Cover image for North Pennsylvania Minstrelsy: As Sung in the Backwood Settlements, Hunting Cabins and Lumber Camps in Northern Pennsylvania, 1840–1910 Compiled by Henry W. Shoemaker

North Pennsylvania Minstrelsy

As Sung in the Backwood Settlements, Hunting Cabins and Lumber Camps in Northern Pennsylvania, 1840–1910

Compiled by Henry W. Shoemaker

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$25.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-04881-9

180 pages
5.5" × 8.5"
10 b&w illustrations
1919

North Pennsylvania Minstrelsy

As Sung in the Backwood Settlements, Hunting Cabins and Lumber Camps in Northern Pennsylvania, 1840–1910

Compiled by Henry W. Shoemaker

Henry W. Shoemaker was already an established writer of Pennsylvania’s popular folklore by the time North Pennsylvania Minstrelsy was published in 1919. While much of Shoemaker’s previous work was literary folklore, this volume comprises his first collection of ballads and what has been argued to be one of his most significant contributions to the scholarly folklore conversation.

 

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An Open Access edition of North Pennsylvania Minstrelsy is available through PSU Press Unlocked. To access this free electronic edition click here. Print editions are also available.

Henry W. Shoemaker was already an established writer of Pennsylvania’s popular folklore by the time North Pennsylvania Minstrelsy was published in 1919. While much of Shoemaker’s previous work was literary folklore, this volume comprises his first collection of ballads and what has been argued to be one of his most significant contributions to the scholarly folklore conversation.

Compiled by Shoemaker over two decades, with the assistance of John C. French and John H. Chatham, this volume includes over one hundred songs and ballads from Union, Snyder, Centre, Lycoming, Clinton, Tioga, Potter, McKean, Forest, Cameron, Elk, and Clearfield Counties in Pennsylvania. Shoemaker prefaced much of his work with words on preserving the wilderness, and with it the romantic simplicity of the preindustrial “golden age” of Pennsylvania. In this volume, he ties the ballads to this ideal by noting, “Work without music is too modern, too grinding; it was not the life for the Pennsylvania mountaineer whose soul overflowed with melody. . . . Simplicity was his foremost vital trait; he was close to the Eternal Source and the harmonies of Nature.”

This facsimile edition of Shoemaker’s 1919 original publication includes ballads and fragments of ballads from across the northern counties, accompanied by Shoemaker’s introduction and annotations to each ballad, which often include context as well as the name of the county where it was collected and from whom.

Henry W. Shoemaker (1880–1958) was the author of over twenty volumes of popular Pennsylvania literary folklore during the first half of the twentieth century.