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:
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
|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|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Kittredge, Walter," accessed January 23, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107316.
Kittredge, Walter. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 23, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/107316.
"Kittredge, Walter." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 23 January 2021.
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