"Ching-Ching Chinaman" (1897) and American Folklore Society

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Mon Jan 31 01:28:15 UTC 2005


Roger D. Abrahams edited two books for the American Folklore Society. One was JUMP-ROPE RHYMES: A DICTONARY (1969) and another is COUNTING-OUT RHYMES: A DICTIONARY (1980). NYU has the former at the New School only, but I've read portions at the NYPL.

Abrahams cites collections of books, but many of these rhymes and sayings first appeared in regional NEWSPAPERS. We now have digitized newspapers, so we should be improving on every entry. I don't know what Fred Shapiro plans to include from all this, but certain rhymes are famous.

"I scream" was first cited here from 1947. "I should marry a millionaire" has a 1940 date. "Acca, bacca" is from North Carolina in 1948. "Charlie Chaplin sat on a pin" and "Charlie Chaplin went (came) to France" are both cited from 1926. "Spell Chicago" and "Spell New York" are both cited from 1947. "Cinderella, dressed in yellow" is from 1926. "I see London, I see stars, I see someone's underdrawers" is from 1963.


"Ching Ching Chinaman" is probably one of the most important of children's rhymes, just after they were taught "Ten Little Niggers." Oh, that innocent age.

It's clearly from the 1800s, but JUMP-ROPE RHYMES doesn't help much here...The Library of Congress's American Memory seems to be down at the moment.

edited by Roger D. Abrahams
Published for the American Folklore SOciety by the University of Texas Press, Austin & London

Pg. 29:
Ching, chang, Chinaman,
Chop, chop, chop,
Eating Candy at the candy shop.
...Abrahams, _SFQ_, 27 (1963), 202 [Texas].

Ching, chang, Chinaman bought a toy doll,
Washed it, dyed it, then caught a cold.
Send for the doctor; Doctor wouldn't come
Because he had a pimple on his tum-tum-tum.
...Douglas (1916), 95 [London]. "...penny doll....and called it penny poll."
...Sutton-Smith, _WF_, 12 (1953), 21 [New Zealand].

Pg. 30:
Ching, Ching, Chinaman
Eats dead rats,
Swallows them down
Like ginger-snaps!
...Yoffie, _JAF_, 60 (1947), 49 [Missouri].

A MONOLOGUE UPON CATS.; With Several Incidental Digresions to Other Subjects.
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Dec 12, 1897. p. 14 (1 page):
[Illegible--ed.] she was a little girl, that was at the time when the children wore their hair braided down their backs and my little niece called after a little girl on the street, "Ching, Ching, Chinaman!" and all about a pigtail, and the little girl hit her, and she fell down and hurt her hip.

"Ching Ching Chinaman sitting on a fence Trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents. Along came a Chinaman and hit him on the head. Ching Ching Chinaman fell down dead."

Rhyming Verses: Tippy recited verses to accompany his dancing.The purpose seemed to be two-fold: while maintaining the rhythm of his dance with these stanzas, Tippy added to the overall comic nature of his performances. Some of his rhyming verses were comic variations of standard folk rhymes like:
[End page 37]

Ching, Ching, Chinaman, sittin' on the fence,
Tryin' to make a dollar out of fifteen cents.

Which became:

Ching, Ching, Chinaman, sittin' on the fence,
If you ain't got a dollar give me fifteen cents.

Title: The Best short stories of 1917
Author(s): O'Brien, Edward Joseph Harrington,; 1890-1941.
Publication: [S.l.] : Houghton,
Year: 1918
Description: xxvi, 482 p.
Language: English
Series: Variation: Corefiche.; Short stories.; Phase 8 ;; 2127.
Contents: Excursion / Edwina Stanton Babcock -- Onnie / Thomas Beer -- Cup of tea / Maxwell Struthers Burt -- Lonely places / Francis Buzzell -- Boys will be boys / Irvin S. Cobb -- Laughter / Charles Caldwell Dobie -- Emperor of Elam / H.G. Dwight -- Gay old dog / Edna Ferber -- Knight's move / Katharine Fullerton Gerould -- Jury of her peers / Susan Glaspell -- Bunker mouse / Frederick Stuart Greene -- Rainbow Pete / Richard Matthews Hallet -- Get ready the wreaths / Fannie Hurst -- Strange looking man / Fanny Kemble Johnson --Caller in the night / Burton Kline -- Interval / Vincent O'Sullivan -- Certain rich man- / Lawrence Perry -- Path of glory / Mary Brecht Pulver -- Ching, ching, chinaman / Wilbur Daniel Steele -- None so blind / Mary Synon.

Ching ching Chinaman /
Author: Gottschalk, Louis F.; Unsell, Eve. Publication: New York : Jerome H. Remick & Co., 1923
Document: English : Musical Score : Printed music : Songs

Foster, Stephen Collins, 1826-1864:  DON'T BET YOUR MONEY ON DE SHANGHAI. [from The Music of Stephen C. Foster [1990]]
[Editorial note: 1Kb]

1          De Shanghai chicken when you put him in de pit
2          He'll eat a loaf of bread up but he can't fight a bit
3          De Shanghai fiddle is a funny little thing
4          And ebry time you tune him up he goes ching! ching!


5          Oh! de Shanghai!
6          Don't bet your money on de Shanghai!
7          Take de little chicken in de middle of de ring
8          But don't bet your money on de Shanghai.

1. Brough, Robert B. (Robert Barnabas), 1828-1860 [Author Page] / Brough, William, 1826-1870 [Author Page]
The second calender [1853]  167Kb
THE SECOND CALENDER; And the Queen of Beauty, WHO HAD THE FIGHT WITH THE GENIE. AN EXTRAVAGANZA, In Two Acts,   [Durable URL for this text]
Found 2 hit(s):
Main text   [Durable URL for this text]
ACT II.   [Durable URL for this text]
SCENE. I.   [Durable URL for this text]
...friends to see; [Stage direction]    Ching-a-ring-a-ring- ching-ching-ching-cha,    Chinamen arrive from Pekin far;...
...friends to see; [Stage direction]    Ching-a-ring-a-ring-ching- ching-ching-cha,    Chinamen arrive from Pekin far;...

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