1896 Private Christmas Programme

Performance by The Berliner Gramophone

By Doug Boilesen 2023

An 1896 Berliner Gramophone Christmas ad in Munsey's Magazine featured a group in a private parlor listening to a home entertainment "Programme."

The 'playlist' was included as part of the ad and it's one of the earliest phonograph "playlists" on record.


Munsey's Magazine, December, 1896 (PM-0910)


The Outlook, November 28, 1896 (back cover) - Note: Earliest known version of this ad was published in The Christian Work, November 19, 1896 p. 822. (Courtesy Allen Koenigsberg).



1. LISTEN: PIANO SOLO - Princess Bonnie Waltzes by Fred W. Gaisberg, Berliner's Gramophone 7" Record No. 253 Z, Recorded February 22, 1896 (Courtesy David Giovannoni, i78s.org).

Princess Bonnie Waltzes, Berliner No. 253 Z (David Giovannoni Collection)


2. LISTEN: SONG - Tenor Solo - Tramp, Tramp, Tramp by Geo. J. Gaskin, Berliner 7" Record No. 157 Z, Recorded May 18, 1896 (David Giovannoni Collection, i78s.org).

3. BANJO SOLO by Titus March - (Not Available)

4. LISTEN: SONG - Baritone Solo - Star Light, Star Bright by J. W. Myers, Berliner 7" Record No. 953 Y, Recorded April 18, 1896 (David Giovannoni Collection).

Star Light Star Bright, Berliner No. 953 Y (David Giovannoni Collection)


"Star Light, Star Bright, Waltz Song," Libretto by Harry B. Smith. Music by Victor Herbert. Publisher Edward Schuberth & Co., New York, 1895 (Source Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection, Johns Hopkins)


5. LISTEN: RECITATION, Imitation of a Street Fakir by Geo. Graham, Berliner 7" Record No. 638 Y, Recorded May 23, 1896 (David Giovannoni Collection).

6. MALE QUARTETTE - Medley, Mary Ann - Not Available

7. SONG -- Plantation Shout, Bye, Bye, Bye, Ma Honey by Billy Golden, Berliner 7" Record No. 727, Recorded November 4, 1895 - Not Available.

8. CORNET DUET -- Short and Sweet - Not Available.

9. SONG -- La Marseillaise by Signor Giannini, Berliner 7" Record No. 901, Recorded May 4, 1896 - Not Available.



10. SONG -- Banjo Solo - Medley of Jigs and Reels - Not Available.

11. SONG -- Tenor Solo - Down in Poverty Row by Geo. J. Gaskin - Not Available.

12. MALE QUARTETTE - Blind Tom (Negro Shout) Sung by The Brilliant Quartet - Berliner 7" Record No. 0647 nt (This record marked April 24, 1899) - Audio Not Yet Available.

Blind Tom, Berliner No. 0647 nt (David Giovannoni Collection)


13. LISTEN: RECITATION - Departure - Poem by Eugene Field read by George Graham - Berliner 7" Record No. 646 Z, June 17, 1896.

(Note: Eugene Field also wrote the words for the 1889 sheet music "Little Boy Blue" which was later recorded (LISTEN) on a Zonophone record (sung by Ethel S. Smith, DAHR "before October 1911), and not part of this 1896 programme.


"Departure" by Eugene Field read by George Graham, Berliner No. 0647 nt (David Giovannoni Collection)


Well, Bill, shake hands and say goodbye

'Afore you go away.

We hate to see you leaving--

We'd much rather have you stay.

Mother and me is gettin' old--

She can't be with you long.

She's been failing for some time now

And will never be as strong as she was

'Afore the ague laid her up so long in bed,

And more than likely when you get back

You'll find you mother dead.

Her cold lips were quivering

When you went to say goodbye,

And tears splashed on her pillow

When she asked you if you'd try

And be a good boy for her sake,

Bill, when you get far away.

We hate to see you leaving--

We'd much rather have you stay.

Well, Bill, your train's a-comin!

Here's some stuff the children sent--

Driftwood more than likely.

And me and mother went

And had our pictures taken so as to give you one

To remember us by in after years

When we'll be dead and gone,

And here's a little Bible mother sent to give to you.

We didn't have much money

But I reckon it will do as well as if we wasn't poor

And had more change to spare.

So take, Bill, with mother's love and try to keep it

Where it'll always be the handiest

When you get far away.

We hate to see you go, Bill.

We'd much rather have you stay.

(Train sounds of engine departing)


WATCH video created by Tim Gracyk which includes all the words of poem as they are spoken on the record.


Eugene Field (1850 - 1895) - Poet, newspaper writer, and humorist whose poetry for and about children is still widely read today. (Courtesy Denver Public Library)


14. DRUM AND FIFE (Descriptive) The Spirit of '76, Berliner 7" Record No. 705 Y, Recorded December 23, 1897 - Audio Not Yet Available on i78s.org.

15. LISTEN SONG: Baritone Solo, I Want Yer, Ma Honey by Dan W. Quinn, Berliner 7" Record No. 190 Y, Recorded February 21, 1896 (David Giovannoni Collection).


"I Want Yer My Honey," Berliner No. 190 Y (David Giovannoni Collection)


"I Want Yer Ma Honey," Words and Music by Fay Templeton. Publisher T.B. Harms & Co., New York, 1895 (The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection, Johns Hopkins).


16. LISTEN: RECITATION, Side Show Orator by Geo. Graham & Band, Berliner 7" Record No. 625 W, Recorded November 30, 1896 (David Giovannoni Collection)

Side Show Orator by Geo. Graham & Band, Berliner 7" Record No. 625 W (David Giovannoni Collection)


17. LISTEN: SONG - M. Farkoa's Great Success, French Laughing Song, Berliner 7" Record No. 1302, Recorded May 8, 1896 (David Giovannoni Collection).

"Laughing Song" by Maurice Farkoa (in French), Berliner 7" Record No. 1302 (David Giovannoni Collection).


18. LISTEN: SONG - Baritone Solo, Say Au Revoir, But Not Good-bye by J. W. Myers, (Berliner 7" Record No. 188 ZZ by Albert C. Campbell) - (David Giovannoni Collection).

"Say Au Revoir" Sung by Albert C. Campbell, New York. (Berliner 7" Record No. 188 ZZ, David Giovannoni Collection).


"Say Au Revoir But Not 'Good-bye," Words and Music by Harry Kennedy. Kennedy Publishing House, Brooklyn, N.Y, 1893 (The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection, Johns Hopkins).



"Little Boy Blue" Words by Eugene Field

"Little Boy Blue. Words by Eugene Field. Music by Reginald De Koven. Publisher William A. Pond & Co., New York, 1889. (Courtesy Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection, Johns Hopkins).

LISTEN to "Little Boy Blue" sung by Ethel S. Smith, Zonophone 10" Record No. 5810 (Universal TM matrix zon {T} (Courtesy David Giovannoni Collection).



The Phonoscope, January-February, 1897 advertised the Berliner Gram=o=phone featuring the same programme but this one headlines "For Evening Entertainments."