Author: Louise Rand Bascom
Source: The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 22, No. 84, Apr. – Jun., 1909
The first written record of the legend of John Henry.
Read the article HERE
The following broadside, from the Guy Benton Johnson Papers, represents what is thought to be the oldest printed version of the ballad of John Henry. A note that accompanies the broadside reads:
“This is a copy of the oldest known printed form of the John Henry ballad. It was obtained in 1927 by Dr. Guy B. Johnson from Mrs. C.L. Lynn of Rome, Georgia, who said ‘It is very old and has been in our family for many years’. This copy appears in Dr. Johnson’s book, John Henry: Tracking Down a Negro Legend, which was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 1929.”