Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I've been readingThe Battle for Christmas.  Here is an interesting excerpt about Christmas theatre in Philadelphia in 1843


"The matinee performance at the National Theatre opened with a drama, George Barnwell,continued with a blackface show The Original Virginia Minstrels, and ended with another drama, King of the Mist.  The Ach Street Theatre matinee opened with  Hunter of the Alps, continued with a Comic Song,  and concluded with the Colored Music Festival, by the Virginia Minstrels.  The evening show in that same theatre opened with a drama, followed once again by the Virginia Minstrels, and concluded with a new Pantomime, entitled 'Santa Claus' - Old Kriskringle [played by] Mr. Winans.


Old Krisskringle - By 1843 this figure had become the lead character of a Christmas pantomime performed in concert with a minstrel show.  (This would not be the only occasion on which Santa Claus converged with blackface minstrelsy.  In about 1840, a collection of minstrel songs was printed in New York under the authorship by Santaclaus."

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Comment by John Masciale on January 3, 2012 at 6:02pm

Generally not.  The cover page  to De Kickapoo Whoop; or Pee Wee Warbler shows a blackface Santa Clause (1840), and says it is by Santa Claus.  This was actually a collection of Thomas Rice songs.  I suspect that it was intended as a Christmas gift book.  Gift books were among the earliest of commercially produced Christmas gifts.


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