A little off topic... I just acquired two rare books from the minstrel era, one of which may be of interest to people here. It is titled "Christy's Bones and Banjo: Melodist" and it contains the lyrics to some of the Christy's Minstrels songs as well as scripts for their different acts. It's essentially a minstrel show in a book. I'd like to scan it to make a digital copy, but the book is very fragile, and i think the cover will fall off if I try to open it wide enough to scan. Any ideas how to proceed?
That sounds promising- I didn't know such a thing existed. Is that something that a library might have, or should I go ahead and order one?
Yes! That is one of them. The other is from 1856 and is called Charley White's New Illustrated Book of Black Wit. It has some illustrations of banjos in it.
I realize this is largely off-topic and of no particular importance to the discussion at hand, but I was fascinated by the following statement on the frontispiece:
GUARANTEE. THIS LITTLE VOLUME POSTIVELY CONTAINS NO CHESTNUTS ON MOTHERS-IN-LAW, BOARDING HOUSE BUTTER, THE GIRL - HER BEAU AND ICE CREAM, OR CLIPPINGS FROM "LONDON PUNCH".
I would not have guessed that even in the 1860s mother-in-law jokes were considered hopelessly clichéd and out-of-date. Obviously they nevertheless have survived into the 21st century, unlike those other hoary standards, the boarding house butter jokes (can't help but wonder about that set-up and punch line