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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 201-225 of 574 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-16068 10-in. 6/4/1915 Uncle Josh in a barber shop Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-16069 10-in. 6/4/1915 The village gossips Byron G. Harlan ; Cal Stewart Comic dialogue, with piano speaker  
Victor B-16070 10-in. 6/4/1915 Show troupe at Pun'kin Centre Byron G. Harlan ; Cal Stewart Comic dialogue, with piano speaker  
Victor B-16102 10-in. 6/14/1915 War talk at Pun'kin Centre Cal Stewart Monologue, with orchestra speaker  
Victor B-16103 10-in. 6/14/1915 Pun'kin Centre town topics Cal Stewart Monologue, with orchestra speaker  
Victor B-22947 10-in. 6/27/1919 Uncle Josh and Aunt Nancy put up the kitchen stove Ada Jones ; Cal Stewart Comic dialogue speaker, author  
Victor B-23005 10-in. 6/13/1919 Uncle Josh and the honey bees Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-23006 10-in. 6/13/1919 Uncle Josh in the cafeteria Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-23007 10-in. 6/13/1919 Opera at Pun'kin Centre Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-23064 10-in. 7/14/1919 The Chautauqua at Pun'kin Center Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-23065 10-in. 7/14/1919 Uncle Josh takes the census Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-23069 10-in. 7/14/1919 Train time at Pun'kin Centre Cal Stewart Male vocal solo, with male vocal quartet speaker, author  
Victor B-23099 10-in. 7/30/1919 Uncle Josh and the soldier Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-23118 10-in. 8/11/1919 Uncle Josh buys a Victrola Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-23135 10-in. 9/5/1919 Uncle Josh's birthday American Quartet ; Ada Jones ; Cal Stewart Descriptive scene, with female vocalist, male vocal quartet, and orchestra speaker, author  
Victor B-23153 10-in. 9/12/1919 Ragtime at Pun'kin Centre Cal Stewart Monologue, unaccompanied speaker, author  
Victor BVE-47229 10-in. 10/27/1928 My name is ticklish Reuben Smyth County Ramblers Vocal and instrumental quartet composer  
Columbia 22 7-in. ca. 1901 I'm old but I'm awfully tough Cal Stewart Male vocal solo, with piano speaker, composer, lyricist  
Columbia 22 10-in. approximately 1901 I'm old, but I'm awfully tough Cal Stewart Male vocal solo, with piano speaker, composer, lyricist  
Columbia 68 7-in. ca. 1901 Uncle Josh in a department store Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Columbia 68 10-in. ca. 1901 Uncle Josh in a department store Cal Stewart Comic monologue speaker, author  
Columbia 70 7-in. ca. 1901 Uncle Josh's arrival in New York Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Columbia 70 10-in. ca. 1901 Uncle Josh's arrival in New York Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Columbia 71 7-in. ca. 1901 Uncle Josh at a baseball game Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
Columbia 71 10-in. ca. 1901-Sept. 1902 Uncle Josh at a baseball game Cal Stewart Monologue speaker, author  
(Results 201-225 of 574 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Stewart, Cal," accessed April 19, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103525.

Stewart, Cal. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103525.

"Stewart, Cal." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 19 April 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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