Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Have I missed anything?

Banjo Books in order of printing

1848/1851 The Complete Preceptor for the Banjo – Gumbo Chaff [Elias Howe]
1855 Brigg’s Banjo Instructor – Thomas Briggs
1856 Howe’s New American Banjo School – Elias Howe [abridged edition, 1859]
1858 Correct Method for the Banjo – Phil Rice
1860 Buckley’s New Banjo Method/Book – James Buckley
1864 Winner's New Primer for the Banjo
1864/5 The Banjo Without A Master – Frank Converse
1865 Banjo Instructor, Without A Master – Frank Converse
1865 New and Complete Method With or Without A Master – Frank Converse
1868 Buckley Banjo Guide
1871 Modern Method for the Banjo – Dobson Brothers
1872 Winner's New School
1872 The Banjo and How To Play It – Frank Converse
1875 Shay's banjo school. Chicago & Boston: White, Smith, & Co.
1877 Dobson's New School For the Banjo
1879 Geo. C. Dobson's Star Instructor and Simplified Tunes for the Banjo
1880 Complete Instructor for the Banjo --George C. Dobson
1882 Dobson’s Universal Banjo Instructor – Henry C. and Clifton G. Dobson
1883 Winner’s New American School for the Banjo
1884 Neil Grey's New Banjo Method
1886 Converse Analytical – Frank Converse
1887 Geo. C. Dobson's "Victor" Banjo Manual
1887 Winner's Self-Instructor for the banjo
1892? Winner’s Eureka Method for the Banjo
1895 Carl Fischer's New and Revised Edition of Celebrated Tutors, Banjo

I'm a bit confused over Buckley's Banjo Method and Buckley's Banjo Book - one and the same thing? My Tuckahoe Press edition has Method on the cover and Book inside. And is 1892 the date for Winner's Eureka Method?

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Winner’s New American School for the Banjo (White, Smith & co., Boston, Chicago, 1883) - is this the same book as Winner's New School? I think not, in which case, what date for Winner's New School?
The Winner's is a bit confusing. There is a "Winner's New Primer for the Banjo" from 1864. This is available from Cogubamus still. Most people just say "Buckley 1860", or "Buckley 1868". Rice is 1858. There is a Dobson Book "Dobson's New System For the Banjo" 1877. We should line all the Winner's up sometime, just to check them. It seems like there is yet another.
Yes, there is a "Winner's New School" from 1872, and the "Winner's New American School" from 1883. Both are in the Clubhouse.
Thanks, Tim. I've managed to edit the list and add your comments.
Hi all,

Sorry I've been so scarce lately -- i've just been quite busy and have really missed participating. With classes beginning in a week, I may still not have a huge amount of time but .. we'll see.

In response to Rob's question, here are a few more from my own collection:

1877 -- George C. Dobsons' [sic] New School for the Banjo

1879 -- Geo. C. Dobson's Star Instructor and Simplified Tunes for the Banjo

1880 -- Complete Instructor for the Banjo --George C. Dobson

1884 -- Neil Grey's New Banjo Method

1887 -- Geo. C. Dobson's "Victor" Banjo Manual

@1895 -- Carl Fischer's New and Revised Edition of Celebrated Tutors, Banjo

A few years back, I was able to buy some very clean copies of the Dobson books from a collection that was owned by the guy who did the type setting for White, Smith & Co. of Boston. Evidently he kept a copy of each one he did.

Of course, this still doesn't cover any of the copious S. S. Stewart materials.
I like Tim's idea of lining up all the Winners sometime.

Actually, I think that developing a comprehensive list of the tutors (like we seem to be doing...) is a good place to start.
Thanks Jim. That helped a lot. Keep 'em coming, lads!
Eli Kaufman of the American Banjo Fraternity has the most comprehensive list/bibliography of banjo tutors that I'm aware of, from the earliest publications through the early/mid 20th century. Perhaps someone might like to contact him regarding what he's compiled--no need to reinvent the wheel. I know that Eli has published a series of summary articles for a number of the early tutors in multiple back issues of the American Banjo Fraternity's "Five Stringer" magazine. He would be an excellent source to contact on this front.

On a related note, I'd like to say that you guys are a real inspiration to correspond with and I'm sorry that I don't have more time to spend on this site. Actually, my time is about to get even tighter as I head back to grad school for ethnomusicology at University of Maryland. Tomorrow is my first day of graduate work where I will be teaching (as a Teaching Assistant) three sections of an undergraduate ethnomusicology course for non-music majors and taking a research methods course, an ethnomusicology history/theory course, and an African drum ensemble course. This is in addition to my NEH Project Director work for the Banjo Sightings Database Project. Ultimately, one of my long term goals is to try to raise awareness of the types of professional and vernacular knowledge that so many of us are addressing when it comes to the early banjo. In the end, it'll be great to see where you guys go with all of this and many other discussions. Perhaps some of us can more formally team up in the coming months/years to really organize a project that offers an increasingly accessible approach to the great complexities that exist with early banjo technique.

Upward and onward.... Here's to all of us!

Best regards,
Greg is right - no point in reinventing the wheel. If a list already exists, can we make it more accessible? I'm not a member of the ABF, and have never heard of Eli - my ignorance is deep and profound, but I struggle towards enlightenment.

Good luck with your studies/teaching, Greg! Don't forget us...
Amen! Keep updating us on your progress Greg.

Eli Kaufman (and his wife Madeline) are mainstays of the American Banjo Fraternity (which is mostly about "Classic" banjo rather than the earlier forms). He is probably the worlds foremost authority on S.S. Stewart...among many other things. I've met him a time or two but not in many, many years.

The ABF website has been down for some time now. I wonder what's going on?
For Sale: Winner's Self-Instructor, 1887 - at abebooks.co.uk

They also have notice of originals by Converse, Stewart, Dobson and others. The Winner is very cheap. The rest are very expensive!
We had a thread earlier about Gumbo Chaff tutors, and I mentioned there that Gura and Bollman, America's Instrument, p. 266, note 55 says that the American Antiquarian Society has a "unique copy" of an 1848 imprint of Chaff's banjo tutor. However, the online AAS catalog doesn't list it. It might be in a special collection (such as Art Schrader's), or otherwise uncataloged.

I just raise it again because your list currently starts at 1851.


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