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Johnnie Queen joined the Morris Brothers, Pell & Trowbridge Minstrels when he was 19 and teamed up with Dick Carroll. Carroll and Queen were the first men in a minstrel show to perform a double clog dance. They worked together for two years. Actors in minstrel shows blackened their faces and hands with burnt cork in order to impersonate African Americans. Carroll and Queen are shown here in blackface and fancy costumes. After Johnnie Queen left the Morris Brothers Minstrels, he teamed up with William West, who was one of the best clog dancers of the time. West and Queen became the most popular dance team to ever appear on the minstrel stage. Minstrel shows were a popular form of entertainment from the 1840s to the 1890s, in both America and England. West and Queen toured England in the 1880s where Queen's extraordinarily fast dancing lead to charges of trickery. It is said that in order to prove there was none, Queen would enter the hall in his slippers, pass his dancing shoes around the audience to prove there were no clappers or other gadgets, and then put the shoes on and proceed with the act.


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"Caroll & Queen's Double Clog Dance"

publisher   Oliver Ditson and Company
date   1864
location   Boston, Massachusetts
height   14.0"
width   10.5"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Communication/Poetry/Ballad/Song
accession #   #L01.109

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John Putnam (c.1817-1895)

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