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John Minear Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America? (170* d) RE: Origins: Child Ballads in 18th c. America? 28 Mar 12

On my count, Coffin (and deV Renwick) + (Roud thru '86) have provided documentation for the "discovery" of 118 "Child Ballads" in America. These are the ones for which there is more or less clear evidence that they were being sung from and in the "oral tradition." Out of these 118 examples, there were only ten that I could not find any documentation for in the 18th century in England or Scotland from Child's information. Here are those ten:

{3} The False Knight on the Road

{27} The Whummil Bore

{43} The Broomfield Hill

{78} The Unquiet Grave

{85} Lady Alice

{218]} The False Lover Won Back

{228} Glasgow Peggie

{278} The Farmer's Curst Wife

{281} The Keach I the Creel

{295} The Brown Girl

It could well be that I missed finding the information on any of these. Or it could be that Child missed finding information on them for the 18th century. Or it might be that the "collectors" back then missed finding these ballads in the 18th century. Or it also might be that they were not in the oral tradition at that point. But obviously they could have been. However, for now, I am focusing on documented examples.

I guess I was surprised that "The Farmer's Curst Wife" (#278) didn't show up, since it is so popular over here, and seems to be well developed. The "False Knight", "Broomfield Hill", "Unquiet Grave", and "Brown Girl" also seem to be fairly popular in America. But all of these could have come later.

I would also say that I was surprised by the high percentage - 108 out of 118 - of examples that have been found here that can be documented to the 18th century in England/Scotland. That is more than I would have expected, but then I really was in the dark about what was happening with these ballads in 18th century England/Scotland.

Once again, I would invite everybody to check my information and to let me know if you can find documentation for any of the ten ballads listed above from 18th century England/Scotland (or for America!). And I am certainly open to corrections on my reading of Coffin's list as well.

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