Haddon Hall
Derbyshire, England

George Grossmith Birthday Book

"Being a collection of quotations from his original works, musical and otherwise."

The George Grossmith Birthday Book was compiled and released in 1904 by Sylvia Grossmith Bevan and Cordelia Grossmith, daughters of George Grossmith. The book contains 366 different quotations from the writings of Gee-gee: his books, plays, skits, speeches, remembrances and songs. There are an additional twelve quotations, to head up each month.

There are approximately 130 sources for the quotations. The editor has created a 'Repeated Sources' index which follows the last Birthday Book entry; the dates of multiple quotations from the same source are grouped together in this index. There is also a 'Grossmith Personally' listing for non-'Repeated Sources' quotations which pertain to Gee-gee’s personal experience. Finally, there is a non-Grossmith 'Single Source' listing where there is only one quotation from a source. All Birthday Book quotations are thus accounted for.

The editor has ended the book with complete songs (verses in the correct order) of "The Happy Old Days at Peckham," "The Duke of Seven Dials" and "His Nose Was On the Mantelpiece." The Birthday Book has extracted a number of verses from each, and teased the reader with hints of curious adventures.

Mention is made of D'Oyly Carte on April 7:
"I took your letter of introduction to Mr. D'Oyly Carte, Mr. Grossmith, and I sang to him. He said I didn't sing well enough for the chorus, so I thought of going in for your sort of parts."

And of Gilbert and Sullivan on September 2:
"In the old days the intellectual public were satisfied with one author and one composer, such as Gilbert and Sullivan. Nowadays they require five authors, six composers, with additional numbers by Smith, Brown, Jones, Snooks, and Robinson, to say nothing of the low comedians, who write their own dialogues and introduce their own songs."

The George Grossmith Birthday Book paints a picture of Gee-gee in its exuberant January 1 opening:
"Oh! I was so volatile. Yes, I was so volatile. How they jumped for joy, to see this boy, who was so volatile,"
to the December 31 farewell: "Society has been exceedingly kind to its poor clown, and the clown is deeply grateful. My only ambition is that someone in the dim future may speak half as kindly of me as Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, spoke of the Society clown of his period."

[Autograph] "To Stuart from Sylvia. Oct 19th 1904."
The editor’s book was the personal property of Stuart James Bevan; it was a gift from Sylvia. Following is a selection from the hand-written entries. Note that Gee-gee's son's name is spelled 'Laurence' not 'Lawrence.'

Birthday of Laurence Grossmith: March 29.
Birthday of Stuart James Bevan: March 31, 1872.
Birthday of Cordelia Grossmith: March 31, 1879.
Birthday of George Grossmith Junior: May 11.
Marriage of Sylvia Grossmith and Stuart James Bevan: June 2, 1900.
Marriage of Laurence Grossmith and Coralie Blythe: June 2, 1904.
Birthday of Peter James Stuart Bevan: September 8, 1901.
Birthday of Sylvia Grossmith Bevan: September 23, 1875.
Birthday of George Grossmith (pre-printed): December 9, 1847.

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