English Abstract

During the 1880s, when for various reasons the intake of published music to the British Museum far exceeded the resources available to catalogue it, a decision was made to leave aside material thought to be ephemeral and of less importance. Known as the ‘secondary’ music collection, items continued to be added to the ever-growing pile well into the twentieth century, and despite the dedicated work of volunteers from the 1950s onwards, a vast collection of ‘secondary’ instrumental music from 1920–c.1985—some 69,000 items—remains completely uncatalogued. The primary motivation here is to provide an introduction so as to raise awareness of its existence, but also to give some impression of the many and various narratives that material such as this can contribute. Ultimately, while attitudes towards collections like this may have changed, the difficulty of dealing with them has not.

French Abstract

Pendant les années 1880, le volume de publications de musique imprimée reçues par le British Museum commença à dépasser de loin, pour diverses raisons, les ressources disponibles pour les cataloguer. Aussi la décision fut-elle prise de laisser de côté ces documents considérés comme éphé-mères et de moindre importance. Connue sous le nom de collection de musique « secondaire », cette collection continua de croître au cours du XXe siècle. Malgré le travail effectué par des béné-voles dévoués partir des années 1950, une vaste collection de musique instrumentale « secondaire » datant de 1920 à environ 1985 — quelque 69 000 documents — n’a jamais été cataloguée. Cet article vise principalement à en offrir un aperçu de manière à sensibiliser à son existence, mais aussi à donner une idée des récits multiples et variés que de tels documents peuvent susciter. En fin de compte, les attitudes envers les collections de ce genre ont peut-être changé, mais la difficulté de les traiter, elle, est restée la même.

German Abstract

In den 1880er-Jahren überstieg am British Museum der Zugang an Musikalien aus verschiedensten Gründen die Personalressourcen zu deren Katalogisierung, so dass die Entscheidung getroffen wurde, Material von randständiger und geringer Bedeutung zunächst nicht zu erfassen. Dieser ständig anwachsenden, sogenannten „sekundären“ Musiksammlung wurden bis weit ins 20. Jahrhundert hinein Medien hinzugefügt. Trotz der unermüdlichen Arbeit vieler Freiwilliger seit den 1950er-Jahren bleibt ein riesiger Teil — rund 69.000 Medien — dieser „Sekundärsammlung“ aus der Zeit von 1920 bis ca. 1985 vollkommen unerschlossen. Das Hauptinteresse dieses Artikels liegt darin, auf die Existenz dieser Sammlung aufmerksam zu machen und einen Eindruck von der Vielfalt der Zwecke zu vermitteln, zu denen diese Materialien beitragen können. Am Ende bleibt - trotz der heutzutage veränderten Haltung zu einem derartigen Bestand - die Schwierigkeit der Aufarbeitung dieses Teiles der Sammlung.

I do not pretend to set myself up as an arbiter of what is good or bad in original compositions, which to a certain extent may be a matter of opinion; but I do maintain without fear of contradiction, that a great proportion of the music which is annually deposited in the Museum in compliance with the Copyright Act, neither is or ever can be of the slightest use for reference or any other purposes…1

—Thomas Oliphant, 1850


How much ink has been spilled discussing the so-called great works of musical history and those that compete to be thought of as such? But what about the kind of music referred to by Oliphant, that has existed through all ages: a representative example of which might be a score like Figure 1.

The focus of this article is a collection of such music at the British Library, received automatically by legal deposit over a period of about one hundred years, and left in part uncatalogued. Initially dismissed as ephemeral rubbish2, it came to form a ‘secondary’ music collection. As much remains uncatalogued my primary aim is to raise awareness of its existence; but also, I hope, to give some impression of the many and various narratives that it can contribute to. The thread running through the article as a whole is that while attitudes towards the contents of the collection and others like it may have changed, the difficulty of dealing with it, in many ways, has not.

