The next place that I found Christine Miller was in a box.
Not long after reading Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music by Greg Milner, I embarked on a little musical recordings shopping trip through an area known as “Antique Alley” along Rte. 4 in Northwood, NH. The first store I stopped at was called Eagle Antiques. When I asked Chuck, the owner, if he had any Edison cylinders, he suggested I see Jeff at Fern Eldridge & Friends Antiques a little ways further up the road.
At Fern Eldridge & Friends, Jeff answered my request with the presentation of two, medium-size cardboard boxes each containing about 35 – 40 Edison cylinders. All of the cylinders in each box were standing on end with the label edges pointing up.
One of the first cylinders to catch my eye bore the name “Christine Miller.”
The recording on the cylinder – an Edison Blue Amberol Concert Record, #28166 – is of Christine Miller singing “Annie Laurie.” Miss Miller is accompanied on this recording by an orchestra. Edison Records released this cylinder in 1913.
“Annie Laurie” is an old Scottish ballad. Its lyrics were allegedly written by the poet William Douglas some time in the early 1700’s but not published until 1823. The poem was definitely set to music by Lady John Scott of Spottiswoode, Scotland and first published in 1835.
Thanks to the website of the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project, Department of Special Collections at the Donald C. Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, here is that recording!
(Click on the blue link below and wait for it…)
“Annie Laurie” by Christine Miller, Contralto Solo with Orchestra Accompaniment
If you would like to hear other performances by Christine Miller, the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project website (cylinders.library.ucsb.edu) has links to seventeen more Edison Records cylinder and disc recordings of Miss Miller made from 1912 to 1917. Among the selections in this collection are Christine Miller’s recordings of the songs “Abide With Me” and “The Old Folks At Home” as used in the September 17, 1915, Montclair, NJ, Tone Test.
And… The Library of Congress’ National Jukebox website (loc.gov/jukebox) has links to digitally preserved recordings of eight records by Christine Miller made for Victor Records from April to June of 1914.
Tomorrow, Part 3.
P.S.: If you would like to read more about the other treasures I found on my Antique Alley shopping trip, please visit the blog archives for September 2011 and scroll down to the blog post of September 2 called “78s & Cylinders.”