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Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show

17 Dec 17 - 05:22 AM (#3894289)
Subject: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,CJB

Boston University professor claims Jingle Bells is RACIST because it was 'first performed in blackface and made fun of African-Americans'

*    Boston University theater professor Kyna Hamill made startling claim in paper
*    World-famous Christmas carol was composed in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont
*    Hamill asserts first performance of Jingle Bells was done in blackface
*    Urges reflection on song's 'problematic role in the construction of blackness'

By Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com

===

Kyna Hamill, a BU theater historian, says Jingle Bells has racist roots

A professor has claimed that Jingle Bells has racist roots because it was first performed in blackface.

'The legacy of 'Jingle Bells' is one where its blackface and racist origins have been subtly and systematically removed from its history,' wrote Kyna Hamill, a Boston University theater historian, in a research paper that is making waves.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5186289/Jingle-Bells-RACIST-claims-Boston-University-professor.html

===

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2017/12/bu_prof_s_find_of_racist_origins_in_jingle_bells_hits_sour_note

===


17 Dec 17 - 05:26 AM (#3894291)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Will Fly

Who cares - it's a crap song anyway. The "author" should have been frozen in permafrost before putting pen to paper.


17 Dec 17 - 06:32 AM (#3894307)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Ernest

Will: apparently that was what happened before.... ;0)

With the author - and the professor.


17 Dec 17 - 06:55 AM (#3894308)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Raggytash

So what you are saying is the way in which was originally performed was racist. That does not mean the song itself is racist which is what the titled of the thread would have one believe.


17 Dec 17 - 07:02 AM (#3894311)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,Senoufou

How very strange! This is all news to me. I've always imagined (erroneously) that the song depicted a Scandinavian scene of some sort.
I can't find anything in the words that could be construed as racist, and the fact it was originally sung in 'Blackface' says more about the singers than the song itself.
My pupils used to adore this Christmas song, with the addition of hand-bells to shake vigorously. I always played the piano for them with tremendous gusto, thumping away until we were all grinning and happy.
Such a shame if the Politically Correct Brigade were to ban it.


17 Dec 17 - 07:02 AM (#3894312)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Big Al Whittle

Reminds me a bit of the Christopher Isherwood bon mot - EVENTUALLY WE'RE AL QUEER.

EVENTUALLY WE'RE ALL RACIST.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Is there anyone in the Western world who has never sung this 'racist' song?


17 Dec 17 - 07:18 AM (#3894315)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Will Fly

Only under extreme pressure, such as for money...


17 Dec 17 - 07:28 AM (#3894317)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Senoufou

My black husband has often sung it, although he hasn't yet mastered the words apart from the chorus. It sounds more like "Jeengle belle jeengle belle, jeengle aul zee way..." then he has to resort to "da-da-da, dee da-da-da". But he likes the tune. He'll be astonished no doubt when I tell him it's potentially racist (and probably laugh his socks off!).


17 Dec 17 - 07:34 AM (#3894318)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Senoufou

I wonder if Bobtail should be a transgender horse?

I've just done some Googling, and it appears in the original version there was a 'Miss Fanny Bright' seated in the sleigh. Words fail me...


17 Dec 17 - 07:40 AM (#3894319)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Banjo-Flower

Did she live in Fanny Crackle Lane in Ludford Lincolnshire UK

If you don't believe me look on google maps

Gerry


17 Dec 17 - 07:44 AM (#3894320)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Banjo-Flower

And fanny has a different meaning in the UK for the benefit of our US members

Gerry


17 Dec 17 - 07:47 AM (#3894322)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Raggytash

Ahem! My Grandmother name was Fanny.


17 Dec 17 - 08:03 AM (#3894323)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Senoufou

Hahahaha! Fanny Crackle Lane! I'd love to live there.

My Granny was called Frances, and Fanny used to be a nickname for that (eg Fanny Price in Jane Austen's 'Mansfield Park'), but no-one in our family ever called her 'Fanny'. (Granny Fanny sounds a bit...er...)


