The Asa Cushman Collection, John Hay Library, Brown University

Burnot's "short selection"

This rhyming version runs several scenes together into one scene, featuring Tom, Eva and Topsy. It was written by Walter Burnot (who may have been a British song-writer) for the Asa Cushman family to perform. Along with his wife, Minnie Jackson Cushman, Asa had a long career as an actor and manager in Providence and other places. In this playlet, he plays Tom, Minnie plays Topsy, and their "child" (presumably a daughter) plays Eva.

Burnot clearly based his text on Aiken's dramatization. To make this version work, he assigned a number of lines usually spoken by characters like St. Clair and Ophelia to Tom and Eva. The religious focus of Stowe's novel is given some prominence, and Burnot interpolates a speech for Tom about the injustice of racial prejudice (though no explicitly abolitionist rhetoric appears). Perhaps the main emphasis of this version, though, is on singing and dancing.

The 13-page manuscript in the John Hay Library is undated, but internal evidence (Tom says "de black man [is a] slave") suggests it was written during the 1850s. Whether and where it might have been performed is unknown.

Uncle Tom's Cabin, By Walter Burnot

The Asa Cushman Collection, The John Hay Library, Brown University.
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