African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920


Browse Collection by:

View more collections from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition

Links marked * go to Web pages at the awardee institution.

Collection Connection
Classroom resources for teachers

Related Resources

Selected Bibliography for African-American Sheet Music

Jump to:

African-American Sheet Music and Performers

Badger, Reid. A life in ragtime : a biography of James Reese Europe. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Baraka, Imamu Amiri. Black music. New York: W. Morrow, 1967.

Bogle, Donald. Brown sugar : eighty years of America's Black female superstars. New York : Harmony Books, c1980.

Charters, Ann. Nobody, the story of Bert Williams. New York : Da Capo Press, 1983.

Daly, John Jay. A song in his heart..Philadelphia: Winston, [1951]. (Biography of James A. Bland)

De Lerma, Dominique-Rene. Reflections on Afro-American music. [Kent, Ohio]: Kent State University Press, [c1973]. (Includes contributions from Richard L. Abrams and others.)

Epstein, Dena J. Sinful tunes and spirituals : Black folk music to the Civil War. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, [c1977].

Floyd, Samuel A. The power of Black music : interpreting its history from Africa to the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, c1995.

Hare, Maud Cuney. Negro musicians and their music. Washington, D.C.: Associated Publishers, Inc., [1936].

Katz, Bernard, ed. The social implications of early Negro music in the United States; with over 150 of the songs, many of them with their music. New York: Arno Press, 1969.

Kebede, Ashenafi. Roots of Black music : the vocal, instrumental, and dance heritage of Africa and Black America. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, c1982.

Locke, Alain LeRoy. The Negro and his music. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, [1968].

Morgan, Thomas L. and William Barlow. From cakewalks to concert halls : an illustrated history of African American popular music from 1895 to 1930. Washington, D.C.: Elliott & Clark, c1992.

Patterson, Lindsay, comp. The Negro in music and art. New York: Publishers Co., [c1970].

Roach, Hildred. Black American music : past and present. Malabar, Fla.: Krieger Publishing. Co., 1992.

Schafer, William John, and Johannes Riedel. The art of ragtime; form and meaning of an original black American art. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, [1973].

Shaw, Arnold. Black popular music in America : from the spirituals, minstrels, and ragtime to soul, disco, and hip-hop. New York: Schirmer Books, c1986.

Smith, Eric Ledell. Bert Williams : a biography of the pioneer Black comedian. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, c1992.

Southern, Eileen. Biographical dictionary of Afro-American and African musicians. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982.

Southern, Eileen. The music of black Americans : a history. 3rd edition. New York: W.W. Norton, c1997.

Walton, Ortiz M. Music: black, white and blue; a sociological survey of the use and misuse of Afro-American music. New York: W. Morrow, 1972.


Nineteenth-Century American Theatre

Birdoff, Harry. The world's greatest hit: Uncle Tom's cabin; illustrated with oldtime playbills, daguerreotypes, vignettes, music-sheets, poems, and cartoons. New York: S.F. Vanni, [1947].

Cullen, Rosemary L. The Civil War in American drama before 1900 : catalog of an exhibition, November 1982. [Providence, R.I.]: Brown University Library, c1982.

Moody, Richard. America takes the stage; romanticism in American drama and theatre, 1750-1900. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, [1955].

Moody, Richard. Ned Harrigan : from Corlear's Hook to Herald Square. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, c1980.

Moody, Richard, ed. Dramas from the American theatre, 1762-1909. Cleveland: World Publishing. Co., [1966].

Odell, George Clinton Densmore. Annals of the New York stage. New York: Columbia University Press, 1927-49.


African-American Theatre and Musical Theatre

Burdine, Warren B. "The evolution of the images of African-American characters in the American commercial musical." Ph.D. diss., City University of New York, 1991.

Fletcher, Tom. 100 years of the Negro in show business. New York: Da Capo Press, 1984.

Peterson, Bernard L. A century of musicals in black and white : an encyclopedia of musical stage works by, about, or involving African Americans. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993.

Riis, Thomas Laurence. Just before jazz : Black musical theater in New York, 1890-1915. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, c1989.

Riis, Thomas Laurence. More than just minstrel shows : the rise of Black musical theatre at the turn of the century. New York: Institute for Studies in American Music, Conservatory of Music, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, c1992.

Sampson, Henry T. Blacks in blackface : a source book on early Black musical shows. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1980.

Sampson, Henry T. The ghost walks : a chronological history of Blacks in show business, 1865-1910. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1988.

Southern, Eileen, ed. African American theater. New York: Garland, 1994.

Woll, Allen L. Black musical theatre : from Coontown to Dreamgirls. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, c1989.

Woll, Allen L. Dictionary of the Black theatre : Broadway, off-Broadway, and selected Harlem theatre. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1983.



Cockrell, Dale. Demons of disorder : early blackface minstrels and their world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Davidson, Frank Costellow. "The rise, development, decline and influence of the American minstrel show." Ph.D diss., New York University, 1952.

