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    The Jubilee Singers. (1875). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.
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Prince Herman

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907
pg. 2

Packed houses greeted Prince Herman and Duke Berryman this week at Lea Avenue Christian Church, Patterson Chapel M.E. Church, Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, Abrahams Hall and St. Paul A.M.E. Church.

Next week they play at Zion Baptist Church on Brick Church Pike, Monday night, March 4.

Bethel A.M.E. Church, Tenth street between Division and Stephens, Tuesday night, March 5.

North Sixth Street Baptist Church, Wednesday night, March 6.

Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Thursday night, March 7, and on Friday night, March 8, they give their star performance at Meharry Auditorium.


Merchant Of Venice Cast Members

In follow-up to the story from the Nashville Globe on the cast members of the Merchant of Venice, I took a look at the Fisk Catalog from 1912 to find out more on these students and where they ended up. Those from the cast listed in the catalog include these from the Class of 1908:

  • Duke of Venice — Matthew Vergil Boutte, B.S., Ph. G., Pharmaceutical Department, University of Illinois, 1911.  Teacher of Chemistry, Meharry Medical College, 639 Wetmore St., Nashville.
  • Bassanio — William Arthur MacIntyre, B.A., Student, Harvard Law School; 40 Holyoke Street, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Salario – Holcombe Sinclair Croswait, B.A., Railroad Service, 402 Rondo Street, St. Paul, Minn.
  • Salarino – Franklin Benjamin Murphy, B.S., Teacher Phillips University, Tyler Texas
  • Gratiano – St. Elmo Brady, B.A., Teacher, Tuskegee Institute, Ala.
  • Lorenzo – James Gillespie Brown, B.A., Student, University of Wisconsin, 821 Milton Street, Madison, Wis.
  • Shylock – Charles Campbell, B.A., Student, Law Department, University of Michigan; 1017 E. Catherine St., C.C.,  Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Tubal – William Biddle Merrill, B.A., Railroad Services, 4510 Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, Ill.
  • Balthazaar – William Sylvester White, B.A., Ph. G, Pharmaceutical Department, University of Illinois, 1911, Clerk, Post Office, 644 Vincennes Avenue, Chicago, Ill.
  • Norissa – Lilian Emmette Cashin, B.A., 509 Madison St., Decatur, Ala.
  • Jessica – Gertrude Sadie Glenn, B.A., Teacher, Howard Normal School (A.M.A.), Box 101, Cuthbert, Ga.

On my visit to Fisk recently, I learned about St. Elmo Brady – one of the buildings on campus is co-named after him. He was the first African-American to earn a PhD in chemistry.   Then, from my previous work on James C. Napier’s tree, I’d already learned about Lillian Cashin, she was a sister of the wife of JC’s nephew.

Merchant Of Venice

As published in the Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907

The Merchant of Venice was presented at Fisk Memorial Chapel, by the Junior College Class last Friday, February 22.

The cast was as follows:
The Duke of Venice — M.V. Boutte
Antonio — James A. Myers
Bassanio — William A. Macintyre
Salario — Halcombe S. Crosthwait
Salarino — Benjamin F. Murphy
Gratiano — St. Elmo Brady
Lorenzo — James G. Browne
Shylock — Charles Campbell
Tubal — William B. Merrill
Lancelot Gobbo — Alfred G. King
Gobbo – Jack S. Binboy
Leonardo — Howard W. Warner
Balthazar — W. Sylvester White
Portia — Beatrice S. Flanders
Norissa — Lillian E. Cashin
Jessica — Gertrude L. Glenn

The chapel was filled with an attentive and appreciative audience. From the beginning to the end of the play the characters were stimulated by the attitude of their hearers. the personnel of the class, and the training given by Miss Green; the teacher of elocution, made anything but success impossible. Although some of the characters had few words to say, they were well said.

As friends to Antonio and Bassanio, Bardy as Gratiano, Murphy as Salarino, and Crosthwait as Solanio, sustained their characters well.

Boutte, as the Duke of Venice, was the impersonation of courtly grace. Brown, as Lorenzo, played the part of the successful lover admirably. As old Gobbio, Brayboy could scarely [sic] be surpassed.

While Miss Cashin, as Nerissa, charmed the audience with her dainty coyness. She showed herself a strategist of no mean degree. Miss Glenn, in the role of Jessica commanded the sympathy of all as she described her position in Shylock’s family, and their admiration for the way in which she got out of it.

The faithful Hebrew friend was well represented by Merrill, while White as Balthazar and Warner as Leonardo, were trustworthy helpers of Portin and Bassanio.

