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Collection of broadside song lyrics
1850 - MAGNUS, Charles, et al. Collection of broadside song lyrics. Boston; New York; Philadelphia, Washington: various publishers, 1850-80. Thirty-six separate sheets. Narrow broadsides, thin wove stock (generally 6 by 10 inches). Housed in a custom clamshell box. $4500.Fascinating collection of 36 broadside song sheets of popular 19th-century love ballads, war songs and drinking songs, including "Hurrah for Lincoln!," "Annie Laurie," and the minstrel love song "Cum Plung Gum," some with hand-colored wood-engraved borders and headpieces."A fad in American life produced a shower of song sheets, slip ballads and poetical broadsides. Although such sheets had been printed by enterprising publishers for centuries, about 1850 it became big small-business". They were run off in large editions, sold wholesale to dealers and sold retail by hawkers, in stationery shops and in book stores" (Library Company of Philadelphia). Song sheets are a sub-genre of "street literature," "cheap ballad sheets, pamphlets and other ephemera of the masses, which circulated from the dawn of printing right up to the end of the 19th century" (Shepard, 13). Widespread and enduring, song sheets "tended to dwell on the more sensational news of the day: crimes, executions, natural disasters, scandals, [and] battles. More than just reporting the news, however, song sheets usually reported it with attitude, editorializing freely, often satirically, as they described the latest sensation. This makes them of interest as a mirror of popular contemporary attitudes to historical events" (New York State Library). This representative collection of 36 American song sheets includes "Hurrah for Lincoln!," a campaign song for his second term (with wood-engraved portrait), "The Boys of Uncle Samu'l," "Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! The Prisoner's Hope," "Over the Hills to the Poor House," and "The Rat-Catcher's Daughter." Most of these wonderful sheets are published by Henry de Marsan of New York (6 songs), Horace Partridge of Boston (10 songs), Charles Magnus of Washington DC (4) and J.H. Johnson of Philadelphia (3). They were issued "on cheap paper within woodcut or type ornament borders. But firms such as Mangus put out sheets of far higher quality, printed on letter paper and almost invariably illustrated with a hand-colored headpiece". While ordinary sheets were inexpensive, the pictorial note paper songs were not. Johnson sold his plain ones for a penny retail, and wholesale "˜to dealers by the 1,000, 100 or Doz. as low as published in the United States" (Edwin Wolf II). Included also in this collection are such "tender" songs of love and courtship as "Cora Lee," "You Are False But I'll Forgive You," "Annie Laurie," and the minstrel love song "Cum Plung Gum""" all printed in a handy broadside format for spontaneous distribution as the spirit moved. Edge-wear to a number of sheets, especially those of de Marsan. A splendid collection, representative of the times.
      [Bookseller: Bauman Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2016-12-01           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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