J.A. Leavitt

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Andrew Jackson "Andy" Leavitt, a blackface minstrel performer who was born in Boston in 1822 and died in that city in 1901. He had a remarkably long career, performing on stage from 1837 until the 1890's. He was famous for his banjo playing a songwriting, but also was quite entrepreneurial. He leased Bleeker Hall in Boston in 1842 and transformed it into Leavitt's Opera House, and in late 1850's he opened a succession of theaters in Albany, New York. That same year he formed his own minstrel company, Leavitt's Ethiopian Troupe, with whom he traveled. Later in his career he teamed with comedian Harry Bloodgood. In addition, Leavitt was the author of several blackface farces that were widely used, and wrote the song "Ham Fat," from which it is said the term 'ham' for an unsuccessful actor derived.