AMERICAN MURDER BALLADS And Their St by Olive Woolley Burt


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Olive Woolley Burt, author of children's books, newspaper editor and a descendant of Utah pioneer stock, grew up in an atmosphere rich in American tradition. In this collection she presents a lively, if somewhat grim, repertoire of songs which center about unnatural deaths. Songs of seduction and violence- the murder of Grace Brown (on which Dreiser's American Tragedy is based); of madness,- Lizzy Borden; of racial turmoils,- the Frank case; of kidnapping,- the Lindbergh case; of anti-labor crimes,- Joe Hill; of Maffia vengeance,- the shooting of David Hennesy are packed like so many tombstones in this field of unabashed destruction. In many instances alternate versions of the ballads are given as well as the melodies to which, traditionally, they are sung. Mrs. Burt's short synopses of the incidents on which these ballads are based add an informative and entertaining dimension to this galaxy of horrors which should be of interest, not only to the student of Americans, but to any reader with a taste for the chilling, the tragic and the grotesque.

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 1958
Publisher: Oxford University Press