Old Folks at Home


Stephen Collins Foster, 1826-1864, “Old Folks at Home,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed January 22, 2022, https://omeka.library.appstate.edu/items/show/31758.

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Old Folks at Home


One leaf handwritten in black ink on both sides. The document is in good physical condition. The document was laminated. The lower right corner was folded into the laminate. There is a minor tear at the left upper edge. There is a moderate tear at the middle upper edge. The upper right corner is frayed. There is a moderate tear at the middle right edge. There is a minor tear at the lower left edge. There is a moderate tear at the middle left edge. There are numerous stains of unknown origin throughout the document. The document was folded horizontally into quarters, possibly for mailing. The informant citation is located at the upper right corner. The document "Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane," Variant 1 is located on the reverse side.


Popular music -- United States Homesickness -- Songs and music Memories -- Songs and music Slavery -- Songs and music

Alternative Title

Way Down Upon the Swanee River, Suawnee River


Stephen Collins Foster, 1826-1864


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University

Date Created



I. G. Greer


The images and audio files contained in the "So Mote It Ever Be: The Folksong Heritage of North Carolina's Northern Blue Ridge Mountains" collection are available for free personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided that proper citation is used (e.g. I. G. Greer/W. Amos Abrams Manuscript Files Series, Folksong Files Subseries. W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection. Special Collections. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC). Any commercial use of the materials without the written permission of Appalachian State University is strictly prohibited. Please contact the Appalachian State University W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection with specific questions or with requests for further information.








Old Folks at Home

Way down upon the Swanee ribber
Far far away
Dars where my heart is turning ebber
Dars whar de old folks play
All up and down de old plantation
Daddy I roam, Still longing for de old
Plantation and for de Old Folks at Home.


All dis world am sad and dreary
Ebry where I roam
O darkeys don’t your hearts grow weary
Far from de old folks at home

All round de little farms I wandered
When I was young
‘Dem many happy days I squandered
Many de songs I sung
When I was playing wid my brudder
Happy was I, Oh, take me to my kind old mudder
Dere let me lib and die

One little hut among de bushes
One dat I love. Still sadly to my memory rushes
No matter where I roam. When will I see de
Bees a humming, all round de comb
When will I hear the banjo tuning
Down in my good old home


I hope you can read this terrible
writing and learn to play this nicely
If you have any wandering Jew
please send us a little
by Willy and come over.
Much love from
Emma & Ellis

Classification Title

Old Folks at Home

Document Title

Old Folks at Home


Emma, Ellis

Other Name(s)


Alternate Geographic Location

Lawrenceville [Pittsburgh], Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

Associated Date


Dimensions - Original

191 mm x 317 mm

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File name


Transcription Date


Transcribed By

Alexandra S. Toomey