“Aunt Jemima's Plaster”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1891
Keywords: humorous commerce trick
Found in: US(Ap,NE,SE,So)


Aunt Jemimah survives by selling sticking plaster. With it she might catch a thief, keep a wayward husband from straying, etc. Chorus: "Sheepskin and beeswax Makes an awful plaster, The harder you try to get it off, The more it sticks the faster."

Supplemental text

Aunt Jemima's Plaster
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From John Harrington Cox, Folk-Songs Mainly From West Virginia
(published as the second part of George Herzog, Herbert Halpert,
George Boswell, editors, Traditional Ballads and Folk-Songs
Mainly from West Virginia), #23, pp. 183-184. From Miss Lyle
Hatcher, Beckley, March 1, 1925, and ultimately from Mrs.
J. W. Bowmen.

Aunt Jemima she was old,
  But very kind and clever;
She had a notion of her own,
  That she would marry never.
Of all mankind, she did declare,
  That none should be her master;
She made her living, day by day,
  By selling of a plaster.

  Sheepskin and beeswax
    Make this awful plaster;
  The more you try to get it off,
    The more it sticks the faster.

(2 additional stanzas)


Said to be a version of "Bees wax," a song sung by (but perhaps not written by) Dan Emmett. Cohen says it was written by Septimus Winner, but lists other claims of authorship. - RBW



  1. Randolph 414, "Sheepskin and Beeswax" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 354-355, "Sheepskin and Beeswax" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 414)
  3. BrownII 271, "Aunt Jemima's Plaster" (2 texts)
  4. JHCoxIIB, #23, pp. 23-25, "Aunt Jemima's Plaster" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. MHenry-Appalachians, p. 233, (first of four "Fragments from Maryland") (1 fragment, which I link to this on the basis of the mention of Aunt Jemima)
  6. ST R414 (Partial)
  7. Roud #974
  8. BI, R414