May Irwin Mrs. Black is Back Postcard

Carter and Out Publishers, Creator
Media Type:
Item Type:
Portrait/Postcard of May Irwin and Company in a scene from Mrs.Black is Back
May Irwin was a Canadian singer, songwriter, and comic performer who enjoyed popularity and prestige on the American stage from the late 1890s until the end of the 1910s. Key to Irwin’s popularity was her role as a “coon-shouter” and a performer of “coon songs,” deeply racist forms that emerge from minstrel musical traditions and blackface performances. Irwin’s considerable success was achieved via her reproduction of hate speech—speech which contributed to the oppression and death of many black persons in North America. For more information on Irwin’s life and her hate speech, see the following link:

Archives at Whitby Public Library maintains a collection of Irwin’s sheet music and associated ephemera. The sheet music in this archive is hate speech. The sheet music represents some of the most popular music of Irwin’s time, and as such constitutes important evidence of the anti-black racist and white supremacist ideologies that impacted and continue to influence Canada and America today. These ideologies are not condoned by Archives at Whitby Public Library, but the Archives has preserved such records in the hopes that, by encountering them, people will begin to think critically about and challenge historical and current racism.
Handwritten in ink along bottom: Lancaster St. Albany, New York From Eva

Hand Written on verso: Miss Clara Miller, Now Baltimore, Mich.
Garter and Out, Publishers, N.Y.
Place of Publication:
New York
Date of Original:
Width: 6 in
Height: 4 in
Personal Name(s):
Irwin, May
Local identifier:
May Irwin Collection
Language of Item:
Copyright Statement:
This item is protected by the Canadian Copyright Act and is intended for one-time use only. Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rightsholder(s). It is your responsibility for obtaining these permissions.
Reproduction Notes:
Scanned from original postcard.
Whitby Public Library
WWW address
Agency street/mail address

405 Dundas Street West, Whitby, Ontario L1N 6A1

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May Irwin Mrs. Black is Back Postcard

Portrait/Postcard of May Irwin and Company in a scene from Mrs.Black is Back