Chaff: The Ethiopian Glee Book (1848-9)

Alternately credited to Elias Howe (the Boston music publisher, not the inventor of the sewing machine) or Gumbo Chaff (a minstrel era pen- or stage-name), this series of volumes collects four-part settings of popular songs from the antebellum minstrel stage.  The selections give us a sense of how a popular troupe like Christy’s Minstrels would perform the material.

This edition lists as “No. 3” at and bears a date of 1849, but Mahar references it as “EGB1” (Ethiopian Glee Book No. 1, 1848):


No. 2 offers yet more material:


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