The paper quality is exceptional. It shows few imperfections in consistency of color, weight or feel. There is however, the presence of a few folios with a coarser, webbed surface. These include the fragment which is folio 2 of Gathering 2 (G2 f.2), the last folio of the manuscript (G14 f.5), and an internal folio (G3 f.5). What is left of the edges of G1 f.1 & 2 and G2 f.1 also seem to have been of this paper type. Except being slightly grayer in color, they still bear watermarks consistent with the surrounding folios. These anomalous folios are not uniquely connected in any way.
Brown ink is also used, usually recording text and more often the script titles as opposed to those in block letters. It is most often found on the verso sides of folios.
Two shdades of red ink are utilised in 3 folios, usually to embellish ornate titles such as "Yanky Doodle" (G3 f.1r) and the "Chorus for the Hearts of Cak" (G9 f.12v). Red ink is also used for stave lines and note heads, as in "Yanky Doodle" and "Sweet Poll of Plymouth" (G4 f.5v).
Very often, blac, and brown inks are used in conjunction with one another -- the brown ink providing an outline for stems and noteheads, with the darker ink used to fill in the hollow note.
Format of Folios:
Pages, which are usually full if they have been written on at all, can contain as many as 8 staves to a side. The arbitrary size of staves can be related very often to a concern for aesthetic appeal. Small amounts of material will be expanded to a larger format in order to fill an entire page.
It appears that a straight-edge was employed to draw individual stave lines, and was also used as a guide to keep most of th etext and titles straight. Bar lines are often measured and even the distances between noteheads seem too consistent to have been entered without a measuring device of some sort. A straight-edge was also employed in the drawing of vertical stems and eighth note bars.
The scribes almost exclusively transmit only the treble of the tune. In only a few cases are the bass lines attached in keyboard score fashion (G9 f.5v and G11 f.6v). Only on 2 folios does the scribe transmit a suggestion for instrumentation (G10 f.6r: "for the voice...for the violin," and G8 f.7v: "german flute").
The dating of the Henry Livingston, Jr. MS, because of its immense size, its inherent contradictions, and its unusual variety, must rest on the consideration of all of these physical characteristics. Through them the possible ownership and purpose of the manuscript might also be ascertained. However, the interrelationship between these characteristics must be comprehended before conclusions can be made concerning the manuscript's origins.
Relationship of Paper Stock to Gathering Structure:
The Relationship of Pagination to Scribal Activity:
The Identification of Scribal Hands:
Scribe 2: A second text hand reveals tightly controlled compressed vertical letters. It appears youthful, but is less controlled than scribe 1 and is not as concerned with horizontal consistency. It is a print rather than script hand, with most letters standing unattached. It should be noted that, where this text hand operates, the notation is not different from that of Scribe 1 and titles can often be traced to that scribe. (G12 f.lr)
Scribe 3: The third hand records an uncontrolled, irregular handwriting style -- perhaps that of an elderly person. There is an attempt at elegant script but the lines are jagged and not consistently measured. Text is often cramped and does not hold to a horizontal plane. Here too, the notation does not seem radically different from that of scribe 1. (see G13 f.lv)
It should be noted that these three hands occur in close proximity to one another -- often on the same page. They also all occur in the early gatherings of the MS.
Scribe 4?: A possible fourth hand reveals a lighter clef sign -- a weaker, though equally as stylized a script as that of Scribe 1. It is more often found on the verso sides of folios in brown rather than black ink (G7 f.lv).
The close proximity of different hands can be viewed on G4 f.lv and G9 f.7r and 8V records different hands for two sets of text in "Auld Robin Gray:"
Conclusions Concerning the Physical Characteristics of the MS:
A perusal of available watermark catalogs has not revealed an exact match for the watermark in the Livingston MS. The attitude of the figure and some amount of detail resemble a watermark found on a survey of Kent, England, produced by T. Philipott in London, 1776.9 But several important factors, such as the "Pro Patria..." text which encircles the figure, and the ornamentation which surrounds the countermark are missing. The evidence is far too tenuous to provide a positive identification. Therefore, the dating of the paper must remain speculative until a comparable watermark can be found.
Binding Reconstruction and Regathering:
The original leather was covered over with a deep brown silky material which overlaps onto the buff colored inner cover paper. This likely occurred at a later period of construction, since it would have been unusual for the binder to have wasted his ornate paper by covering it over with the plain buff in the initial construction period. Another curiosity is apparent. The colorful paper is most apparent on the edges of the inner binding, appearing as uniform stripes about its perimeter.
