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MS Eng 1478

Chappell, W. (William), 1809-1888, compiler. W. (William) Chappell English ballad index collection: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: f
Call No.: MS Eng 1478
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Chappell, W. (William), 1809-1888, compiler.
Title: W. (William) Chappell English ballad index collection, ca. 1800-1899.
Date(s): 1800-1899.
Quantity: 1 collection (7 volumes (.75 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Manuscript transcripts of indexes to English ballad collections, all copied under the direction of William Chappell.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Gift of various donors at various times. See individual items for full acquistion information.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

W. (William) Chappell English Ballad Index Collection (MS Eng 1478). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

William Chappell (1809-1888) was the eldest son of Samuel Chappell, one of the founders (1810) of the London firm of music publishers, concert agents, and piano manufacturers known as Chappell & Co. After Samuel Chappell's death in 1834, William continued running the business with his mother and brothers. William was noted for his interest in early music and in 1840 he founded (with Rimbault, Macfarren, and others) the Musical Antiquarian Society. He left the family firm in 1843 and went into partnership with Cramer and Beale, as Cramer, Beale & Chappell where he remained until his retirement in 1861. He took principal part in the founding of the Percy Society, the Ballad Society, and in 1874 he assisted in founding the Musical Association. He is especially know for his publication of A collection of national English airs (1838-1839), and Popular music of the olden time (1855-1859). It has been said that the modern revival of interest in English folk-songs owes much to the work of William Chappell.


Arranged in former call-number order.

Scope and Contents

This finding aid brings together a number of manuscript transcripts of English ballad indexes that were "copied under the direction of William Chappell." Some of the volumes include notes in the hand of William Chappell, but the predominant copyist's hands are identified in a letter from Chappell to Child (1875 May 29) as that of Chappell's young daughters. A few volumes are annotated by Harvard ballad scholar Francis James Child. Most of the indexes list ballad text by first line.
Collection includes transcripts for ballad indexes to the collections of: Pepys Ballads; Pepys' collection of "Penny merriments"; Ballad collections of Richard Heber, John Bagford, and Anthony à Wood; Ballad collection of Francis Douce; and Ballad collection of Richard Rawlinson. Original collections are at the Bodleian Library (Oxford University) and Magdalene College (University of Cambridge).

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