The ‘Secondary’ Music Collection

This ‘secondary’ collection was originally formed from printed music scores received by legal deposit and thought to be of secondary importance around the mid-1880s; it was added to roughly through to the mid-1980s3. While the voluntary work of Edward Claude [End Page 21]

Fig. 1. Brian Fahey. ‘Opening’ from Jack and the Beanstalk (Glebe Music, ©1972)
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Fig. 1.

Brian Fahey. ‘Opening’ from Jack and the Beanstalk (Glebe Music, ©1972)

Sington (1892–1976) and Robert J. Fulford4 eradicated a large part of this accumulation (between them they fully catalogued all such material published before 1920), as things stand approximately 150,000 pieces of vocal music 1920–ca.1985 have minimal author/ title catalogue records5, and an estimated 69,000 scores of instrumental pieces from the [End Page 22] same period remain unlisted in any way. Figure 2 below provides a summary of the key aspects of the ‘secondary’ collection.

Broadly speaking, its contents fit one or more of the following categories: popular music (including musical theatre); music for children and learners; instrumental methods/ tutors; music for domestic performance; music for film and television; and arrangements. However, providing an overview of the content is complicated as apparently no systematic criteria were ever applied to identify what was to be relegated to the ‘secondary’ collection: rather it seems to have been dependant on the highly subjective views of whoever was responsible at any particular moment in time. This is borne out by the numerous examples of works of a similar nature, by the same composer, or even volumes from the same series, existing in both the main collection and the ‘secondary’ one.

The contents have never remained static either. Over time scores have been extracted from the sequence and fully catalogued, usually reflecting a change in attitude towards certain composers quickly adopted into the musical canon—the works of Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Cole Porter and The Beatles are all examples6.

As well as the music dismissed on qualitative grounds, the collection appears to have also been used as a resting place for difficult formats (or ‘odd bits that don’t fit’ as one box is labelled)—oversized chord charts and posters to aid learning of instruments; hand-produced booklets; educational playing cards; there is even a toy glockenspiel from the 1930s7. In addition to these awkward artefacts, the condition of some of the material in the collection poses problems, with poor quality paper, mouldy sticky tape, and rusty paper clips featured prominently. Also interesting is the increase in low quality publications as the decades go on—including many photocopies of handwritten notation on scraps of tatty paper in the ‘60s and ‘70s boxes, reflecting increasingly democratised access to technologies that assist dissemination.

This is of course a familiar story—the ‘stuff-in-a-box’ that Susan T. Sommer says is recognisable to “anyone who has ever worked in a large library”: “if we can’t afford to do all the other things we are supposed to do, let us at least keep the boxes”8.


The title of this article suggests that the music in this collection might be considered as ephemeral, and there is much in the way it was treated that fits with how other ephemeral material has been handled: “discarding often... on qualitative grounds”9; “not in the interests of the Library to include in the general catalogue or to preserve on its shelves”10; “may not justify full cataloguing”11. Standard definitions of the word ‘ephemera’ [End Page 23]

Fig. 2. Summary of the ‘Secondary’ Music Collection at the British Library (including Numbers of Boxes per Decade in Both the Vocal and Instrumental Part)
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Fig. 2.

Summary of the ‘Secondary’ Music Collection at the British Library (including Numbers of Boxes per Decade in Both the Vocal and Instrumental Part)

[End Page 24]

(“those papers of the day”12; “intended for a lifespan of limited duration”13; “the minor transient documents of everyday life”14 for example) are difficult to apply to the ‘secondary’ music collection though, at least across the board. Within the domain of music, discussions about ephemera15 usually focus on objects like concert programmes, posters, tickets, and trade literature rather than sheet music. Notation is a fixed representation of sound, enabling it to be reproduced again and again, so it was presumably intended, by someone at least, to be preserved.

Perhaps a distinction between the noun ‘ephemera’ and its adjectival form, ‘ephemeral’, might be helpful to develop here: ‘ephemera’ being those things conceived as being of limited duration at the point of creation, as opposed to the word ‘ephemeral’ which perhaps tends to be applied after the event–i.e., more of a qualitative value judgement on the material. In the case of the ‘secondary’ collection the use of ‘ephemeral’ by Squire seems to be tied in with a commercial/popular vs. artistic dichotomy in music: the popular at that time perhaps being viewed as ‘here-today-gone-tomorrow’, while the artistic was more often portrayed as longer lasting.

