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Collection Scope and Content Notes


Included as enclosure for C869c correspondence from Monroe Crannell to Morrison Foster. Although Elliker states that the original of the 1852 letter is in the Foster collection, it apppears only this copy, made in Mr. Crannell's hand, is held by the Center for American Music. The whereabouts of the original document are not currently known.

Pittsburgh, May 25, 1852

E.P. Christy, Esq.

Dear Sir

As I once intimated to you, I had the intention of omitting my name on my Ethiopian songs, owing to the prejudice against them by some, which might injure my reputation as a writer of another style of music, but I find that by my efforts I have done a great deal to build up a taste for the Ethiopian songs among refined people by making the words suitable to their taste, instead of the trashy and really offensive words which belong to some of that order. Therefore I have concluded to reinstate my name on my songs and to pursue the Ethiopian business without fear or shame and lend all my energies to making the business live, at the same time that I will wish to establish my name as the best Ethiopian song-writer. But I am not encouraged in undertaking this so long as "The Old Folks At Home" stares me in the face with another's name on it. As it was at my own solicitation that you allowed your name to be placed on the song, I hope that the above reasons will be sufficient explanation for my desire to place my own name on it as author and composer, while at the same time I wish to leave the name of your band on the title page. This is a little matter of pride in myself which it will certainly be to your interest to encourage. On the receipt of your free consent to this proposition, I will, if you wish, willingly refund you the money which you paid me on that song, though it may have been sent me for other considerations than the one in question, and I promise in addition to write you an opening chorus in my best style, free of charge, and in any other way in my power to advance your interest hereafter. I find I cannot write at all unless I write for public approbation and get credit for what I write. As we may probably have a good deal of business with each other in our lives, it is best to proceed on a sure basis of confidence and good understanding, therefore I hope you will appreciate an author's feelings in the case and deal with me with your usual fairness. Please answer immediately.

Very respectfully yours, Stephen C. Foster

On the back of the letter it says

S.C. Foster - A mean & contemptible - vascillating skunk & plagiarist - Pittsburg Pa May 1852 "Old Folks"

then Crannell has added "copy of Christy's endorsement"


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