Daniel Decatur "Dan" Emmett (October 29, 1815 – June 28, 1904) was an American songwriter and entertainer, founder of the first troupe of the blackface minstrel tradition.

Of Irish ancestry, he was born at Mount Vernon, Ohio, then a frontier region.

After working as a printer's devil and serving in the United States Army, Emmett joined a circus troupe in 1835. In association with Billy Whitlock, Dick Pelham, and Frank Brower, he organized the Virginia Minstrels, which made their first appearance before a paying audience at the Chatham Theatre in New York City in 1843.

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