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Cal Stewart

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 "Pumpkin Center" or "Punkin Center", leading to a number of small towns across the U.S. adopting those names.

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 Rossini Vrionides 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 December 7, 1919

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1897 - 1928

Roles Represented in DAHR: speaker, author, vocalist, composer, lyricist

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 551-574 of 574 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Zonophone [Zo cat V9189] 7-in. Before Nov. 1900 [Uncle] Josh's trip to Coney Island Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9190] 7-in. Before Nov. 1900 [Uncle] Josh at Delmonico's Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9191] 7-in. Before Nov. 1900 [Uncle] Josh at a circus Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9192] 7-in. Before Nov. 1900 [Uncle] Josh at the stock exchange Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9193] 7-in. Before Nov. 1900 [Uncle] Josh's arrival in New York Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9194] 7-in. ca. 1900-1901 [Uncle] Josh in a department store Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9195] 7-in. Before Oct. 1900 [Uncle] Josh's invitation to his farm Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9196] 7-in. Before Oct. 1900 [Uncle] Josh's troubles in a hotel Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9197] 7-in. Before Oct. 1900 [Uncle] Josh in a street car Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9896] 7-in. Before May 1901 Uncle Josh in a Chinese laundry Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9896] 9-in. Before May 1901 Uncle Josh in a Chinese laundry Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9897] 7-in. Before May 1901 Jim Lawson's horse trade Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Zonophone [Zo cat V9897] 9-in. Before May 1901 Jim Lawson's horse trade Cal Stewart Monologue speaker  
Leeds & Catlin 8636 10-in. 1906 Uncle Josh and the insurance company Andrew Keefe Comic monologue author  
Leeds & Catlin 8649 10-in. approximately summer 1907 Uncle Josh at the bug house Cal Stewart Comic monologue speaker  
Leeds & Catlin 8939 10-in. 1906 Uncle Josh and the insurance company Cal Stewart Comic monologue author, speaker  
Leeds & Catlin 9014 10-in. approximately summer 1907 Uncle Josh and the labor unions Cal Stewart Comic monologue speaker  
Leeds & Catlin 9015 10-in. approximately summer 1907 Ground Hog Day at Pumpkin Center Cal Stewart Comic monologue speaker  
Leeds & Catlin 9016 10-in. approximately summer 1907 Uncle Josh's second visit to New York Cal Stewart Comic monologue speaker  
Leeds & Catlin 9611 10-in. between late 1908 and early 1909 Uncle Josh and the Billiken Cal Stewart Comic monologue speaker, author  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 210-A] 10-in. between late 1908 and early 1909 Uncle Josh and the sailor Cal Stewart Comic monologue speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 214-A] 10-in. between late 1908 and early 1909 The wedding of Uncle Josh and Aunt Nancy Cal Stewart Comic monologue, with vocal quartet speaker, author  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 215-A] 10-in. between late 1908 and early 1909 Evening time at Pum'kin Center Cal Stewart Comic monologue, with vocal quartet speaker  
Leeds & Catlin [L & C cat 216-A] 10-in. between late 1908 and early 1909 Possum supper at a darktown church Cal Stewart Comic monologue, with vocal quartet speaker, author  
(Results 551-574 of 574 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Stewart, Cal," accessed April 20, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103525.

Stewart, Cal. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103525.

"Stewart, Cal." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 20 April 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103525

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