c. 1820-1850, Thirty-Four Engraved Printed Sheet Music Scores, Bound into a Single Volume, including: “The Sorrowing Jew”, Musical Scores of Ethiopian (Black) Melodies, Polkas, and a work titled, “Old Folks At Home” better known today as “Swanee River,” composed by Stephen C. Foster, also known as "the Father of American Music," Choice Very Fine.An important Hardcover Bound Volume of 34 diverse themes Engraved American Sheet Music including the first being titled “The Sorrowing Jew” plus several Black History related scores and more. The engraved heavy wove paper scores measure 13.75” x 10.25” with the hardcover with a leather spine and its corners leather covered, having marbled covers. The majority of the enclosed Sheet Music dates from the 1840 to 1850 era, however, there are some Engraved Sheet Music scores dating from the 1820's. Numerous scores are titled as Ethiopian Melodies, suggesting an African-American origin, but such is not the case. These are all “American” melodies, either to be played by Black African minstrels, or being about Black Africans in America. This period musical language in text used included “N” word to appear several times in various works within this Volume (as typical of the language of the 1800’s). There appears to be 34 diverse Engraved Music Scores within this Volume, including:
“The Sorrowing Jew” 1841 with central engraved Vignette by Bufford, dedicated to the LADIES JEW SOCIETY OF NEWBURYPORT, printed in Boston; “Rosa Lee or Don’t Be Foolish Joe!” (1847); “Old Folks at Home, Ethiopian Melody, as Sung by Christy’s Minstrels” (1851); “Nelly Was a Lady” by Stephen C. Foster (1849); “The Lament of the Irish Emigrant” (1843); and “Yankee Doodle with Variations” (undated), and many more.
There are some typical period scattered early pencil notations made on some pages, and internally is in very nice condition. It is interesting to point out that “Old Folks At Home” was the original name of the popular song known today as “SWANEE RIVER” the Official Song (with politically correct revisions) of the State of Florida. That work has been credited to Stephen C. Foster, yet the Sheet Music included in this Volume credits the words and music to “E.P. Christy” of the Christy’s Minstrels. Apparently, Christy commissioned Stephen Foster to write the score for him, but Christy insisted he himself be given the credit as the song’s creator! A wonderful volume filled with many musical and historical treasures.
Stephen Collins Foster (July 4, 1826 - January 13, 1864), also known as "the father of American music," was an American Songwriter known primarily for his parlor and minstrel music.
Stephen Collins Foster wrote more than 200 popular American songs, including "Oh! Susanna", "Hard Times Come Again No More", "Camptown Races", "Old Folks at Home" ("Swanee River"), "My Old Kentucky Home", "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair", "Old Black Joe", and "Beautiful Dreamer". Many of his compositions remain very popular today.
He has been identified as "the most famous songwriter of the nineteenth century" and may be the most recognizable American composer in other countries. His compositions are sometimes referred to as "childhood songs" because they have been included in the music curriculum of early education. Most of his handwritten music manuscripts are lost, but editions issued by publishers of his day feature in various collections.