How and Why It Came To Be

Until early in the nineteenth century the quantities of material arriving at the British Museum Library16 in accordance with copyright deposit regulations17 were quite low, due to a combination of the relatively small amounts of published material being entered at Stationers’ Hall18 and the frequent failure of publishers to meet their obligation of providing a copy. As the century went on, the Museum began pursuing its rights more vigorously19, and there were a number of Parliamentary Acts passed that clarified regulations and introduced stiffer penalties for non-compliance. This, together with the sheer quantities of material being produced, had the effect of dramatically increasing the amount of material entering the collections. [End Page 25]

Administration of this posed challenges for all departments in the Museum, but in the case of music the problem was compounded in the early years of the nineteenth-century by the lack of specialist, full-time staff to manage and catalogue it. In 1841, Henry Ellis (1777–1869)20 reported that there were about 700 bundles of music, the majority of which had been received by copyright deposit21. While some of these scores were certainly catalogued22, most of the copyright deposit material was simply left in piles, arranged loosely by date of receipt 23.

Later in the same year as Ellis’ report, Thomas Oliphant was appointed the first Officer in charge of printed music, and during his tenure (1841–1850) he succeeded in eradicating the accumulated backlog. It seems his immediate successors24 were less efficient though as by the time William Barclay Squire took charge in 1885, a substantial backlog had returned25. In Squire, the practical difficulty of dealing with such large quantities of material combined with a seemingly snobbish, high-minded view of music: resentment about the time taken up cataloguing material he saw as being of lesser quality was perhaps inevitable. His views were aired publically on a number of occasions, in particular in a paper to the Musical Association in 1918, in which he speaks of the “intolerable burden of storing and arranging masses of worthless music”26; an article in the 1906 edition of Grove’s Dictionary, while slightly more tempered, bemoans the “constant source of difficulty” caused by the bulk of deposits received under the Copyright Act27.

Squire’s solution was to continue setting the “masses of worthless music” aside, leaving it uncatalogued and resulting in the accumulation that became the ‘secondary’ collection. We can be thankful that he did not take more drastic action though—in the same Musical Association paper he looks longingly across the Atlantic: “at Washington the piles of ephemeral music, which are filling up our spare space at Bloomsbury, are dealt with summarily, and nothing is kept that is not considered worth preservation”28. Squire’s successor, William Charles Smith (1881–1972)29, later arranged the piles of uncatalogued music by decade and then alphabetically by composer30 so that, in theory at least, titles could easily be found if requested. The extent to which readers were made aware of this hidden collection remains unclear, however.

The views of Squire and Oliphant are perhaps better understood within the context of an institution that had always shown an ambivalent view towards music. The reluctance in the first half of the nineteenth century to appoint someone to deal with the collection is [End Page 26] symptomatic of an attitude that appears to have continued into the twentieth. In a paper to the Musical Association in 1877, William Hayman Cummings (1831–1915)31 speculated on the view from the higher echelons of the Museum’s administration: “music appears to have been regarded by the Trustees as a very poor relation of very little consequence, and therefore but just tolerated, with a distinct understanding that as little money as possible should be spent on her”32. In 1904, Edward Maunde Thompson, then Director and Principal Librarian, is said to have complained that “too many of the staff wasted their time on music and such-like flummery”33.

Against this backdrop, it is perhaps understandable that Oliphant and Squire were reluctant to embrace the everyday/entertainment aspect of music in the Museum collections. They perhaps high-mindedly focused on works which fitted their accepted ideals of musical art, in order to ensure the subject gained a respectable status in the Museum. To an extent, this view of music was reflected in the wider academic environment, the discipline struggling to establish itself as suitable for serious scholarly study in nineteenth century Britain34. Oliphant, earlier in the memorandum quoted at the start of this article makes this clear: “the cultivation of music has of late years made such rapid strides in this country, that if it be thought proper to include musical works amongst the requisites of a National Library, such works should be for the most part first rate”35.

