Christy, Edwin Pearce

Christy, Edwin Pearce

(1815–1862) singer; born in Philadelphia. Founder of the Christy Minstrels show, he started singing with two assistants in public houses in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1842. He enlarged his troop of black-faced minstrels, performing in New York and London. He is credited with creating many of the features of the classic minstrel show—the white-faced Mr. Interlocutor, the end men, Tambo and Bones, and the semi-circle of blackface musicians. He commissioned Stephen Foster to compose songs for the group, which was still popular when he retired in 1855. Subject to depression, he committed suicide during the Civil War.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.