“The Old Gum Tree” Sheet Music

Description (Brief)
This sheet music is for the song “The Old Gum Tree.” The cover notes that the song was “sung with rapturous applause by the Ethiopian Serenaders,” and “composed for the Piano Forte by R.O. Wilson.” The song was composed in 1848, and was part of the culture of “coon songs” that became popular entertainment during the period. “Ethiopian” singers and performers were what blackface performers often called themselves, traveling in troupes and performing various song and dance numbers in often crass and racist stereotypes.
Currently not on view
Object Name
sheet music
Object Type
Sheet Music
sheet music
date made
Wilson, R. O.
Ethiopian Serenaders
F. D. Benteen
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 14 1/4 in x 10 1/2 in; 36.195 cm x 26.67 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Music & Musical Instruments
Sheet Music
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
Sheet Music
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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