Music was not the only type of material to receive less than adequate treatment, of course. Large collections of material perhaps more traditionally thought of as ephemera, such as pamphlets and concert programmes, frequently lacked full cataloguing due to lack of staff resources36 : sometimes they were arranged so that things could be found easily, but sometimes they were not. An example perhaps more indicative of Sommer’s ‘stuff-in-a-box’ scenario is found after the Copyright Act of 1911, which led to registration at Stationers’ Hall being no longer necessary—force of habit seems to have led many companies to start sending items to the Museum that would not normally have qualified for receipt under legal deposit. According to Esdaile, “floods of worthless leaflets and labels poured in, and some, bearing the Museum’s dated blue copyright stamp, reached the tables of cataloguers, who gazed at them in despair and (official conscience forbidding them to remove and destroy them secretly) slipped them under books and papers where they could be quietly forgotten”37.

A false understanding of copyright deposit laws seems likely to be the reason for some of the material’s presence in the ‘secondary’ music collection as well. Alec Hyatt King mentions the long running misunderstanding from certain publishers and individuals that registration of copyright is gained by depositing a copy of a work at the British Museum38. [End Page 27] It also seems likely that fixing music in notated form was perceived to allow more permanent and tangible proof of creation and publication than sound on recordings did39—this, together with the fact that legal deposit material may be called upon as evidence in court proceedings, perhaps goes some way to explaining the numbers of hastily prepared and copied lead sheets from the 1960s and 1970s in particular (figure 1 is an example), that serve no obvious commercial purpose and don’t appear to have been available for sale.

A booklet published in Cincinnati in 1926, entitled ‘How to Write and Publish Music’40 proves the misunderstanding was widely believed—particularly striking is the advice that to claim International Copyright authors needed to submit a copy to the British Museum. That was not the case, but it does partly explain the vast amount of U.S. published mate -rial up until the 1950s in the ‘secondary’ collection, which seems to have caused particular problems in the earlier decades41. Some of this bears a U.K. sub-publisher stamp, which would have qualified it for submission, but not all. South American publications, mainly from Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, are also well represented in both the instrumental and vocal portions of the ‘secondary’ collection—most likely for similar reasons as for the U.S. material.

The combination of low staff numbers and increasing quantities of material entering the music collections continued through Squire’s years in charge and beyond, but in the post-war years a realisation of the worth of some this material starts to appear. Arundell Esdaile, speaking about Squire’s setting aside of music observed in 1946 that “social, if not musical, historians will assuredly find their harvest [amongst the collection]”42. The situation became less about value judgements on the quality of the music and more about coping with the administrative problems of it. During Alec Hyatt King’s years in charge of music (1944–1976), things began to change even more—staff numbers increased, Sington’s work on clearing the accumulated backlog began, and the amount of material being added considerably diminished. His successor, Oliver Neighbour, stopped adding to the ‘secondary’ collection entirely.


“The ephemera of any one generation…become[s] the rarities of the future, susceptible of use and study in ways which the contemporary librarian can hardly imagine”43.

Alec Hyatt King was one of many to have recognised this44, and whether or not we agree that the contents of the ‘secondary’ collection are ephemera, or just ephemeral by nature, the approach of ephemera studies—using the material as evidence for something other than its originally intended purpose—would seem fruitful. With this in mind, I have summarised below some thoughts about the kinds of narratives and research avenues that music like this could contribute to. [End Page 28]

Publishing/Music Industry

  • • Sheet music production and sales: including evidence of pricing and marketing tactics (in particular the use of cover art and tie-ins with artists/films/television programmes).

  • • Details about individual publishers: including when and where they were active, plate numbers, publication history of songs, types and variety of titles produced, publisher/ composer catalogues on back pages.

  • • Self-publishing: there is a range of material here, from the formal to the very informal (often photocopies of hand-written material). This perhaps tells us something about a) individual creators; b) the publishing industry at the time (i.e., what they were not willing to publish); and c) the acceptance over time of certain musical material.

