I am preparing an article which involves tracking down the origins of
the famous John McCullough at the Bloomingdale Asylum. Of course, he died in
1885, before any cylinders and discs were being made.
The oldest reference I have found so far is Dec 1888, at a Xmas Party in
Ohio, but Robert Conot claims (in his Edison bio), without proof, that it
was already being played in W. Orange, NJ in June of that year. I cannot
find any recording 'ads' (catalogs etc) for it between 1888 and Sept 1894.
It also appeared on Berliner and early Victor discs (sometimes as Ravings
of a Maniac).
Is there anything else I should consider?