San Francisco Minstrels

Event Information

San Francisco Minstrels Hall

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
6 May 2012

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

29 May 1865, Evening
30 May 1865, Evening
31 May 1865, Evening
01 Jun 1865, Evening
02 Jun 1865, Evening
03 Jun 1865, Evening

Program Details

Venue advertised as “Heller’s Hall.”

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka New songs; Foreign airs by native artists
Composer(s): Unknown composer
Participants:  David S. Wambold
aka Favorite ballads ; Ballads and warblings; Beautiful ballads
Participants:  David S. Wambold
aka Imitations of famous actors; Imitations of popular actors
Participants:  Charley Backus
aka breakneck act
Participants:  Billy Birch [minstrel]
Participants:  Tim [dancer] Hayes


Advertisement: New York Herald, 28 May 1865.

     “D.S. Wambold in new Songs and Ballads, Billy Birch’s ‘I am here Staunch and True,’ Charley Backus in his inimitable imitations, Bernard in his Colloquialisms.”

Review: New York Clipper, 10 June 1865, 70.

     “The San Francisco Minstrels have certainly made a big strike in this city.  Coming to the metropolis at a time when our amusements were in a deranged condition owing to the assassination of the President, the prospects of the new troupe were not of a golden character; astonishing as it may seem, however, their first night’s entertainment dispelled the gloomy forebodings of their friends, the house being packed like a box of sardines, (begging the pardon of the audience, or the sardines, we don’t care which,) and the band has since made one of the greatest hits ever known in minstrelsy.  Backus, one of the end men, seems to have a knowledge of all languages, from Choctaw down to high Dutch; he is very clever in his end business, as well as in his special acts.  Birch has been giving his stump speech – ‘I am here,’ thickly impregnated with dark odors not altogether refreshing in warm weather.  The speech is not of a very entertaining character, and we believe has been shelved.  This week Billy appears in his ‘Great Breakneck Act,’ which is one of his best performances.  Tim Hayes has been giving his really clever clog dances, for which he is encored each night.  Ira Paine’s ‘Evangeline’ was well received.  The attendance is large at this establishment.”