  • • Relationships between the U.S. and U.K. sheet music markets: including links between publishing companies and evidence about what U.S. material made it over to the U.K.

  • • South American music publishing: the relatively large numbers of publications (primarily from Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina) may give some indication of this. Experience from enquiry work suggests that some of these scores may now be unique copies.

Bibliographic Studies

  • • Printing; paper; fonts: providing a broad base of evidence for changes in methods of printing (the increasing availability of photocopiers from the ‘60s and ‘70s for example), types of paper available, formats used, and types of font.


  • • Nature of notation in popular music: from piano-voice scores, to the introduction and design of guitar and ukulele tablature, the use of chord symbols, and finally lead sheets45. The paradox of fully-notated tutors providing detailed instruction in how to play in ‘freer’ musical styles, which seemed popular in the 1930s particularly.

  • • Influence of recording techniques on music and the use of non-standard notations: evidence of alternative techniques to depict sound, as a result of the creative possibilities of new technology. ‘Teh Ch’eng’ by Jon Field and Tony Duhig from the band Jade Warrior, for example, uses a range of effects, both from instruments and via multi-track tape recorders: the attempts to apply written notation perhaps bear some resemblance to more experimental scores of the period, although whereas the likes of Karlheinz Stockhausen and Cornelius Cardew were trying to escape the confines of notation, the band could seem to be trying to get back in.

  • • How useful is popular music notation?: Philip Tagg quite definitively states that popular music “is neither conceived nor designed to be stored or distributed as notation, a large number of important parameters of musical expression being either difficult or impossible to encode in traditional notation”46. If this is the case (and it would [End Page 29] presumably be so for genres other than popular music), then it leads to certain problems for analytical study of the object in the traditional sense—the more valuable text being the sound recording. Leaving aside the bibliographic and commercial aspects highlighted above, what can the choices of notation in popular music tell us about the way it was conceived? And in cases like figure 1, why it was created in the first place, given that commercial sale does not seem to have been intended.


  • • Tutors by famous musicians: perhaps an indication of their techniques and playing styles? Instrumental tutors more generally perhaps also provide an indication of the popularity of certain instruments at certain times (the dominance of accordion tutors in the 1950s boxes for example, or ukulele and guitar in the ‘20s and ‘30s).

  • • Effect of copyright laws on music: what was the impact on music (content and product) created following key changes in copyright law in the twentieth century?

  • • Song titles: there are certainly many intriguingly-titled pieces (‘I’ve Never Wronged an Onion’?)—What can choices of titles tell us about the periods they come from? Are there noticeable trends at different times?

  • • Histories of certain musical genres (as represented through notated sheet music): popular music most obviously, but also light music, music hall, comedy monologues, dance band arrangements (in fact the varied types of arrangements themselves), educational music (which dominates the instrumental part of the ‘secondary’ collection from the 1920s to the 1950s, either in the form of simple music for children, simplified music for adults, or tutors to aid learning an instrument [see above]).

  • • Music published outside London: music was received by copyright deposit from around the U.K.; what was being published elsewhere? This can also provide extra context on local history—for example, ‘If You Want to Know What’s What’47, a souvenir song for a World’s Fair held in Newcastle in 1929.

  • • A history of production music: there are a number of lead sheets in the ‘60s and ‘70s boxes for production music (/mood music/‘library’ music). There seems to have been little scholarly attention given to this genre and there are earlier incarnations of the concept in the collection as well. Given that the later examples were only ever distributed commercially as sound, questions arise once again about why scores, with limited and skeletal notation, exist.

  • • Educational music: how has music been taught? What were the dominant concerns in music education at any given time? A series of rhythmic, didactic games by composer Yvonne Adair (1897-1989) run from the ‘30s through to the ‘50s (interestingly the early ones seem to be self-published; the later ones taken on by Boosey & Hawkes). One example, ‘The Zoo’ uses rhythmic durations to represent the footsteps of different animals: crotchets for prowling tigers, quavers for trotting dogs, semiquavers for scurrying mice, and minims for the plodding bears.

