Boston May 23 ‘93
Dr. Antonín Dvořák
My Dear Sir
I have just read the New York Herald statements of your views upon the future school of music in America, and want to thank you most heartily for the good such opinions so forcibly expressed will do.
I am desirous of your knowing of the peculiar song building, to coin an expression, of the negroes employed in the great tobacco shops at Richmond in the state of Virginia. So few people interested in music visit these places that you can hardly have become acquainted with this subject through your studies since your arrival.
These shops are filled with negroes from all parts of the old slave states. They bring their old time “tunes” with them and from day to day new “tunes” are built-up in this way.
A man or woman at one bench breaks out with a theme, fitting words of any sort to it, his neighbor catches it up and adds to it and so it is passed on until a song is the result. Some of these shops had a regular programme which the people sung[!]1 for visitors when I last visited Richmond and I assure you they got surprisingly pleasing results. It may offer a suggestive field for some of your students.
Pardon the liberty thus taken with your time and believe me to be your sincere admirer.
Fred R. Bacon Boston Herald