“Mary Blane” sheet music, Firth & Hall Publishers, New York, 1847
Front cover lithograph, 10 1/2” x 14”, Collection of Old Hat Records
The Ethiopian Serenaders were a popular blackface minstrel troupe of the 1840s who performed for at least two U.S. presidents, Tyler and Polk. They regarded their brand of minstrelsy more “refined” than others, largely because they parodied great works of the European masters, which required of their audience some acquaintance with the originals; and they dressed in subdued formal apparel. The Serenaders carried their act to England in 1846, where they met with great success, but their popularity waned upon their return, edged out by the more ribald humor of such troupes as the Christy Minstrels.