Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The story behind the song: The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll

William Zantzinger, the subject of one of Bob Dylan's early protest songs, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll, died this week.

The song tells the story of a prominent white tobacco farmer who, at a society function in 1963, struck a black barmaid with his cane. The barmaid, Hattie Carroll, died hours later and Zantzinger was sented to serve only six months in prison for manslaughter.

Here is Time Magazine's 1963 account of the incident: The Spinster's Ball

Here is the original NY Times article about Zantzinger's sentencing: Farmer Sentenced In Barmaid's Death (pdf)

Here is a current article about Zantzinger's life after his short stay in jail: William Zantzinger; Infamous After Dylan Song 'Hattie Carroll'

Go here for more info and two versions of the song: Doctor Mooney

Go here for more info and a video of a 1964 TV performance of the song: Harry's Music


Greg said...

Thanks for putting that all together.

Vaughn said...

I've always kept the feature article that The Washington Post in their Sunday magazine did on this bastard from 1991 in my Dylan Biograph collection.

Anonymous said...

I read the LA Times obit - he didn't sound like a charmer. Hope he finds peace now. W.