[Bellowing Baby] [Mock Broadside] [Connecticut]
For One Night Only! Unparalleled Attraction!! Grand Oratorio, By the Choir of the Episcopal Church: The Services of The Bellowing Baby Have been Secured for the Occasion...[caption title].
[Norwich, Conn.]: Trench, Printer, 49 Water-Street. [Ca. 1841-44?]. First Edition.
Broadside, approx. 18 x 12 inches. Old folds, light foxing and soiling; a couple of small flaws to the paper stock, not touching the text, else fine. Archivally encapuslated to protect condition, easily removed from protective case (shown in image).
A fascinating example of the genre of mock broadside playbills, evidently aiming now-obscure satirical barbs against pseudonymous local figures - Spectacles, Mrs. Ringlets, Baron Wal-stein etc. and including, of course, the titular Bellowing Baby and its performance of "I have Fruits, I have Flowers" ("No danger need be apprehended from the unearthly sounds tha may be heard during the performance of this piece").
The longtime Rector of the Episcopal church in Norwich, Seth Paddock, retired in 1844 and was replaced by William Morgan. The present lampoon may have been leveled against the aging incumbent, or perhaps against a village newcomer. In addition, the mention of gin is perhaps notable in part because per Caulkins' History of Norwich, the town had voted for several years beginning in 1841 not to license the sale of any liquor in Norwich. Despite the mock-protestation of fastidiousness, an obscurely sexual theme runs through much of this burlesque, with Mrs. Ringlets to perform "Cuckhold's Favorite, (by particular desire)," or Spectacles to sing "Kiss me dear Mrs. Elliott, (First time in America)" - these two both moderatlely subtle in comparison to the additional printed note at the foot of the notice, "N.B. - The services of two athletic young men have been secured to assist in the inflation of the organ and prevent any delay in performance." Trench is noted in local history as one of the early principals behind the Aurora newspaper, and his name appears in several imprints from Norwich between 1841 and 1844.