 1916; obtained from Mrs. Beulah Ray Richey, who learned it from her mother, a member of the Caldwell family of Wheeling, a family of Irish [Scots-Irish?] descent who came to Wheeling before the Revolution." Here is the link:

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/26/mode/2up

Here are two versions of "Lord Lovel", one from a lady of English descent and one from a lady of Welsh descent. The first one, "Lord Lovel," was "Contributed by Miss Blanche Satterfield, Fairmont, Marion County, 1915; learned from her mother, who learned it from her mother, a lady of English descent, who came from Washington County, Pennsylvania."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/78/mode/2up

The second version of "Lord Lovel" was "Communicated by Miss Lucille V. Hays, Glenville, Gilmer County, November 22, 1916; obtained from her mother, who learned it from her mother, and she from her mother, Mrs. Zackwell Morgan, a lady of Welsh descent."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/82/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 02:48 PM

I'm having problems posting again


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 02:51 PM

For the second night I've written a post, submitted the message, the page has gone to the home page but my post won't come up even if I go back several times and try to submit message again. Most frustrating!

Any ideas, Joe?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 02:55 PM

I'll try again.

Whist I know nothing of American migrations, Sharp felt that some of the ballads he was collecting in the remoter corners of the Appalachians had been hiding there for several centuries.

Might I suggest looking for scarcer ballads that have material that has died out in Britain, that is possibly closer to the earliest versions from the 17th century.

I'm sure I've seen examples of this and of course my study of 'Bramble Briar' shows this did happen though of course it's not a Child Ballad. Mind you it has better credentials than some of Child's higher numbered ballads.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 02:56 PM

YES!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 03:39 PM

A 1790-91 map:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/United_States_1790-05-1791-03.png

Kentucky is still part of Virginia, and most of Alabama and Mississippi are part of Georgia.

The population of the Southwest Territory (modern Tennessee) may have been about 35,000:

No census of the Northwest Territory (Ohio through part of Minnesota) seems to have been taken, but I'd be surprised if it numbered more than 20,000-30,000 English speakers.

(Links to the above information seem to be keeping this message from posting. I've tried a dozen times over two or three hours.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 17 Apr 12 - 03:40 PM

That was me.

I had no problem posting a test to the "C-U-B-A" thread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 12:46 PM

Continuing with some more material from John Harrington Cox, here are three ballads collected from Mr. J. Harrison Miller, of Wardensville in Hardy County, WVA, in January and june of 1916. First there is "The Seven Sleepers" (#7), which Mr. Harrison "obtained from his mother, who learned it when a girl from Scotch Roach."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/18/mode/2up

Then there is "Johnny Randolph" (#12), which was "obtained from his mother; learned from Susan Stewart; she, from her stepfather, John Jennings, who came from England."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/24/mode/2up

And then there is the version of "Lord Thomas", which Richie called our attention to above. This ballad was "obtained from his mother, who learned it from her mother, Mrs. Lucinda Ellis, who learned it from her grandmother, Mrs. Strawnsnider. Mr. Miller thinks the ballad has been known in the family for about two hundred years."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: John Minear
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 01:01 PM

Opps! I hit the wrong key. Here is the link, again, for Mr. Miller's "Lord Thomas":

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/56/mode/2up

Here are two ballads from Mrs. J.J. Haines of Parkersburg in Wood County, WVA, collected in January of 1916. There is a version of "Fair Annie and Gregory" (#76). Mrs. Haines said, "I have heard these old ballads sung form my earliest recollection by my grandparents and others. Grandfather's name was Benjamin Franklin Roberts; grandmother's name was Mary Leatherman Roberts. Grandfather's mother was a descendant of the Franklins, but I do not know whether of Benjamin Franklin's father's family, or a brother. My ancesters on both sides came to America in the time of the colonization."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/82/mode/2up

And from the same sources, Mrs. Haines had a version of "The House Carpenter" :

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/148/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 03:10 PM

I know it's a long and laborious process but the best way to establish any tentative conclusions about any version is by comparative study of as many versions as possible, including any available in print. Exceptions will be the rare cases where early versions are available, such as in the case of Bramble Briar I mentioned earlier. I know it's not a Child Ballad but it ticks most of the boxes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 03:48 PM

Steve, I appreciate your suggestion about looking for the scarcer ballads that have survived here and had died out in Britain, and then doing some comparative studies. That makes sense to me. I wonder if anyone has tried this. To begin with, surely someone has made a list of those ballads which survived in America but not in Great Britain. That would be a helpful starting point.

In the meantime, I will put up the rest of these WVA, references from Cox. Here are five versions of "The Wife of Usher's Well" that have some interesting "remembered" lineages. The first one is called "A Moravian Song", and illustrates something of the history of the relationships between the Scots-Irish and the German immigrants in WVa. It was contributed by Miss Bettie R. Loy, of Glebe, in Hampshire County, WVA, in February of 1916. Miss Loy writes: "I am sending you a song that my mother learned of her mother, who was of Dutch descent, but either she or her parents learned it of a Moravian preacher and she called it a Moravian song."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/88/mode/2up

The second version was called "Lady Gay", and was contributed by John B. Adkins of Branchland, in Lincoln County, WVA, in February, 1916. He learned it "when a child from an aunt, who learned it from her mother."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/90/mode/2up

The third example of this ballad was communicated by Mr. Decker Toney, of Queen's Ridge, in Wayne Count, WVA, in January of 1916. It was "learned from his mother, who learned it from her mother, Hannah Moore, and she, from her mother, Hannah Ross, who was born in Virginia." Back when Hannah Ross was born, West Virginia was still a part of Virginia, so it is not clear what this reference might mean. But it seems to imply what was once known as "East Virginia" or the eastern part of Virginia. See the previous link for this version which is "D".

The fourth and fifth versions were collected by the same person. They were communicated by Miss Mary M. Atkeson, of Morgantown in Monongalia county, WVA, in December of 1915. The first one ("E") was "obtained from Mr. Joseph H. Spicer, Spring Gap, in Hampshire County, WVA; learned from his mother, who learned it from her grandmother, who came from Ireland."

The last version ("G") was "obtained from Mr. A.G. Springer, Farmington, Marion County; dictated by his mother, who learned it from her mother, a lady of Welsh and English ancestry, who came from Pennsylvania."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/92/mode/2up


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Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 03:58 PM

In 1916, Cox had two ballads collected by Miss Lalah Lovett, of Bulltown in Braxton County, WVA. The first one was a version of "Barbara Ellen", "obtained from Mrs. Cora Starkey, Harrison County, who learned it when a child from her parents; they learned it in Virginia from their parents, who were of English descent."

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/100/mode/2up

The second ballad collected by Miss Lovett, was a version ("J") of "The House Carpenter", which was also obtained from Mrs. Cora Starkey.

http://archive.org/stream/folksongsofsouth00coxj#page/148/mode/2up


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