17 Dec 17 - 08:26 AM (#3894326)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Nick

Let's play "spot the troll"


17 Dec 17 - 08:33 AM (#3894327)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Senoufou

Well, GUEST, my Muslim husband loves Christmas in our village, and adores the Carol Service in our ancient church. He'd be furious if it was cancelled on his behalf!!

And who are 'The Muslims' in London? Bit of a generalisation eh?


17 Dec 17 - 09:14 AM (#3894329)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Stu

The minions version is far superior to any other.


17 Dec 17 - 09:38 AM (#3894332)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Mark Ross

Learned this from Haywire Brack, my brother of the Rose Tattoo;

Dashing down the aisle
With an empty pocketbook,
I can't afford to buy,
So I'll just have to look,
Bells on registers ring
Making me uptight,
I guess I'll have to go and rob
A liquor store tonight!

Stick em' up, stick 'em up,
Give me all the loot,
Give all the cash and checks,
And the credit cards to boot,
Stick 'em up, stick 'em up,
Christmas should be free,
I can't beat inflation,
But inflation won't beat me!

To the tune of JINGLE BELLS of course.


17 Dec 17 - 09:50 AM (#3894337)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,Senoufou

Just found an old post of mine on the Christmas songs parodies thread:

Jingle bells
Rudolf smells
All the elves are gay.
Santa Claus
Ripped his drawers
Then he ran away.   

(My Glasgow pupils taught me this. It should be sung in a very strong Glasgow accent, and apologies for the homophobia)


17 Dec 17 - 09:51 AM (#3894338)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Steve Gardham

The vast majority of Christmas carols are anti-realist. As a realist does that mean I can't sing them? It's enough to make one want to change one's ism.

Adolf Hitler once sang 'Stille nacht'. Well that's out the window then.


17 Dec 17 - 10:27 AM (#3894345)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Tattie Bogle

And Santa Claus is fat-ist, and we shouldn't have pantomime dames or horses...................
Jingle Bells was the single most popular song at a Christmas tearoom event for kids, which we played for last weekend. As it was a moving population of people coming and going, it must have been done at least 6 times - twice through each time - in the course of 3 hours. The kids played along with my set if bells and other percussion we'd brought. Payment was a cup of tea, a glass of non-alcoholic mulled wine, and a hot mince pie.


17 Dec 17 - 11:01 AM (#3894348)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: meself

Political correctness gone mad! Censorship! Book-burning! Not allowed to say Merry Christmas! ... (did I miss anything?).


17 Dec 17 - 11:07 AM (#3894349)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Steve Gardham

"Who cares - it's a crap song anyway." You might like to add (IMO) on the end, Will. The song has certainly been extremely popular for over a century. Its tune was utilised for a well-known folksong written at about the same time. Wonder if you know which one.


17 Dec 17 - 11:15 AM (#3894350)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,Senoufou

I hope no-one is going to mention Zwarte Piet...


17 Dec 17 - 11:27 AM (#3894351)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST

David Kritchevsky wrote a funny little scientific ditty to the tune of Jingle Bells, about how cholesterol is formed - 'The Cholesterol Biosynthesis Song'.


17 Dec 17 - 11:28 AM (#3894352)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,Senoufou

Gaaah! That was me. Forgot to fill in the 'from' box.


17 Dec 17 - 12:41 PM (#3894358)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Bonzo3legs

This Boston University professor is both stark raving bonkers and clearly a pain in the neck!!!


17 Dec 17 - 01:13 PM (#3894364)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: RTim

It was also originally written for Thanksgiving - NOT Christmas!

Tim Radford


17 Dec 17 - 01:47 PM (#3894373)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Will Fly

Very popular indeed, Steve - but I still can't stand it! Just personal choice...


17 Dec 17 - 01:54 PM (#3894374)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Senoufou

I can't abide 'Once In Royal David's City'; it's tedious and shrieky IMO.
But it's very popular, and most Carol Services on Christmas Eve start with it.


