Was going through a site I just re-discovered, Cornell University's Library "Making of America", digitized journals. I came across Scietific American and, natural, did a serach for "banjo". Here's one I got that I had to share. It's an editorial responce to a readers inquiry. Though I do not know what the inquiry was exactly, still cool!
August 13th, 1859 - Volume 1, Issue 7 - pg 110
B.H.M., of N.H. - We are not skilled in the paculiarities of the banjo, and are therefore not able to answer your inquiry. About all we know respecting it is,that there is such an instrument, and when well thumbed it gives out tolerable music.
Here is the link: Scientific American, Vol 1 Issue 7