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Title Program: The Marvelous Musical Prodigy, Blind Tom [pseud. Thomas Bethune or Wiggins] The Negro Boy Pianist... Published in Baltimore, ca. 1876-1877.
Object Name Program
Catalog Number 2007.003.0050
Collection Blind Tom/Thomas Wiggins Collection
Credit Museum Purchase.
Scope & Content Program: The Marvelous Musical Prodigy, Blind Tom [pseud. Thomas Wiggins] The Negro Boy Pianist, Whose Recent Peformances at the Great St. James and Egyptian Halls, London, and Salle Hertz, Paris, Have Created Such a Profound Sensation. Anecdotes. Songs. Sketches of the Life, Testimonials of Musicians and Savans, and Opinions of the American and English Press, of "Blind Tom." Baltimore: The Sun Book and Job Printing Establishment, no date, circa 1876-1877. Pamphlet, 5-5/8" wide x 9" high. pp. [1]-30, [2] plus wrappers; note the wrapper and text pages are the same cream wove paper (this work seen other printings sometimes appears with colored wrapper.)

Blind Tom, African-American pianist and composer, was born as Thomas Wiggins, but he was also known as Thomas Greene Bethune, using the name of the family that managed him.

This souvenir program is from an undated performance and was probably a general one for a series of performances. The Baltimore printing appears to be derived from an 1867 printing as the cited testimonials and reviews that are dated have no date later than 1867. A double-page advertisement (page [34] & inside back cover) by Steinway & Sons citing an award received at the 1876 International Exhibition (U.S. Centennial) for its pianos helps to dates this issue from late 1876 or 1877, possibly later.

Front cover with a vignette portrait of Blind Tom along with rearranged text as found on the title page.
pg [1]: title
pp. [3]-9: Blind Tom: The Great Negro Pianist. This is a biographical essay and appreciation.
pp. 9-12: Testimonials.
pp. 13-[20] Vocal Programme of This Evening Will Be Selected From the Following Popular Songs. There are 11 songs with their lyrics; each has their source from poetry or a lyricist plus the composer except for the last work on pg [20] which is simply titled "Blind Tom."
pp. [21]-30: Opinions of the English and American Press.
pg [31] all text on page: Programme. Special Notice: BLIND TOM can only play what he hears or improvises. Until about two years ago a list of pieces that Tom had heard was kept, numbering nearly 2,000. Unfortunately this catalogue was lost. Since that period he has heard perhaps 3,000 pieces, and his repertoire now numbers upwards of 5,000, entirely at his memory's disposal. From this extensive store Tom will introduce selection from BEETHOVEN, BACH, MENDELSSOHN, CHOPIN, THALBERG, GOTTSCHALK, and others; and also give his marvelous and amusing Imitations, Recitations, Anecdotes &c.. &c.
pp. [32]+ inside back cover: Steinway & Sons, Piano ad as mentioned above.
Back cover is blank.
People Wiggins, Thomas
Bethune, Thomas Greene
Date 1876-1877
Year Range from 1876
Year Range to 1877
Caption front cover
Imagefile 055\20070030050.TIF
Classification Music
Cultural Activities