Chicago: 1893. Broadside, 11 ¾ x 5 ½ inches. Very Good. Item #List316
John Hutchison, patriarch and leader of the Hutchinson Family Band, was hired by the World’s Fair Committee to perform as one of the “Wonders of America.” This broadsheet, unrecorded, is a souvenir of his performance from the fair, in which he sang “Prophecy of Freedom,” a ballad with suffragist overtones that he had written in 1867. The Hutchinson Family singers had enjoyed a long and successful career at the point of the 1893 exhibition, beginning as one of the most successful acts of the 1840s.
Their support of abolition, women’s rights, temperance and workers’ rights had limited their following somewhat, and following the Civil War their appearances in large cities were generally limited to churches, temperance meetings, and women’s suffrage rallies. By 1893 John Hutchinson was at the tail end of his career - he would die fifteen years later - but was welcomed by attendants. William Lloyd Garrison would describe John Hutchinson’s singing as, “directly and purposely subservient to the freedom, welfare, happiness, and moral elevation of the people.”
The broadsheet introduces the song as, “ sung at his meetings, held, during the ‘Woman’s Congress Campaign’ through Kansas… dedicated to the ‘World’s Fair Congresses,’ and sung by him during that period when prominence was given to the ‘Fatherhood of God, and Brotherhood of Man,’ emphasizing the principle as a true method of restoring the unity of all good for the whole race of man.” The Hutchinson Family Band embodied the ideals of the Second Great Awakening, and this shows those ideals going strong at the dawn of the twentieth century. A well preserved example, in very good condition with some light creases and normal tanning. Not recorded in OCLC.