17 Dec 17 - 02:22 PM (#3894383)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Jackaroodave

First, I'd suggest reading the Herald American article linked in the OP. Hamill emphatically does not call "Jingle Bells" a racist song or ask that it not be sung. She does trace the history of its blackface performance from the antebellum south through the 1930s. It turns out the stink is not being made by Hamill, but by Breitbart, the Daily Mail, and the like.

Second, I'd like to ask you to put yourself in the place of an African American who is curious about the origins of a beloved holiday song, and in her research discovers that it was originally and then persistently performed in blackface--a form of performance designed to ridicule her race, appearing when Africans were thought subhuman, and used to perpetuate this belief long after slavery. Kind of spoils the fun, doesn't it?

I don't know how Hamill reacted, but if I were her, I'd think, "Oh, crap, they did it again. Is there no place free from this shit?"

As a white American, I think such reminders of the pervasiveness of racism in our cultural history are salutory and always timely.


17 Dec 17 - 02:38 PM (#3894389)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Senoufou

I'm interested to know why Blackface performers chose this particular song with which to 'ridicule' African Americans, because the words seem to have no relevance to any race or colour, unlike the Dixie/minstrel type of songs about 'pickin'cotton' etc sung in accents from the Southern States and depicting black people in a demeaning way. I just can't picture African Americans in the mid 1880's having much to do with a sleigh ride through the snow.

If as someone suggested, it was written to celebrate Thanksgiving, doesn't that take place in November, and is there always snow in Boston at that time? I've looked up weather conditions there, and it seems there can be an inch or two, but not very often.


17 Dec 17 - 02:48 PM (#3894392)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: RTim

Please read the link below for the History and Origins of the song!

One Horse Open Sleigh


Tim Radford


17 Dec 17 - 03:10 PM (#3894396)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Sandra in Sydney

thanks for the link, Tim


17 Dec 17 - 03:37 PM (#3894400)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,guest akenaton

Well pardon my stupidity, but having studied the link, I can find nothing at all racist in the song.
Does the fact that the song was once sung in "minstrel shows" make the song itself racist...surely not?

I remember the "Black and White Minstrel Show" on BBC TV and they performed all kinds of songs usually very well indeed. It was one of the most popular entertainments shows on TV.
So any thing which has been sung by "Minstrels" is inherently racist?
Madness.


17 Dec 17 - 04:00 PM (#3894402)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Thompson

Senofou, there is no such brigade.


17 Dec 17 - 04:07 PM (#3894404)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,akenaton.

Oh! Yes there is!!


17 Dec 17 - 04:09 PM (#3894405)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,akenaton

and many of them dwelleth herein.


17 Dec 17 - 04:10 PM (#3894406)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Steve Gardham

After the initial mad burst of popularity from about 1840 to 1850 which included many African American caricature songs in the Minstrel repertoire, the repertoire of the vastly expanded number of troupes became much more general and included a great number of comic and sentimental songs with no African American content whatsoever. These troupes were also very popular in Britain and some of them were even all British performers. However they did still black up. Their popularity in Britain continued at a pace until about 1910 and then other forms put them in decline until after WWII when they had a brief revival on TV. The B&WMS did include a lot of the songs from the shows but some of them were still the old type of caricature songs. The fact that Pierpoint's song was appropriated by the Minstrel troupes shouldn't detract from its usage in modern day. The Minstrel Troupes at some point sang just about everything available. Do we chuck out the whole lot?


17 Dec 17 - 04:11 PM (#3894407)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,Joe G

Anonymous Guest above who made the stupid racist comment. Go away you are not welcome here


17 Dec 17 - 04:25 PM (#3894410)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Jackaroodave

Just to repeat, Hamill NEVER said the song "Jingle Bells" was racist. NO ONE has suggested it not be sung. What is the point in heroically defending something that is not under attack?


