Cal Stewart (b. 1856 Charlotte County, Virginia, d. December 7, 1919) was an American comedian and humorist who pioneered in vaudeville and early sound recordings. He is best remembered for his comic monologues in which he played "Uncle Josh" Weathersby, a resident of a mythical New England farming town called "Punkin Center."
Born in Charlotte County, Virginia in 1856, Stewart spent his early life working in circuses, medicine shows and vaudeville to great acclaim as "Uncle Josh Weathersby from Way Down East". It was on the road that he befriended Mark Twain and later Will Rogers, two men who shared similar wit in comedy.
Around 1897, Thomas Edison's studios hired him to cut several cylinder recordings of his famous speeches and songs. They were well received by the public, and launched an entire series of recordings based on the Uncle Josh character. Stewart's trademark on these recordings is the easily recognizable laugh that precedes his speeches.
Best-selling recordings included "Uncle Josh’s Arrival in New York" (1898), "I'm Old But I'm Awfully Tough (Laughing Song)" (1898), "Jim Lawson's Horse Trade With Deacon Witherspoon" (1901), "Uncle Josh's Huskin' Bee Dance" (1901), and "Uncle Josh Buys an Automobile" (1903). He wrote the song "Ticklish Reuben" in 1900.
Stewart continued recording on Edison, Columbia, Victor, and independent labels up until his death on December 7, 1919. He also wrote two books based on his monologues and performed in theaters across America with his wife and her brother and sister.
Stewart is represented on the 2007 compilation Actionable Offenses: Indecent Phonograph Recordings from the 1890s.
Birth and Death Data: Born 1856 (Charlotte County), Died 1919
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1897 - 1928
Roles Represented in DAHR: speaker, author, vocalist, composer, lyricist
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 574 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Berliner||690||7-in.||7/9/1897||A talk by happy Cal Stewart, the Yankee comedian||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||1910||7-in.||10/17/1898||Laughing song||Cal Stewart||Male vocal solo||vocalist|
|Berliner||6000||7-in.||Aug. 1898||A talk by the Yankee comedian, no. 1||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||6001||7-in.||Aug. 1898||A talk by the Yankee comedian, no. 2||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||6002||7-in.||Aug. 1898||A talk, no. 3||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||6005||7-in.||10/17/1898||Uncle Josh on the Spanish question||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker, author|
|Berliner||6006||7-in.||Before Nov. 1898||Uncle Josh Wethersbee at Delmonico’s||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||6007||7-in.||6/11/1898||Uncle Josh’s Weathersby in a department store||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||6016||7-in.||10/17/1898||Uncle Josh’s trip to New York||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||038||7-in.||3/29/1899||Uncle Josh on a street car||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker, author|
|Berliner||039||7-in.||3/30/1899||Uncle Josh at the museum||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||041||7-in.||3/30/1899||Uncle Josh's troubles in a hotel||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker, author|
|Berliner||042||7-in.||3/29/1899||Uncle Josh in on a 5th Ave bus||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||043||7-in.||3/30/1899||Uncle Josh at Delmonico's||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker, author|
|Berliner||044||7-in.||3/29/1899||Uncle Josh in a department store||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||045||7-in.||3/30/1899||Uncle Josh on a bicycle||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||046||7-in.||3/30/1899||Laughing song||Cal Stewart||Male vocal solo||vocalist|
|Berliner||047||7-in.||3/29/1899||Uncle Josh's arrival in NY||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||048||7-in.||3/29/1899||Unde Josh at Coney Island||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Berliner||050||7-in.||3/30/1899||Uncle Josh at the stock exchange||Cal Stewart||Comic monologue||speaker|
|Victor||[Pre-matrix A-]659||7-in.||2/8/1901||I'm old, but I'm awfully tough||Cal Stewart||Male vocal solo||vocalist, composer, lyricist|
|Victor||[Pre-matrix B-]659||10-in.||7/15/1902||I'm old, but I'm awfully tough||Cal Stewart||Male vocal solo||vocalist, composer, lyricist|
|Victor||[Pre-matrix A-]660||7-in.||2/8/1901||Uncle Josh Weathersby in a Chinese laundry||Cal Stewart||Monologue||speaker, author|
|Victor||[Pre-matrix B-]660||10-in.||7/14/1902||Uncle Josh Weathersby in a Chinese laundry||Cal Stewart||Monologue||speaker, author|
|Victor||[Pre-matrix C-]660||12-in.||7/21/1902||Uncle Josh Weathersby in a Chinese laundry||Cal Stewart||Monologue||speaker, author|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Stewart, Cal," accessed January 26, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103525.
Stewart, Cal. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103525.
"Stewart, Cal." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 26 January 2021.
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