Charley Case

Charley Case (August 27, 1858 – Nov. 26, 1916) was a blackface comedian in America who wrote and sang vaudeville parodies of the 19th century ballad style. He influenced F. Gregory Hartswick, who wrote similar songs.

Case is thought to have been mulatto. Little official documentation of his personal history is available, but there are reports that he was mixed and sought to "pass". It was also not uncommon for African-Americans to perform in black-face as a loophole into the entertainment business in those days.

In 1910, after recovering from a nervous breakdown, he went on tour in England, where for the first time he performed the song "There was once a poor young man who left his country home." The 1933 film, The Fatal Glass of Beer is based on this song, and comedian W.C. Fields performs it at the onset. Critic Harold Bloom remarked several years later that Fields', "croaking his ghastly dirge to the uncertain sound of his dulcimer, is a parodic version of the Bard of Sensibility, a figure out of the primitivism of Thomas Gray or William Blake."

Birth and Death Data: Born August 27th, 1858, Died January 1st, 1916 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1909

Roles Represented in DAHR: speaker, author


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-6908 10-in. 3/18/1909 Experiences in the show business Charley Case Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-6909 10-in. 3/18/1909 How Mother made the soup Charley Case Monologue speaker, author  
Victor B-6910 10-in. 3/18/1909 Father as a scientist Charley Case Monologue speaker, author  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Case, Charley," accessed September 20, 2021,

Case, Charley. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 20, 2021, from

"Case, Charley." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 20 September 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier



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