Georgetown Time Machine: Glee and Mandolin

This week for Georgetown Time Machine, GM is exploring once again a postcard found on Ebay.

This particular postcard shows a scene of Georgetown College as viewed from Observatory Hill. You can see how much more rural the western half of the campus was at the turn of the last century.

The card itself was sent on March 28, 1905. It is addressed to Miss Nellie T. Downes of Brooklyn, NY. care of Edward Fearon. (Downes married Fearon shortly thereafter).

Curiously the sender of the postcard (who’s only identified with the initials “CCD”) tells Downes “Our Glee and Mandolin Club Concert – April 4 – Wouldn’t you like to come and hear us. We’re good-if not bad.”

Mostly forgotten today, glee and mandolin clubs were all the rage in the pre-jazz era. There was an exhibition on music at Georgetown several years ago that described the craze as follows:

Before the widespread popularity of jazz in the 1920s, Georgetown students engaged with popular music through the Glee Club, Banjo Club, and Mandolin Club. The banjo and mandolin were experiencing a boom in popularity thanks to their increased incorporation into the arrangements of Tin Pan Alley songs. These groups presented formal concerts in Gaston Hall and even went on tour. The tickets shown here come from a combined club performance in Gaston Hall on February 5, 1900. The program page behind these items comes from a concert given by the clubs in 1915. This program reveals how these clubs interacted onstage and which tunes were popular with Georgetown students in the early 1900s

Here is a report in the Washington Times of the very concert promised by C.C.D.:

GM wonders whether Nellie made the show…


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s