The significance of this evidence is difficult to ascertain. The only thing that we can be certain of is that the paper arrived in this country as loose folios. One might then speculate that some of the folions were gathered into a fascicle, pre-paginated, and music was added to some of these folios. A table of contents was also compiled.
At some later time, the owner wished to expand teh fascicle by adding other folios. Perhaps because of the large size, he chose to have it bound in leather with an ornate inner binding. Still later, and perhaps because the leather cover was becoming worn, the owner chose to cover this with cloth while at the same time altering the inner binding cover by removing and replacing the ornate inner lining with buff colored paper. Only then were the signatures inscribed.
One wonders why the inner binding may have been altered. Was it performed to remove other signatures and inscriptions of a previous owner? Or perhaps the inner section simply fell off. More likely, the owner wished to sign the volume which could not be done on a colorful paper. So in the course of covering the leather, he directed that buff colored lining paper be added. The marbled lining may have been sliced away in order to provide a better surface upon which the new lining could adhere.
An evaluation of the materials used in the binding lends further credibility to the theory that this manuscript dates from the last few decades of the eighteenth century. During the Revolutionary period, materials for bookbinding were scarce. Pasteboard only became readily available in this country at the close of the eighteenth century. Prior to this only scabboard -- very thinly planed wood -- was used.10 By 1783, all of the materials needed for bookmaking were available in the United States. By the close of the century, marbled linings had become common.
The binding of the Henry Livingston MS, if placed in the latter decades of the eighteenth century, reflects a work of considerable craft. Although the leather is now obscured by the cloth covering, it is likely that the leather was ornately tooled. In the first few decades of the nineteenth century spines became slightly rounded and cords were raised instead of sunk into the spine. The secure lacing of the paper into the spine with six instead of the usual two or three cords is also unusual for the late eighteenth century. There are three possible explanations: Either the original binding represents an unusually rich piece of work which cost a great deal of money, being performed in the final decades of the eighteenth century; or, the original binding had been performed in some other country, where bookmaking practices were more advanced in the late eighteenth century. The question remains an open one at present. However, we can be fairly certain that if the manuscript was bound in this country, it was likely performed no earlier than 1783.11
Scribes and Possible Ownership:
The back cover inner lining also includes a signature by "Henry Livingston," but it is radically different from the former. It is uncontrolled and reminiscent of an elderly person's script. The signature includes the following information,
Henry Livingston, Esq.
The date apparently translates to May 25, 1819, which is within 9 years of the death of Henry Livingston, Jr. At the age of 72, it is possible that the elderly Livingston might not have been able to replicate the handwriting which appears at the beginning of the manuscript. Still there are several factors which suggest that the former signature might not be his.
If we accept that the original binding and paper stock can be used to suggest a tenative dating for the manuscript as the latter decades of the eighteenth century, then this places the manuscript well within the lifetime of the father of Henry Jr., Henry Livingston, (1714-1799). The fact that the signature in the front cover appears without the "Jr." appellation lends further credibility to this theory since Henry Jr. only lost that appellation after his father's death.12 There is, however, a correlation between the odd figure which follows the signature and the use of those same symbols which appear in the signature at the end of the manuscript. Only in this way are the two signatures connected.
There is no evidence that either the elder or younger Livingston was musically inclined.13 We know that Henry Jr. was artistically inclined. His illustrations were used frontispieces for the New York Magazine and Literary Repository between 1791 and 1794. The significance of the caricatures which appear on the front cover remain a mystery. Do they represent a record of the father and son? Or might they be caricatures of the same Livingston at two separate times in his life?14
The fact that other signatures are found in the MS might strength the theory that the item provides a family record. The signatures of E.G. Livingston and H.P.L. might have belonged to two of Henry Jr.'s children by his second marriage. Edwin and Helen. Since the record here is so complete, perhaps Henry Jr. was concerned that the proper ownership of this family heirloom might be mistaken and he requested that the signatures be witnessed by his children.
There is little material available on Henry Livingston. A daybook has been located which records business transactions at the Locust Grove farm between 1771 and 1789. It was definitely recorded by Henry Jr., and although there are considerable gaps in time when major events took place in his life (his wartime service in 1775, and his first wife's death in 1783) there is little personal mention of those except for the expenses they incurred.15 A diary was kept during his wartime service, but there is no special mention of his interest or activity in music. If Henry was in fact musical, it seems odd that this interest would remain hidden, unless of course, this interest began after this time.
