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Rollin Howard (1840 - June 19, 1879) was an American minstrel performer, best known for his female blackface impersonations.

Rollin Howard
Rollin Howard wench.jpg
Bornc. 1840
DiedJune 19, 1879 (about age 39)
OccupationActor, Minstrel show performer

Howard was born as Ebenezer G.B. Holder in New York City around 1840, and appeared in minstrel productions from approximately 1860 to 1870. He appeared in other dramatic performances both before and after his minstrel period.[1] After the American Civil War, female impersonators became more common in minstrel shows, and Howard was considered one of the leading performers in such roles, along with Francis Leon and Eugene d'Amelie.[2]

Rollin Howard (in wench costume) and George Griffin

Among songs that Howard performed, he was credited with "arranging" on one of the first sheet music publications for Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me in 1869.[3] The song was extremely popular, and though the exact authorship is not clear, at times Howard has received some authorship credit.[4][5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Rice, Edward Le Roy. Monarchs of minstrelsy, from "Daddy" Rice to date, p. 127-28 (1911)
  2. ^ Ferris, Lesley. Crossing the stage: controversies on cross-dressing, p. 86 (1993)
  3. ^ Sanjek, Russell. American Popular Music and Its Business: From 1790 to 1909, p. 371-72 (1988)
  4. ^ (1 August 1902). Stories of Famous Songs, Houston Daily Post ("Shoo Fly Don't Bodder Me which was once credited to T. Brigham Bishop the old minstrel, was written according to White's diary by Rollin Howard ....")
  5. ^ (30 August 1872). Personal, Detroit Free Press ("Rollin Howard, author of the famous song "Shoo Fly," has gone to Europe.")