17 Dec 17 - 04:38 PM (#3894411)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST

"The Professor Urges reflection on song's 'problematic role in the construction of blackness'"


Weasel words for a box of weasels.


17 Dec 17 - 04:40 PM (#3894412)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,akenaton

Sorry .....bloody handle.


17 Dec 17 - 04:43 PM (#3894414)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Steve Gardham

Okay JD
We Brits should have spotted the Daily Mail source right away. This is absolutely typical of the DM's racist stirring fake news.


17 Dec 17 - 04:50 PM (#3894418)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Bee-dubya-ell

If any Christmas song is racist, it surely must be "White Christmas"!


17 Dec 17 - 04:55 PM (#3894421)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,Joe G

Steve - I spotted that. A newspaper that will only be happy when we are a fascist dictatorship


17 Dec 17 - 05:00 PM (#3894422)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Jackaroodave

Steve, the thread title and the OP certainly skews the story, but I'm thankful the Herald American link was included.

" Weasel words for a box of weasels."

Akeneton, you've shifted your ground and your targets in your second post, haven't you? You quote Hamill partially and out of context as well. Painful as it is for me to think so, I must doubt that you're posting wholly in the interest of fairness and accuracy.


17 Dec 17 - 05:03 PM (#3894423)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Jeri

Senoufou, there may be snow in November, although there may not be. Two of the last maybe? 6 years, there have been major storms around Halloween, Oct 31st.

This thread is proof that some people can get riled up over just about anything. Have fun!


17 Dec 17 - 05:21 PM (#3894424)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Bonzo3legs

It's as bonkers as gender neutral and transgender nonsense.


17 Dec 17 - 05:26 PM (#3894425)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: GUEST,Joe G

What do you mean 'nonsense'. They are real issues for real people


17 Dec 17 - 05:33 PM (#3894426)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Jackaroodave

"It's as bonkers as gender neutral and transgender nonsense."

I sense some thread drift here.

Bonzo, have you read what Hamill actually said? If so, do you have anything to say about the discrepancy between her words and the way they have been misrepresented by the media and some posters here?


17 Dec 17 - 06:49 PM (#3894433)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Jeri

What Jackaroodave said. Nobody claimed the song was racist, so the opening post contains lies...or mistakes. Or it may be just an attempt to get a BS/political fight started above the line.

And just because it began as a minstrel song, doesn't mean anything. If things are labeled "racist" because their origins came from a racist time, everything that was created in countries where and when human trafficking was legal, is racist.


17 Dec 17 - 06:56 PM (#3894434)
Subject: RE: Jinge Bells is Racist
From: Jeri

And because some people will comment on the article without reading it:
'But Hamill insists she doesn't think "Jingle Bells" should be considered a racist song today, and isn't discouraging people from singing it.

"I never said it was racist now," said Hamill. "Nowhere did I say that. My point was that because it is now included in the Christmas catalog of songs — attention is only given to it during the Christmas season — it has eluded rigorous study."

She added: "I did not write the article to make people upset. At no point have I ever made a claim on what people should or should not sing at Christmas."

Breitbart even went so far as to claim Hamill wants Medford to cancel its annual Jingle Bell Festival — which Hamill strongly denies.

"There were many incorrect details in the Breitbart article, which seemed to be timed perfectly to rile people up at this time of year," Hamill said.

"I never asked the city to stop the Jingle Bell Festival," she said. "I would never do that knowing it is an important event for the city of Medford."'


17 Dec 17 - 08:13 PM (#3894442)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

Professor from Boston University

Enough said.....

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

   Publish or perish....thankfully this wannabe PHD will perish on a ring-heap psuedo-academia.


17 Dec 17 - 09:41 PM (#3894446)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: meself

You mean ... Breitbart published Fake News?? Heavens, what next?!


17 Dec 17 - 09:47 PM (#3894447)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: leeneia

Whew! I'm glad I have permission to sing Jingle Bells, because it's a great song for getting the dishes done.