That Henry was instrumental in the copy of the manuscript is indisputable. Although there is no way of proving that he transmitted any of the mujsic, much of the text is in his hand. The slant of the script, the unclosed "p" and the distinctive tails on the "g" are in evidence throughout the MS.16
Attributions in the manuscript may provide some insight into the origins of the subject matter as well as the manuscript date. G14 f.lv bears the signature "Henry" in the lower right hand corner and the style of the "H" is similar to the style recorded in the back cover signature. Indeed, the carefully metered rhyming lines are exactly within Henry's literary style. This may indeed represent a piece of original music, with Henry, Jr. possibly acting as both composer of music and text. A signed attribution such as this lends strong evidence that Henry, Jr. may have been musical after all and that he was scribe 1 -- the main scribe.
Other attributions include the recording of the text to "Columbia, Columbia to glory arise" composed by "the Rev. Timothy Dwight." Recorded in Henry, Jr.'s hand, it could not have been recorded prior to 1778, the time of its composition.17
The fact that the early gatherings record psalm tunes has led to some speculation that this layer of copy may have some relationship to Henry's brother, the Rev. John Henry Livingston, who was responsible for the preparation of the first translation into English of the Psalms of David for the First Reformed Dutch Church of North America. An examination of the first edition which appeared in 1789 reveals only text. No music is included, and no mention is made to the music that should accompany the text.18
An examination of documents which originated from the hand of Rev. John Henry Livingston dispels any question that he may have been a scribe in this manuscript. His handwriting style is small, cramped, and angular -- unlike any text hand found within the MS.19
The gatherings which include psalm tunes are instead in the hand of Henry Jr., and might represent the practical needs of this scribe. Henry acted as deacon of the First Reformed Church in Poughkeepsie from at least 1777 to at least 1787.20 Typically, the clerk or deacon would be responsible to lead the congregation in song.21 Perhaps Henry Jr. prepared a performance fascicle for his own use -- a small collection of psalm tunes which could assist him in the Sunday service. If this is indeed the case, we may place the origins of the psalm tune gatherings sometime between 1777 and 1787.
The fact that every verso of the folios contain music or text, and that several recto sides remain empty or only partially filled suggests that the scribes preferred to utilize only the verso of folios in the first layer of copy, the recto sides being reserved for the transcription of textg when appropriate. As the verso sides became filled, the scribes began adding material to the recto sides. We can surmise, therefore, that the verso sides of folios generally tranmsmit an earlier layer of copy than do the recto sides. Further, the initial gathering grouping (G1-G4) which includes the psalm tune layer, probably transmits an earlier layer of copy than do the latter gatherings, despite the ill placed folio "49."
A preliminary appraisal of subject matter in the first few gatherings reveals correlations with music and text incipits from other eighteenth century manuscripts rather than printed sources. If this habit should persist throughout the manuscript, it would suggest that performance variations unique to this geographic area are recorded in these manuscripts and that they were copied freely from one another.22 Notational idiosyncracies intimate that most of these tunes were first copied from published sources.
The main scribe at work in the manuscript is almost definitely Henry Livingston, Jr. who transmitted most of the text and probably the notation as well. But until his musicality can be witnessed by an outside source, he must remain only as the transmitter of text.
Since we have evidence of Henry's uncontrolled script in his signature, there may be some correlation with the shaky script of Scribe 3. It may in fact represent scribal activity by Henry at an advanced age. Indeed, the similarities in the profiles recorded on the front cover are striking. The long nose and jutting chin in both profiles are visually compatible. Perhaps Henry was adding a personal mark at two times during his lifetime. A profile of Henry Livingston, Jr. from a portrait is provided for comparison in Appendix IV.
The care in the preparation of the format, and the rendering of a clear, ornate, and aesthetically pleasing copy, when considered along with the unusually rich craft of the binding and covers, suggests a preservation mentality on the part of the owner/compilers. Although probably intended as a functional item there was an obvious concern in its preparation that it should be protected to endure over time.
Although the questions concerning paper stock, binding, and pagination remain unsettled at the present time, their combined consideration suggests a compiling date of the 1780's and 1790's for the main body of the manuscript. The psalm tune layers, as has already been mentioned, may date from as early as 1777. These dates are reinforced by the identification of subject matter which originates from these decades, as well as the knowledge of the main scribe's whereabouts and activities during this period. This was Henry's most prolific artistic period and his poetry and artwork appeared in publications between 1784 and 1794.
It is certain that a more thorough analysis of the contents of the Henry Livingston, Jr. manuscript will further clarify the date. In the meantime it would appear that a tenative dating of the 1780's and 1790's seems acceptable.
Henry's handwriting age 28
Henry's handwriting age 54
Henry formal writing in Jane's mss book at age 78, in 1827
Hollow letter L identical to L on page 2 of the music manuscript book.
Henry's handwriting age 78
Robert Livingston (1654-1728), the first Lord of the manor and Secretary to the Commissaries of Albany and Secretary of Indian Affairs, bore three children, Robert, Gilbert and Margaret.