  • • Brazilian media music: the receipt of a large amount of music published in South America has resulted in a number of theme tunes from Brazilian telenovelas and films. Most examples of media music from the collection come from the U.K. or U.S. though. [End Page 30]


  • • Popular representations of historical events/people.

  • • Representations of societal habits: an anecdotal example involves a reader writing a history of miniature golf (apparently very popular in the U.K. in the 1930s), who found three songs from the ‘secondary’ vocal collection (‘Since They’re All Playing Miniature Golf’; ‘I’ve Gone Goofy Over Miniature Golf’; and ‘Since My Wife Took Up Miniature Golf’48), that proved useful to her research, both in terms of cover illustrations and lyrics.

  • • Genealogy: music by relatives to enhance knowledge of family histories.


If it no longer seems in doubt that material once seen as being of an ephemeral nature, like that in the ‘secondary’ collection at the British Library, can have research potential beyond its originally intended use, and irrespective of the perceived value of its content, there still remains the problem of what to do with it. One issue with researching the kinds of narratives suggested above is that large quantities of evidence are needed to draw firm conclusions (so called ‘big’ data). For libraries, large quantities of material are difficult to deal with when staff and budgetary resources are low, and it is hard to secure more resources when the end results are not obviously eye-catching or glamorous. Hence the solution of minimal organisation and ‘putting it in a box’ that seems to be frequently called upon, and which means things can be easily found if required, but won’t require the expenditure of time and money in cataloguing them. But storage of physical objects is still necessarily finite and it is obviously impossible for libraries, even large ones, to accept everything. While the legal deposit libraries of the world are required by law to receive everything published in their countries, others have to make difficult choices.

Those difficult choices have an impact on researchers of course, and the role of the librarian in shaping the extent and direction of scholarship should not be underestimated49. Assuming then that this material is kept and minimally organised, the question remains of how researchers know what is there. Minimal cataloguing at the author/title level only goes so far for the kinds of information retrieval likely to be necessary for the kinds of research mentioned earlier, and it is not always ideal, or even possible, to allow researchers to browse amongst the stacks or rummage within boxes (even if the role of serendipity is often key to this kind of research).

The aim of this article was to raise awareness of one particular collection of notated music, and with that in mind it was limited in its scope to the whys and wherefores of one institution, in one country. But, to return once again to Susan T Sommer’s observation about ‘stuff-in-a-box’, it would seem that there are collections similar to the ‘secondary’ music material in most libraries, with contents no doubt as varied as the circumstances by which they came to be there. Perhaps wider sharing of information, as to the extent of our uncatalogued (or insufficiently catalogued) material, would be a useful start. At least then we can begin to move towards a solution suggested by James Coover to the problem of [End Page 31] ‘choosing what not to preserve’: “what we ought not to preserve is only that which we are assured someone else will”50.

Finally, a word about the future. As technology has developed and the ease of producing material in digital formats has greatly increased, the problem of collecting, describing and storing has become ever greater. How much of the total content now produced is it possible to keep? How is it to be suitably described, stored, and accessed given finite resources? With the inclusion of electronic publications in legal deposit regulations, these questions remain as pertinent for us all now as they were for the British Museum Library in the 1880s. [End Page 32]

Christopher Scobie

Christopher Scobie is Rare Books & Music Reference Specialist at the British Library. This article is based on a paper delivered at the IAML Congress in Antwerp, Belgium in July 2014. Every effort has been made to secure permission for the figures in the article.


1. Thomas Oliphant, ‘Memorandum Respecting the Music in the British Museum’, in Panizzi Papers 1849– 50, f. 294–295, 1850. Cited in full in Alec Hyatt King, Printed Music in the British Museum: An Account of the Collections, the Catalogues and Their Formation up to 1920 (London: Bingley, 1979), 69–71.

2. William Barclay Squire, ‘Musical Libraries and Catalogues’, Proceedings of the Musical Association 45, no. 1 (1918): 97–111.

