The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was a popular form of ‘black face’ entertainment in early 19th century America, influencing American vernacular songs and stage performances, but its popularity travelled beyond America, across both the Atlantic and the Pacific. When Commodore Matthew C. Perry arrived in Yokohama on 1853, for example, the American sailors organized a blackface minstrel band and performed the minstrels’ hit songs.
This 4-volume facsimile collection focuses on early minstrelsy material, particularly songs and performance records. Included are songbooks of famous Christy Minstrels, a performance guide for amateur troupes, sheet music and playbills, books that explore minstrelsy history. Numerous photos, illustrations and plates are also included.
The material gathered together is a unique and valuable primary source on the early history of American popular culture. Moreover, it provides an important historical view of the discriminative stereotypes of African American people from which they still suffer.
Table of Contents
Volume 1: Songbooks Part I
Introduction by Keiko Wells
Christy’s Plantation Melodies, Book No. 1-4. Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Baltimore: Fisher and Brother, 1854.
Christy’s New Songster and Black Joker. New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, 1863.
Christy’s Bones and Banjo Melodist. New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, 1867.
Volume 2: Songbooks Part II
Christy’s and White’s Ethiopian Melodies. Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson & Bros., 
1. Christy and Wood’s New Song Book.
2. White’s New Illustrated Melodeon Song Book.
3. White’s New Book of Plantation Melodies.
4. White’s New Ethiopean Song Book.
5. Whites’s Serenaders’ Song Book.
Volume 3 : Manual & Guide Books
Dumont, Frank. The Witmark Amateur Minstrel Guide and Burnt Cork Encyclopedia. Chicago & London: M. Witmark & Sons, 1899.
Powell, Herbert P.. The World’s Best Book of Minstrelsy, Philadelphia: The Penn Publishing Co., 1926.
Volume 4 : History and Sheet Music
Paskman, Dailey & Sigmund Spaeth. "Gentlemen, Be Seated!": A Parade of the Old-Time Minstrels. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1928.
Old Dan Emmit’s Original Banjo Melodies. "My Old Aunt Sally" & "O Lud Gals Me etc." Boston: Chas. H. Keith, 1843.
Virginia Minstrels: The Celebrated Negro Melodies. "Ole Dan Tucker." Boston: Geo. P. Reed, 1843.
Virginia Minstrels: "Jim Crack Corn." Baltimore: F. D. Benteen, 1846.
Virginia Minstrels. Playbills
Professor Keiko Wells, College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University, Japan