The character of Shylock is one that is usually held up as a model of avarice and cruelty, yet as one listened to Campbell’s outburst of pent up feeling in his first talk with Antonio and in his subsequent talk with Salanio and Salarino, he was compelled to see as the Jew saw, and feel as the Jew felt. The audience showed its appreciation of his efforts in the stillness which pervaded the house during his speeches, and the hearty applause which followed them.

Miss Flanders, as Portia, the lover of Poria, the judge, was thoroughly enjoyable. In the court scene, and where Bassanio made his choice of the caskets, her rendition of the two parts showed her fine interpretation of the different characters.

As the devoted friend or lover, McIntyre as Bassanio posed equally as well. Possessed of a deep, rich voice, knowing well how to use it, he was intently followed in his love passages and in his words of cheer and comfort to his friend Antonio.

The experience of Antonio with the Jew was well set forth by Myers. As the generous friend, the pleading debtor, or the unfortunate one resigned to his fate, he was able to represent each character in his own inimitable way.

The members of the class have worked long and faithfully, and success crowned their efforts. The proceeds of the entertainment will go to the library which Fisk hopes to have in the near future.

{related post — see what happened to the cast members]

“I Wonder” by Cecil Gant

Back in January, I posted about an R&B artist that lived in Nashville named Cecil Gant. After being contacted by someone who was researching him, I did some searching and provided some information about him to the person that inquired. During the course of my research, I learned that Cecil had a number one hit titled “I Wonder”. Today, someone anonymously provided a URL to the mp3 file of the song on the Internet Archive. I have just listened to it about 5 times – it’s a beautiful song! If you’re in the mood for some old school blues, check it out. Thanks to whomever provided the link!

I added an entry for him on FindAGrave.

Roosevelt and Prince Herman

Roosevelt and Prince Herman
Nashville Globe  – February 1, 1907
Pg. 3

President Roosevelt and family, with his cabinet and their wives will be admitted free to Prince Herman’s engagement at Fisk University, the night of Friday, Feb. 8th; others pay 20 cents each. Fisk students and children under 13 years, 10 cents.

On this occasion Prince Herman will positively turn a living woman to a rose and then change the rose to the woman.

It is feared that King Edward VII., of England, may not arrive in time for the entire reception, but seats will be reserved for him and his ministers.

Doors open at 7pm; entertainment begins at 7:45pm. Tickets on sale at One Cent Savings Bank, 411 Fourth avenue, North. Please secure tickets in advance.

Edward Baxter Perry at Fisk University

Edward Baxter Perry at Fisk University
Nashville Globe – January 25, 1907
Pg. 7

The students at Fisk University and citizens of Nashville had a rare treat in hearing the performance of Mr. Edward Baxter Perry, the famous blind musician, at Fisk Memorial Chapel Friday night, January 18. The program was interesting throughout and at no time was the audience left to itself. Besides being a master of the piano, Mr. Baxter is a word painter of great ability. His sketches of the numbers on program added considerably to the environment.

The program was as follows: [can’t read all the names on my copy] . A large audience greeted the performance.

Miss Brown at the Blind School

Miss Brown at the Blind School
Nashville Globe – January 25, 1907
Pg. 7

On Wednesday evening the students of the Tennessee School for the Blind were favored with a violin recital by Miss Hester O. Brown. A full attendance was present and together with some prominent visitors from South Nashville, the chapel where the musicale was held was well filled. Miss Brown rendered four selections which were interspersed with as many renditions by the students who always enjoy having visitors and people from the professional world come to see them.

Miss Hester O. Brown Returns to Nashville

Nashville Globe – January 18, 1907 (pg. 4)

Miss Hester O. Brown, the accomplished violinist of Cleveland, Ohio has returned to the city from a trip to several cities in Alabama. While away she visited the A. and M. College at Normal, Ala., of which the proficient Prof. Council is principal. She also gave recitals at Decatur and Huntsville.

After much persuasion, Miss Brown has consented to stop over here and favor the people of Nashville with two or three recitals. Her first appearance will be at the Spruce Street Baptist Church some time next week. It is a great treat to hear Miss Brown. Her selections are all classical and she renders them with grace and ease.

Globe Banquet – January 18, 1907

As published in the Nashville Globe

Globe’s Magnificent Banquet
Given in Commemoration of its First Anniversary, Friday night, Jan. 11.

Those present indulged in speech making – saying some good things in praise of the Globe’s first year of splendid work in the journalistic field.

The Globe Publishing Company, Messrs. Joseph O. Battle, president and editor; Charles H. Burrill, secretary; Henry A. Boyd, treasurer, and D. A. Hart, manger; gave a brilliant banquet in commemoration of the Globe’s first anniversary in the arena of American journalism, to a select number of friends and those who have been most intimate, in one capacity or another, associated with its first year’s career. The management spared no cost nor pains to make the occasion all that could be desired in the way of festal plenty and enjoyment. (Read the rest of this article here.)