FAMILY SINGERS 97-003
PHOTOGRAPHS, SHEET MUSIC and PERFORMANCE
8 black and
1843 – ca. 1901
These items were
purchased from the Lillian Caplan Center
for Musical Antiquities in New York
in March 1997. An original note on one
of the performance documents indicates that it belonged to a Dr. Dearborn of Milford, New
Further research indicates that Dr. Dearborn was a grandson of one of
the Hutchinson Family Singers, namely Judson Hutchinson. Kate L. Hutchinson was
Judson’s daughter. She married Thomas B. Dearborn and had four sons, Thomas
Jr., Jessie, Henry, and Edmund. The four Dearborn
boys were also singers and formed the Dearborn Male Quartette. The eldest three
later became physicians, and it is probable that one of them owned the
materials in this collection, including the scrapbook from which the
photographs were taken. (For more information see the accession files and
Agency History/biographical sketch:
The Hutchinson family of singers were
active from 1840 to the 1880s and originally included the 13 children of Jesse
and Mary Leavitt Hutchinson of Milford,
New Hampshire. From 1842 to 1849, the most popular Hutchinson
Family Singers included Judson, John, Asa, and Abby. They became the best-known
and most influential popular music performers in the USA
at that time, touring New England, the British Isles,
and performing for U.S.
Presidents, politicians, poets, and artists. The Hutchinson’s repertory included pieces from
popular music books of the day, glees, songs of the
famous Rainer Family, solo songs and ballads with American themes. Judson and
John played violins, Asa cello, and later John played harmonium and Abby
occasionally guitar. The Hutchinson Family introduced the central
characteristics of mainstream popular music to the genre, namely an informal
stage manner, close blend of voices, and “natural” or uncultivated tone with
in 1849 ended the group of four, but various combinations of family, relatives,
and friends continued to tour the country for several more decades, using names
that made clear their connection with the Hutchinson Family.
(Information from The New Grove Dictionary of American
Music, Dale Cockrell, pp. 444-445.)
Scope and content:
small collection of items was probably owned by one of Judson Hutchinson’s
grandsons who lived in Milford,
New Hampshire. All of the
materials have to do with the musical family of Hutchinsons, a famous and
celebrated group of singers that made important and lasting contributions to
the development of American popular music.
photographs included in the collection were originally mounted on two pages
from a scrapbook. They are duplicates of original photographs that were placed
in a scrapbook, presumably by a member of the Hutchinson family. Holograph inscriptions
were written below two of the photographs. Subjects include: John Wallace
Hutchinson (born January 4, 1821; died October 29, 1908); a lithograph by
George Endicott of the Hutchinson Family Singers that was used on sheet-music
covers and playbills; three photographs of a “Reunion with Uncle John
Hutchinson;” a group shot of ten of the Hutchinson brothers, 1844; and two
photographs of Hutchinson boys.
Two performance documents were included
in the collection. A generic playbill or poster with a lithograph of Judson,
John, and Asa Hutchinson includes spaces to fill in place and time of
performance. The original typed caption that came with the poster states,
"An original handbill, or poster, of the Hutchinson Family on which,
perhaps as an 'autograph' in humorous mood, Judson has penciled, 'The Court of
Heaven some (EVENING) in the Future', John has written, 'God Willing', and Asa
has concluded, 'Doubted'. This was one of the prized possessions of the Dearborn family of Milford. Dr. Dearborn was a grandson of Judson
Hutchinson." Another playbill
announces a Hutchinson Family concert “At Mercantile Hall, Wednesday Evening,
March 23d, 1859.” Performing are John W. and Fannie B. with Henry and Viola
Hutchinson. A list of songs and lyrics are included.
pieces of sheet music complete this collection of Hutchinson items. Two titles are hand bound
together: “I Cannot Sing the Old Songs,” and “Mrs. Lofty and I” (1858). “Mrs.
Lofty and I” was composed by J.J. Hutchinson. “The Snow Storm,” 1843, indicates
the Hutchinson Family as performers.
are cataloged and filed in the Iconographic files (MAN-PR). Playbills and
posters are cataloged and filed in Performance and the sheet music is filed in
the Sheet Music collection. All are searchable through the Center’s InMagic database. Original scrapbook pages and labels are
located in the Manuscript section of the mezzanine.
holdings contain other Hutchinson
family materials in the Performance, Rarebooks, and Sheet music categories of
the InMagic database.
Secondary sources are also available on the subject in the Center’s
reading room and in the Vertical File.