“Young Charlotte (Fair Charlotte)”

Alternate titles: “The Fair Sharlot”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1883 (Smith/Hatt)
Keywords: courting death beauty
Found in: US(All) Canada(Mar,Newf,Ont)

Description

Pretty Charlotte, going to a dance on a cold night, refuses to dress properly; warm clothes would hide her charms. First she complains of the cold, but then says "I'm growing warmer now." When they arrive at the ball, her escort finds her frozen to death

Notes

This ballad is widely considered to be based on an incident which took place on Jan. 1, 1840, when a girl froze on her way to a ball (the story was reported in the Feb. 8 _New York Observer_). In 1843 (? -- Botkin says 1884, but Smith died in 1868) the poem "A Corpse Going to a Ball" was published by Seba Smith in "The Rover"; the ballad is frequently linked to that lyric.

The matter remains controversial, though; others have linked it to the death of Charlotte Dills, frozen to death in Auburn, Indiana in 1862. And Barry credited the song to a William Lorenzo Carter of Virginia and dated it before 1833 -- though he later accepted the attribution to Smith.

For what it is worth, Laws accepts the attribution to Smith. - RBW

Historical references

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. Laws G17, "Young Charlotte (Fair Charlotte)"
  2. Belden, pp. 308-317, "Young Charlotte" (4 texts plus excerpts from 9 more and references to 2 more, 4 tunes)
  3. Randolph 667, "Young Charlotte" (3 texts plus 5 excerpts, 2 tunes)
  4. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 528-532, "Young Charlotte" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 667A)
  5. Eddy 123, "Fair Charlotte" (3 texts, 2 tunes)
  6. Gardner/Chickering 41, "Frozen Charlotte" (1 text plus an excerpt and mention of 1 more, 2 tunes)
  7. Dean, pp. 56-57, "Young Charlotte" (1 text)
  8. BrownII 209, "Young Charlotte" (1 text plus mention of 3 more)
  9. Hudson 60, pp. 182-184, "Young Charlotte" (1 text plus mention of 2 more)
  10. Brewster 30, "Fair Charlotte" (2 texts plus a fragment and mention of 2 more, 2 tunes)
  11. Rickaby 37, "Fair Charlotte" (1 text, 1 tune)
  12. Flanders/Brown, pp. 35-38, "Young Charlotte" (1 text, 1 tune)
  13. Linscott, pp. 305-309, "Young Charlotte" (1 text, 1 tune)
  14. Leach, pp. 723-725, "Young Charlotte" (1 text)
  15. McNeil-SFB2, pp. 98-100, "Schaladi" (1 text, 1 tune)
  16. Sandburg, pp. 58-59, "The Frozen Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
  17. Lomax-FSNA 48, "Young Charlotte" (1 text, 1 tune)
  18. Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 825-828, "Young Charlotte" (1 text, 1 tune)
  19. Spaeth-WeepMore, pp. 142-143, "Young Charlotte" (1 text)
  20. LPound-ABS 44, pp. 103-107, "Young Charlotte" (1 text)
  21. JHCox 80, "Fair Charlotte" (2 texts plus mention of 5 more; 1 tune)
  22. JHCoxIIB, #4A-B, pp. 126-129, "Fair Charlotte," "Young Charlotte" (1 text plus a fragment, 1 tune)
  23. Cambiaire, pp. 110-110, "The Frozen Girl"; pp. 112-114,"Charlotte, the Frozen Girl" (2 texts)
  24. Greenleaf/Mansfield 172, "Young Charlotte" (1 text)
  25. Peacock, pp. 735-737, "Young Charlotte" (1 text, 1 tune)
  26. Smith/Hatt, pp. 51-55, "The Frozen Girl" (1 text)
  27. Creighton-NovaScotia 150, "Young Charlotte" (1 text, 1 tune)
  28. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 64, "Young Charlotte" (1 text, 1 tune)
  29. Mackenzie 60, "Young Charlotte" (1 text)
  30. Darling-NAS, pp. 220-221, "Young Charlotte" (1 text)
  31. Silber-FSWB, p. 210, "Young Charlotte" (1 text)
  32. DT 637, YNGCHARL*
  33. Roud #260
  34. BI, LG17