3. Roughly because backlogs and prioritisation had always been, and continue to be, necessary (see David Banush and Jim LeBlanc, ‘Utility, Library Priorities and Cataloging Policies’, Library Collections, Acquisitions and Technical Services 31, no. 2 [2007]: 96–109 for a philosophical framework to this necessity). This particular accumulation was definitely started by William Barclay Squire however, who took charge of the music collections in 1885. At the other end, comparatively little was added through the 1970s and even less in the early 1980s, when the practice came to an end.

4. Sington catalogued parts of the collection from 1959 to 1975. Fulford, whose own unpublished notes provided the inspiration and starting point for this article, worked on it between 1985 and 2000.

5. There are 205,142 entries with the secondary vocal shelfmark (VOC/[DATE OF PUBLICATION]/[COMPOSER]) in the British Library’s cataloguing system, but a number of these are duplicate entries, ‘umbrella’ records for individual numbers from Broadway shows, and redundant entries for pieces withdrawn and placed in the main collection at another shelfmark.

6. Other composers whose works are known to have been extracted and fully catalogued include: Irving Berlin (to 1949), Hoagy Carmichael, Walter Donaldson, Duke Ellington, Vivian Ellis, Noel Gay, Jerome Kern, Horatio Nicholls/Lawrence Wright, Ray Noble, Ivor Novello, Oscar Strauss, Thomas Wright (‘Fats’) Waller, Vincent Youmans, Kurt Weill, Buddy De Sylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson.

7. ‘Sing-a-Song Player Book’, arr. Sam See (BL shelfmark VOC/1939/SEE).

8. Susan T. Sommer, ‘Music Librarians as Custodians of Cultural History, Question and Discussion’, in “Music Librarianship in America”, Harvard Library Bulletin 2, no. 1 (1991): 37

9. James Coover, ‘Musical Ephemera: Some Thoughts About Types, Controls, Access’, Music Reference Services Quarterly 2, no. 3–4 (1993): 351

10. Bodleian Library Record (October 1938); cited in Michael Twyman, ‘The Long Term Significance of Printed Ephemera’, RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Cultural Heritage 9, no. 1 (2008): 20

11. Nik Pollard, ‘Arty Choke: Acquisitions and Ephemera’, Art Libraries Journal, 2 (1977): 15; cited in James Coover, op. cit., p. 350

12. Samuel Johnson, The Rambler (6 August 1751).

13. Richard Stokey, ‘Printed Ephemera—A Chronology and Bibliography’, Archives 16 (1984): 278–84, cited in James Coover, op. cit., p. 350

14. Maurice Rickards, cited at http://www.ephemera-society.org.uk/ (accessed 4 December 2015).

15. Such as: James Coover, op. cit.; and Deborah Lee, ‘Classifying Musical Performance: The Application of Classification Theories to Concert Programmes’, Knowledge Organization 38, no. 6 (2011): 530–40.

16. The library at the British Museum became the British Library in 1973, as a result of the British Library Act of 1972.

17. From a royal privilege given to the British Museum in 1757, the requirement for publishers to deposit one copy of every book, music score, map, and newspaper published in the U.K. became formalised through a series of Parliamentary Acts in the nineteenth-century. The right extended to other legal deposit libraries in the U.K.—at one point eleven (The British Museum, the Bodleian Library, Cambridge University Library, the university libraries of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St. Andrews, King’s and Marischal Colleges at Aberdeen, Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh, Sion College in London, Trinity College in Dublin, and the library of King’s Inns in Dublin), but now six (The British Library, Bodleian Library, Cambridge University Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales, and Trinity College, Dublin)—although whereas the British Library should automatically receive all material, the other libraries have to make a request for what is required.

18. Until 1911, registration of copyright came from entering at Stationers’ Hall—only those published items entered there were obliged to be submitted to the British Museum. A historical background to Stationers’ Hall can be found in the introduction to Michael Kassler, Music Entries at Stationers’ Hall 1710–1818 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004).