Gilbert (1690-1746), who was Registrar of the Court of Chancery in 1720 and Lt. Col. of the Provincial Militia, bore 5 children -- Robert Gilbert, Henry, Gilbert, James, and Johanna.
Henry (1714-1799) was the County Clerk of Dutchess County, New York during 1742-1789 and acted as a member of the Assembly for Dutchess, 1759-1768. He bore 4 sons -- Gilbert, Robert H., John Henry, and Henry Jr.
Henry Jr. (1748-1828) is the reputed owner of the present manuscript was supposed to have it
in his possession until the time of his death. It then passed to his wife, Jane Patterson.
Jane Patterson married John Thomas, a surgeon in the 9th Massachusetts Regiment, who had settled
in Poughkeepsie after the Revolution. They had 5 children, one of which was Henry Livingston Thomas.
The manuscript then proceeded to his son, William Sturgis Thomas, who published an article on his ancestor
in vol. 5 of the Dutchess County Historical Society Yearbook of 1919. It finally passed to his son, W. Stephen
Thomas, who is presently in possession of the article.
Baldwin, Ebenezer. The Annals of Yale College from its foundation to the year 1831. New Haven, 1838.
Bent, Margaret. "The Old Hall Manuscript: a paleographical study." PhD diss., Cambridge, 1968.
Churchill, W.A. Watermarks in Paper in Holland, England, France, etc. in the XVII and XVIII Centuries. Amsterdam, 1935.
Dexter, Franklin Bowditch. Biographical Sketches of Yale College with the Annals of the College History. New York, 1896.
First Reformed Dutch Church of Poughkeepsie, New York. Consistory Records, 1760-1830.
French, Hannah, "Early American Bookbinding by Hand," in Bookbinding in America, Carol and Willman Spawn, eds. New York, 1941.
Goodrich, Cornelia, unpublished typescript. Item 315 Livingston housed at the Dutchess County Historical Society, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Gravell, Thomas and George Miller. A Catalogue of American Watermarks. New York, 1979.
Greenwood, David and Helen Gentry. Chronology of Books and Printing. New York, 1936.
Heawood, Edward. Watermarks, Mainly of the 17th and 18th Centuries. Hilversum, Holland, 1969.
Hunter, Dard. Papermaking in Pioneer America. Philadelphia, 1952.
Holgate, Jerome. American Genealogy. Albany, 1848.
Johnston, Henry P. Yale and Her Honor Roll. New York, 1888.
La Rue, Jan. "Abbreviated Description for Watermarks," in Fontes Artis Musicae IV (1957).
---"Classification of Watermarks for Musicological Purposes," in Fontes Artis Musicae XIII (1966).
Livingston, Rev. John H. ed. The Psalms of David with Hymns and Spiritual Songs. New York, 1789.
---Letter to his brother dated Jan. 12, 1778
Livingston, Henry Jr. Day Book 1771-1789. Manuscript housed at the New York Historical Society, Manuscript Division.
---Poughkeepsie Field Book, 1797-1798. Manuscript of personal field survey, preserved at the New York Historical Society Manuscript Division.
---Field Book, 1800. Manuscript of field survey preserved at the N.Y. Historical Society Manuscript Division.
Matthews, William F. Bookbinding: a manual for those interested in the craft of bookbinding. New York, 1929.
Nadas, John. "The Structure of MS Pachiatichi 26 and the Transmission of Trecento Polyphony," in Journal of the American Musicological Society XXXIV (1981): 393-427.
Osley, A.S. ed. Calligraphy and Paleography: Essays Presented to Alfred Fairbanks on his 70th Birthday. London, 1965.
Powell, Leona M. The History of the United Typothetae of America. Chicago, 1926.
Rabson, Carolyn and Kate Van Winkle Keller. The National Tune Index. New York, 1980.
Reynolds, Helen Wilkinson. "Editorial Notes on the Writings of Henry Livingston." Yearbook of the Dutchess County Historical Society, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. vol. XXVII (1942): 85ff.
---The Records of Christ Church. Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 1911.
Shorter, Alfred. Paper Mills and Paper Makers in England, 1495-1800. Hilversum, Holland, 1957.
Thomas, William Sturgis. "Henry Livingston." Yearbook of the Dutchess County Historical Society, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. vol. V (1919): 32-45.
Weeks, Lyman Horace. A History of Paper-Manufacturing in the United States, 1690-1916. New York, 1916.
Wolfe, Richard J. Early American Music Engraving and Printing from 1787-1825 with Commentary on Earlier and Later Practices. Urbana, Ill., 1980.
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