Frank Dumont (January 25, 1848 – March 17, 1919) was an American minstrel show performer and manager.[1][2][3]

Frank Dumont
BornJanuary 25, 1848
DiedMarch 17, 1919 (1919-03-18) (aged 71)
Occupation(s)Minstrel show performer and manager

Life edit

Dumont was born in Utica, New York, on January 25, 1848. He started performing in minstrel shows as early as 1862, and worked with a number of groups, including Duprez & Benedict's Minstrels from about 1869 to 1881. He eventually founded "Dumont's Minstrels", around 1895/96, after purchasing the Eleventh Street Opera House in Philadelphia. He authored many sketches and songs for the genre. One afterpiece he wrote was later expanded into a successful 1884 play, A Parlor Match.

After the Opera House closed circa 1909, Dumont acquired Dime Museum at Ninth and Arch Streets and renamed it "Dumont's Theatre".[4] He died in the box office of the theatre on March 17, 1919, during the opening number of that afternoon's matinee show.[3][5][6] He is interred at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Dumont's 1899 work "The Witmark amateur minstrel guide and burnt cork encyclopedia" is a valuable resource on the history of American minstrelsy.

Dumont, from The Witmark amateur minstrel guide and burnt cork encyclopedia (1899)

Dumont wrote in 1915 that he had been the first to perform two classic 19th century standards, "Silver Threads Among the Gold", and "When You and I Were Young, Maggie".[7]

Pat Chappelle commissioned Dumont in 1900 to write A Rabbit's Foot, a comedy-based show that became a hit and led to the creation of Chappelle's "Rabbit's Foot (Comedy) Company."[8] Chappelle was the first black owner of a vaudeville company with an all-black cast, and utilized upscale performers that helped him dominate the southwest and southeastern areas of the U.S. and also traveled to New Jersey, New York, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.[9][10]

References edit

  1. ^ Rice, Edward Le Roy. Monarchs of minstrelsy, from "Daddy" Rice to date, p. 198 (1911)
  2. ^ Finding Aid: Collection 3054 - Frank Dumont (1848-1919) - Minstrelsy Scrapbook, by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (2004)
  3. ^ a b (17 March 1919). Frank Dumont, Noted Minstrel, Dies At Theatre, Evening Public Ledger
  4. ^ Frank Dumont, Northern Illinois University Libraries -- House of Beadle & Adams Online -- The Authors and Their Novels, Retrieved November 3, 2011
  5. ^ (26 May 1939) Mrs. Frank Dumont (obituary), The New York Times
  6. ^ (26 February 1929). Noted Shrine of Minstrelsy Ends Career, Providence News (noting fire that burned down Dumont's Theatre, 1929)
  7. ^ Dumont, Frank (27 March 1915). The Younger Generation in Minstrelsy and Reminiscences of the Past, New York Clipper ("Dumont was the first to sing "Silver Threads Among the Gold," for whom it was written by H. P. Danks. He also first introduced "When You and I Were Young, Maggie" as the Duprez & Benedict’s Minstrels programs, dated, will show and the still living members of that celebrated troupe remember well.")
  8. ^ "Rabbit's Foot Comedy Company; T. G. Williams; William Mosely; Ross Jackson; Sam Catlett; Mr. Chappelle" News/Opinion, The Freeman page 6. October 7, 1905. Indianapolis, Indiana
  9. ^ "The Stage." News/Opinion (Lakeview, NJ opening), The Freeman, page 5. March 9, 1900. Indianapolis, Indiana
  10. ^ Lynn Abbott, Doug Seroff, Ragged But Right: Black Traveling Shows, Coon Songs, and the Dark Pathway to Blues and Jazz, Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2009, pp.248-289

External links edit