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Walter Kittredge

Walter Kittredge (October 6, 1834 – July 8, 1905), was a famous musician during the American Civil War.

Born in Merrimack, New Hampshire, the tenth of eleven children, Kittredge was a talented self-taught musician who played the seraphine, the melodeon (types of reed-like organs), and the violin. Kittredge toured solo and with the Hutchinson Family, a musical troupe. Over his career he wrote over 500 songs, many of them dealing with themes of the American Civil War.

His most famous song, Tenting on the Old Camp Ground, also known as "Tenting Tonight", was sung by both sides of the war and is known throughout the world. Kittredge had offered the song to a Boston publisher for $15 and been rejected; but when it was published several months later, ten thousand copies were sold within the first three months. Kittredge had been drafted into the American Civil War in 1863, but prior to his physical, had experienced a severe attack of rheumatic fever, and been rejected by the draft board. Unable to sleep that night, he was inspired to compose his most famous song. Kittredge stated that "I actually saw the whole scene, as described in the song."

Kittredge was also a noted supporter of abolitionism and the Temperance movement.

He married Annie E. Fairfield in 1861, and in 1905, he died in his birthplace, a house on Bedford Road, Merrimack, NH.

Other songs written by him include:

  • No Night
  • Golden Streets
  • Scatter the Flowers Over the Blue and Gray
  • Sing the Old War Songs Again

Birth and Death Data: Born October 8th, 1834, Died July 8th, 1905

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1896 - 1927

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, lyricist

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Berliner 960 7-in. 5/18/1896 Tenting on the old camp ground Artists vary Male vocal solo lyricist, composer  
Berliner 4264 7-in. Apr. 1898 Tenting on the old campground Apollo Quartette Male vocal quartet lyricist, composer  
Berliner 0419 7-in. 8/7/1899 Tenting tonight Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet lyricist, composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]119 7-in. 7/11/1900 Tenting on the old camp ground Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]119 10-in. 5/13/1902 Tenting on the old campground Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet composer, lyricist  
Victor A-1446 7-in. 6/8/1904 Tenting on the old camp ground Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet, with bugle calls, unaccompanied composer  
Victor B-1446 10-in. 6/8/1904 Tenting on the old camp ground Haydn Quartet Male vocal quartet, with bugle calls, unaccompanied composer  
Victor B-15416 10-in. 11/23/1914 Tenting on the old camp ground John McCormack Tenor vocal solo, with male vocal chorus, celeste, and orchestra lyricist, composer  
Columbia 514 7-in. ca. Jan.-Sept. 1902 Tenting tonight on the old camp ground Artists vary Male vocal quartet, with bugle composer, lyricist  
Columbia 514 10-in. ca. Jan.-Sept. 1902 Tenting to-night on the old camp ground Artists vary Male vocal quartet, with bugle composer, lyricist  
Columbia 515[a] 10-in. ca. Jan.-Sept. 1902 Tenting tonight on the old camp ground Climax Quartette Male vocal quartet composer, lyricist  
Columbia 45794 10-in. 6/19/1915 Tenting tonight on the old camp ground Columbia Stellar Quartette Male vocal quartet, with bugle composer, lyricist  
Columbia 37416 12-in. ca. 1915 Tenting tonight on the old camp ground Olive Fremstad Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra composer, lyricist  
Columbia 48779 12-in. 4/3/1916 Tenting on the old camp ground Lucile Lawrence Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer, lyricist  
Columbia W143866 10-in. 4/2/1927 Tenting tonight on the old camp ground Mount Vernon Quartet Mixed vocal quartet, with organ composer, lyricist  
OKeh S-70849 10-in. Sept. 1922 Tenting on the old campground Shannon Four Male vocal quartet, with orchestra composer, lyricist  
Edison 3097 10-in. June 1914 We're tenting to-night Male vocal quartet (unidentified; Edison Records) Male vocal quartet lyricist, composer  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Kittredge, Walter," accessed January 16, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107316.

Kittredge, Walter. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 16, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107316.

"Kittredge, Walter." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 16 January 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107316

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