Bean, Annemarie, James V. Hatch, and Brooks McNamara, eds. Inside the minstrel mask : readings in nineteenth-century blackface minstrelsy. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England [for] Wesleyan University Press, c1996.

Lhamon, W. T. Raising Cain : blackface performance from Jim Crow to Hip Hop. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998.

Lott, Eric. Love and theft : blackface minstrelsy and the American working class. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Mahar, William. Behind the burnt cork mask: early blackface minstrelsy and antebellum American popular culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Nathan, Hans. Dan Emmett and the rise of early Negro minstrelsy. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, [1962].

Paskman, Dailey and Sigmund Spaeth. "Gentlemen, be seated!" : A parade of the old-time minstrels. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran, 1928.

Wittke, Carl Frederick. Tambo and bones : a history of the American minstrel stage. Durham, [N.C.]: Duke University Press, 1930.


Civil War Music

Brown, Dorothy Oskern. Civil war songs in the Harris collection of American poetry and plays at Brown University. 1959.

Crawford, Richard .The Civil War songbook : complete original sheet music for 37 songs. New York: Dover Publications, c1977.

Currie, Stephen. Music in the Civil War. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, c1992.

Heaps, Willard Allison, and Porter W. Heaps.The singing sixties; the spirit of Civil War days drawn from the music of the times. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, [1960].

Silber, Irwin, ed. Songs of the Civil War. New York: Columbia University Press, 1960.


Social History

Adjaye, Joseph K., and Adrianne R. Andrews, eds. Language, rhythm, & sound : Black popular cultures into the twenty-first century. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, c1997.

Boskin, Joseph. Sambo : the rise & demise of an American jester. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Bromell, Nicholas Knowles. By the sweat of the brow : literature and labor in antebellum America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

Dennison, Sam. Scandalize my name : Black imagery in American popular music. New York: Garland Publishing, 1982.

Dormon, James H., and Robert R. Jones. The Afro-American experience: a cultural history through emancipation. New York: Wiley, [1974].

Gubar, Susan. Racechanges : white skin, black face in American culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Hughes, Langston, and Milton Meltzer. Black magic : a pictorial history of the African-American in the performing arts. New York: Da Capo Press, [1990].

Kern-Foxworth, Marilyn. Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, and Rastus : Blacks in advertising, yesterday, today, and tomorrow; foreword by Alex Haley. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.

Leonard, William T. Masquerade in black. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1986.

Moses, Wilson Jeremiah. Afrotopia : the roots of African American popular history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Pomerance, Alan. Repeal of the blues. Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, c1988.

Samuels, Shirley, ed. The Culture of sentiment : race, gender, and sentimentality in nineteenth-century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Sollors, Werner and Maria Diedrich.The Black Columbiad : defining moments in African American literature and culture. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994.

Van Deburg, William L. Slavery and race in American popular culture. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984.

Watkins, Mel. On the real side : laughing, lying, and signifying-- : the underground tradition of African-American humor that transformed American culture, from slavery to Richard Pryor New York: Simon & Schuster, c1994.


Sheet Music Publishing and Illustration

Carey, John Thomas. The American lithograph from its inception to 1865: with biographical considerations of twenty lithographers and a checklist of their works. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms, [1959].

Dichter, Harry, and Elliott Shapiro. Early American sheet music : its lure and its lore, 1768-1889. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1941.

Fuld, James J. A pictorial bibliography of the first editions of Stephen C. Foster. Philadelphia: Musical Americana, 1957.

Klamkin, Marian. Old sheet music : a pictorial history. New York: Hawthorn Books, [c1975].

Krummel, D.W., and Stanley Sadie. Music printing and publishing. New York: W. W. Norton, 1990.

Krummel, D.W., et al., eds., Resources of American music history : a directory of source materials from Colonial times to World War II. Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1981.

Krummel, Donald William. Bibliographical handbook of American music. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, c1987.

Krummel, Donald William. The literature of music bibliography : an account of the writings on the history of music printing and publishing. Berkeley, Calif.: Fallen Leaf Press, c1992.

Levy, Lester S. Grace notes in American history; popular sheet music from 1820-1900. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, [1967].

Levy, Lester S. Picture the songs : lithographs from the sheet music of nineteenth-century America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, c1976.

Milton S. Eisenhower Library.Guide to the Lester S. Levy collection of sheet music. [Baltimore, Md.]: Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University, 1984.

Peters, Harry Twyford. America on stone; the other printmakers to the American people; a chronicle of American lithography other than that of Currier & Ives, from its beginning, shortly before 1820, to the years when the commercial single-stone hand-colored lithograph disappeared from the American scene. [Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., c1931]

Series of old American songs, reproduced in facsimile from original or early editions in the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays, Brown University. Providence, R. I.: Brown University Library, 1936.

Tatham, David. The lure of the striped pig; the illustration of popular music in America, 1820-1870. Barre, Mass:, Imprint Society, 1973.