19. See P. R. Harris, The Library of the British Museum (London: The British Library, 1998), 39–42 and 148 for examples of the ongoing attempts of the Museum to enforce its right to this material.

20. Sir Henry Ellis was Principal Librarian at the British Museum from 1827 until 1856.

21. P. R. Harris, The Library of the British Museum (London: The British Library, 1998), 141.

22. Alec Hyatt King states that at this time all pre-1700 music had been catalogued. See Alec Hyatt King, Printed Music in the British Museum: An Account of the Collections, the Catalogues and their Formation up to 1920 (London: Bingley, 1979), 38.

23. Ibid., p.48.

24. Eugene Armand Roy (1853–1866), John Campbell Clarke (1867–1870), and Charles John Evans (1870–1884).

25. Arundell Esdaile, The British Museum Library (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1946), 212.

26. William Barclay Squire, ‘Musical Libraries and Catalogues’, Proceedings of the Musical Association 45, no. 1 (1918): 97–111.

27. William Barclay Squire, ‘Libraries and Music Collections’, in Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. J. A. Fuller Maitland (London: Macmillan, 1906), 704.

28. William Barclay Squire, op. cit.

29. William Charles Smith was Officer in charge of printed music at the British Museum, 1921–1944.

30. Arundell Esdaile, op. cit.

31. William H. Cummings was a musician and collector.

32. William H. Cummings, ‘The Formation of a National Music Library’, Proceedings of the Musical Association 4, no. 1 (1877): 13–26.

33. Alec Hyatt King, op. cit., p. 119.

34. Rosemary A. Golding, Music and Academia in Victorian Britain (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2013); this is also discussed in Alec Hyatt King, op. cit., p.119; see also: Peter Maurice, What Shall We Do With Music? A Letter to the Rt H The Earl of Derby, Chancellor of the University of Oxford (London: for the author, 1856).

35. Thomas Oliphant, ‘Memorandum respecting the Music in the British Museum’, in Panizzi Papers 1849-50, f.294-295. Cited in full in Alec Hyatt King, op. cit., pp .69–71.

36. P. R. Harris, op. cit., p. 58.

37. Ibid, p. 424

38. Alec Hyatt King, Printed Music in the British Museum, p. 145.

39. For a discussion of this within a U.S. legal context, see Barry Kernfeld, The Story of Fake Books (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2006), 39–50.

40. Harry Lincoln, How to Write and Publish Music (Cincinnati: O. Zimmerman & Son, 1926).

41. Squire provocatively singles out the “importation for copyright purposes of tons of American rubbish”—William Barclay Squire, ‘Musical Libraries and Catalogues’, pp. 97–111.

42. Arundell Esdaile, op. cit., p. 212.

43. Alec Hyatt King, Printed Music in the British Museum, p. 156.

44. For a more contemporary analysis of the worth of printed ephemera, see Michael Twyman, ‘The Long Term Significance of Printed Ephemera’, RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Cultural Heritage 9, no. 1 (2008): 20.

45. That is, scores that notate the key elements of a piece—usually with chord symbols, a melody line, and lyrics if applicable. For an initial study see Barry Kernfeld, op. cit.

46. Philip Tagg, ‘Analyzing Popular Music: Theory, Method, and Practice’, in Reading Pop: Approaches to Textual Analysis in Popular Music, ed. Richard Middleton (Oxford; New York : Oxford University Press, 2000), 75.

47. ‘If You Want to Know What’s What: North East Coast Exhibition Souvenir Song’ (BL shelfmark VOC/1929/JACKSON).

48. BL shelfmarks VOC/1930/CANTOR, VOC/1930/DISTON and VOC/1930/SCHWARTZ, respectively.

49. Charles Hamm, ‘Expanding our Musical Heritage’, in “Music Librarianship in America”, Harvard Library Bulletin 2, no. 1 (1991): 16.

50. James Coover, ‘Choosing What Not to Preserve’, in “Music Librarianship in America”, Harvard Library Bulletin 2, no. 1 (1991): 30.

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