18 Dec 17 - 12:09 AM (#3894451)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: GUEST,pauperback

bee not many masters, knowing that we shall receiue the greater condemnation.

For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

Behold, we put bittes in the horses mouthes, that they may obey vs, and we turne about their whole body.

Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driuen of fierce windes, yet are they turned about with a very small helme, whithersoeuer the gouernour listeth.

Euen so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things: behold, how great a matter a litle fire kindleth


18 Dec 17 - 03:40 AM (#3894460)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: McGrath of Harlow

I rather doubt if there are any popular songs from the last two centuries that haven't been sung in blackface.


18 Dec 17 - 04:02 AM (#3894463)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Jackaroodave

"Professor from Boston University
Enough said.....
Sincerely,
Gargoyle"

So, Gargoyle, it would be fair to infer that you didn't go on to read what the BU professor actually said, as opposed to the mendacious version of it spread by Breitbart, Fox News, and the Daily Mail?

"Euen so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things: behold, how great a matter a litle fire kindleth"

Especially, Pauperback, in this case, where there wasn't even a little fire to begin with, just a lot of smoke from the alt right media propaganda machine.

Good people, the story in this thread is not "Deranged academic takes PC axe to revered and harmless Christmas song." It's that a well-oiled racist media have spread lies and distortions about a serious work of scholarship into the origins of a song that is now the property of the folk, for the sole purpose of inciting just the reaction that has taken place on this thread. I'd think that at Mudcat, of all places, this kind of garbage would be rejected as soon as it is recognized.


18 Dec 17 - 05:35 AM (#3894475)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Tattie Bogle

What, I think, the good people of Mudcat have almost uniformly rejected, is any notion that we should no longer sing it, which in turn means that we are rejecting what the journalists said.
Who knows if they reported the Boston professor accurately? (But we all know not to believe all we read in the papers.)


18 Dec 17 - 06:44 AM (#3894478)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

Published September 2017.

Posted by Kyna Hamill herself.

Interesting half hour read, I recommend it.

www.academia.edu/34785561/Kyna_Hamill_THE_STORY_I_MUST_TELL_JINGLE_BELLS_IN_THE_MINSTREL_REPERTOIRE

Sincerely,
Gargoyle
Link fixed 18 Dec 17. -Mod


18 Dec 17 - 07:07 AM (#3894483)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Jackaroodave

"What, I think, the good people of Mudcat have almost uniformly rejected, is any notion that we should no longer sing it, which in turn means that we are rejecting what the journalists said.
Who knows if they reported the Boston professor accurately? (But we all know not to believe all we read in the papers.)"

Tattie, the Boston Herald American quotes Hamill saying she does not discourage people from singing the song and does not consider it a racist song. If you look a couple of posts up, you'll see her position as quoted by Jeri from the article. Not only the good people of Mudcat, but everyone rejects that notion.


18 Dec 17 - 08:16 AM (#3894491)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Jackaroodave

Gargoyle, I apologize for my inference and thank you for the reference to Hamill's article. It was a real eye-opener for me. True, there is a lot of jargon and self-importance in the beginning, and perhaps more detail throughout than even I can appreciate.

However, she demonstrates with great thoroughness the blackface minstrel background of the song's composition, showing clearly the intent of the songs to ridicule the pretensions of African Americans. Without exposure to the context of the song's composition, it may be difficult to see how its origin could be objectionable. Reading a few of the songs and seeing some of the prints that Hamill includes makes this abundantly clear.

It answers the question raised above,"Why would blackface minstrels sing a song about sleighriding in northern winter snows?" Exactly. To satirize the pretensions of black northerners daring to participate in this white sport. The Currier and Ives illustrations show clearly how the image of black faces in the white snow is supposed to be inherently comic, how the foolhardiness of the comical blacks results in "hilarious" results as the uppities get their true come-uppance.*

She also explains why, with the exception of the dialect marker "upsot," this song is not written in eye-dialect, unlike the other blackface sleigh riding songs that preceded it.

The song was written by a Confederate sympathizer, dedicated to a theatrical empresaeio of blackface minstrelsy, and submitted for performamce, and performed, at the site of many blackface performances.

What it does NOT contain is any suggestion that the song as now sung is racist, or that it should not be sung because of its undeniable racist origins. That was the work of the fake news industry.

*The supposed risibility of blacks participating in winter sports is persistent. I can recall an issue of the National Lampoon containing an pictorial on unlikely specialty magazines: One was "Black Skiier," depicting a pimped-out black male dashing down the snow-white slope. Hilarity ensued.


18 Dec 17 - 08:40 AM (#3894495)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Senoufou

The film 'Cool Runnings' depicted, I seem to remember, a Jamaican bobsled team competing in the Winter Olympics. Part of the interest may have been because they were black, but mainly because they had never seen snow (and they succeeded in their event!).

I suppose it's the incongruity of black people having a sleigh ride in the snow which struck me. In all the years of singing this song, I've never imagined it was set in USA, nor that it was about African Americans in a sleigh.

As a child, I often saw blacked-up 'Pierrot' performers at English seaside resorts. They sang many different sorts of songs, not in any way connected to black people. I couldn't understand then why they had painted their faces black, as it didn't seem relevant. I still can't really...


18 Dec 17 - 08:44 AM (#3894497)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler

Breitbart? Daily Mail? Say no more, the good Professor is clearly innocent.


18 Dec 17 - 09:58 AM (#3894509)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Howard Jones

The weakest part of the professor's argument, it seems to me, is the claim that 'upsot' marks it out as an attempt to sound 'southern'. The word can be found in a number of references from the period, many of which have nothing to do with the American South.

https://sesquiotic.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/upsot/

In other works, whilst the word may have occurred in southern black dialect it was not exclusive to it, and was simply a widespread non-standard variant of "upset". The same goes for "Thro' " and "Tho't ", which are both fairly common poetic devices. "Tho't" isn't even the original spelling, if this reference is correct:
http://www.americanmusicpreservation.com/jinglebellssong.htm

There were far more obvious ways of indicating 'Negro dialect' than these, which the composer himself had used only a three or four years after writing 'Jingle Bells'. If that was the intention I wonder why it was not re-written in more obvious dialect before being published in print, especially as that publication seems to have been directly linked with its first stage performance at a minstrel show?

Whether the song was intentionally written as a minstrel piece or for wider use, and was simply taken up by what was then possibly most popular form of public entertainment hardly matters - unlike some more obviously minstrel songs, the song itself contains no racist references or language and any racist aspect can only be inferred from a long-forgotten context. Which is of course what the professor herself is saying.


18 Dec 17 - 11:26 AM (#3894525)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: meself

The link for the Hamill article doesn't work for me ... ?

"Upsot" always had more of an old New England than southern slave sound to me, although I never came across it elsewhere .....


18 Dec 17 - 11:58 AM (#3894532)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Jackaroodave

"The link for the Hamill article doesn't work for me ... ?"

I got there by googling kyna hamill and some keywords from the article title. It's a PDF, so it may require a newer Reader.

The gooogle page itself is interesting: You can see how Hamill's claims are progressively distorted as the sources drift rightward.


18 Dec 17 - 12:15 PM (#3894535)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Jeri

The link works now.


18 Dec 17 - 12:59 PM (#3894537)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Dan Schatz

Thing is, I only have to get a few sentences in before I find flat inaccuracies. For example, Medford, Georgia has never laid a claim to the song. There is no Medford, Georgia. The question has always been whether Pierpoint, the son of an abolitionist Unitarian minister, wrote the song in Medford, Massachusetts or Savannah, Georgia.

History on Pierpoint himself seems a little murky, and the article's sources seem murky as well. I don't really see any hard evidence that the song was originally performed in blackface - rather, the author seems to be saying that Pierpoint sold his songs to the minstrel shows, so this would have been one of them. That's not a very compelling case.

Others have claimed that the first performance was for a Sunday school at - wait for it - Thanksgiving. That said, there is also some evidence that the author was not completely in step with his father's views.

Dan


18 Dec 17 - 02:03 PM (#3894549)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: meself

Dan: are you talking about the Hamill essay? In the second paragraph, it says, "both Medford, Massachusetts and Savannah,Georgia lay claim to being the song’s city of origin." I haven't read very far into it - but I find no reference to a "Medford, Georgia" so far ....


18 Dec 17 - 02:10 PM (#3894551)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: keberoxu

Thanks to the mudelves
for improving the thread title.


18 Dec 17 - 02:56 PM (#3894556)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Jackaroodave

Dan,

James Pierpont (not Pierpoint) dedicated the song to John Ordway, the empresario of Ordway's Aeolians, listed in Wikipedia's "List of Blackface Minstrels" as a blackface group. Wikipedia cites William Mahar, author of "Behind the Burnt Cork: Early Blackface Minstrelsy and Antebellum Popular Culture," as does Hamill. According to Hamill, "The song was first performed on 15 September at Ordway Hall by the minstrel performer Johnny Pell." According to "Monarchs of Minstrelsy, from Daddy Rice to Date," by Edward Le Roy Rice, Johnny Pell was a member of Ordway's blackface Aeolians. Unfortunately, Hamill does not cite her source for the date of the performance, but I doubt she is making it up. The article goes on to relate James Pierpont's close and continuing relationship with Ordway, during which he composed many minstrel songs for Ordway, these written in pseudo Black English Vernacular.


18 Dec 17 - 03:08 PM (#3894559)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Jackaroodave

Not only does Hamill mention Medford Mass. as a contending site for the song's composition in her second paragraph, but her very first sentence locates the bronze plaque citing its composition in Medford: "Engraved on a bronze plaque on High Street in Medford Assachusetts, are the following words:"


18 Dec 17 - 03:10 PM (#3894560)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Jackaroodave

Oops, Massachusetts, not Assachusetts. My apologies to all Bay Staters!


18 Dec 17 - 03:42 PM (#3894570)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Jackaroodave

OK, here's Hamill's source. It comes up in the controversy over the site of composition--to settle which was Hamill's original research goal: "Hamill's evidence against Georgia's claim is a playbill found in Harvard University's Houghton Library, which lists a performance Boston's [sic] at Ordway Hall on September 15, 1857 of "One Horse Open Sleigh"--the original title of "Jingle Bells."

This is on the website of WCVB, an ABC affiliate:

www.wcvb.com/article/debunking-the-local-myth-about-where-jingle-bells-was-written/8514578


18 Dec 17 - 04:42 PM (#3894587)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Tattie Bogle

Good! (Jackaroodave)


21 Dec 17 - 03:29 AM (#3895044)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: r.padgett

Title: Jingle Bells, originally titled "One Horse Open Sleigh"

The writer portait
Author: James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893) wrote the song in 1857. The said song was meant for a Thanksgiving program at a church in Savannah, Georgia where Pierpont was organist. The song was so well accepted that it was again sung on Christmas day and since then became one of the most popular Christmas carols. This song "One Horse Open Sleigh" was published by Oliver Ditson and Co. of Boston in August 1857. Two years later it was re-released with the title "Jingle Bells, or The One Horse Open Sleigh". It was not a hit either time.

pinched Off a web site!!


Ray


21 Dec 17 - 06:09 AM (#3895081)
Subject: RE: Jingle Bells Originally Performed in Minstrel Show
From: Jackaroodave

Ray,

As noted above, Kyna Hamill refuted the Atlanta Thanksgiving claim by discovering a playbill listing its performance by Johnny Pell, a member of the blackface minstrel group, Ordway's Aeolians, on September 15, 1857, at Ordway's Theater in Boston. Her original intention in researching the song was to settle the dispute between Atlanta and Medford, Mass., about the site of its composition.