Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays -- Research Guide


The Collection

Music resources in the Harris Collection are one of its great strengths. In all, nearly 30,000 titles in the Harris Collection are either music or music-related, and include:

  • Scores, vocal selections, and librettos of musical plays and operettas, dating from the mid-19th century

  • Collections of popular and folk music, dating from the 18th century, and including a great many currently published folios of the songs of popular composers and performers, often related to recordings

  • Hymnals, both with and without musical notation, dating from the 17th century, and including many examples of Pennsylvania German imprints as well as an interesting selection of hymnals issued in the 20th century by small fundamentalist denominations in theWest, South, and Midwest

  • Songsters, dating from the 18th century, held in particular strength, and including 40 pre-1820 exemplars otherwise unrecorded

  • Manuscripts of scores and libretti from the turn-of-the-century Yiddish musical stage in New York, many never published.

See Also:
» Hymnals
» Plays
» Songsters
» Yiddish-American Literature

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Related Collections

The Sheet Music Collection, owing to its size, is divided into a number of sections. The largest is the section of vocal music, some 150,000 pieces, with an additional 35,000 pieces representing songs from the musical theatre, films, radio, and television shows. Afro-Americana accounts for perhaps 10,000 titles, of which perhaps 2,500 (mainly from the 19th century) are fully cataloged.

There are another 2,000 pieces of cataloged music relating to World Wars I and II, and perhaps 1,500 cataloged musical settings of American poetry; there are another 1,500 uncataloged pieces belonging to these categories. Sheet music from the Confederacy is keyed to the citations in the Crandall bibliography; pre-1800 music is keyed to Sonneck-Upton, and music from 1801-1825 is filed by Wolfe number. Approximately one-third of the titles cited by Wolfe are in the Collection.

Harrigan & Hart's Mulligan guard picnic songsterThere are also smaller (less than 2,500 pieces each) sections of: color lithographs; works by Boston lithographers; Endicott lithographs; Union imprint Civil War music; Latin American music; Yiddish-American music; Harrigan and Hart music; silent film music; dance folios; theatre music (non-vocal); music dealers' stamps; Canadian music.

Instrumental music, filed by composer, accounts for another 35,000 pieces, of which the largest section is piano and orchestral music, primarily dating from the 19th century. There are also smaller sections of music for violin, organ, harp, flute, accordion, banjo, mandolin, guitar; jigs and reels; other dance music; music instruction materials.

In addition, there are binder's collections of 19th century music, including both vocal and instrumental selections. There are perhaps 5,000 pieces of octavo band music, mostly popular arrangements of the late-19th through the mid-20th century. Finally, there are several hundred cartons on unsorted music, mostly vocal and instrumental music from the 1840's through the 1920's, and folio band arrangements, primarily of classical composers, accounting for the remaining 250,000 titles.

Other music resources in the John Hay Library are the sheet music titles associated with the Abraham Lincoln Collection and the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection (some covers only in this Collection), as well as small sections of music in other named collections. There are relatively small collections of recordings (both 78's and 33 1/3's), consisting primarily of jazz, blues, and 20th century popular music and show tunes, and approximately 200 piano rolls and cylinder recordings.

The Orwig Music Library contains many supportive and general materials related to American music and music history.

Illustration: Harrigan & Hart's Mulligan guard picnic songster New York : Popular Pub. Co., [1878?]

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Related Internet Resources

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Essential References

American music before 1865 in print and on records : a biblio-discography / pref. by H. Wiley Hitchcock
Brooklyn : Institute for Studies in American Music, Dept. of Music, School of Performing Arts, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, [c1976]

Bloom, Ken
American song : the complete musical theater companion
New York, N.Y. : Facts on File, c1985

Bloom, Ken
Hollywood song : the complete film & musical companion
New York : Facts on File, c1995

De Charms, Desiree
Songs in collections; an index [by] Desiree de Charms & Paul F. Breed
[Detroit] Information Service [c1966]

Dennison, Sam.
Scandalize my name: Black imagery in American popular music
New York : Garland Publishing, 1982

Dichter, Harry
Early American sheet music : its lure and its lore, 1768-1889 / by Harry Dichter and Elliott Shapiro ; including a directory of early American music publishers ; illustrated
New York : R.R. Bowker Co., 1941

Ellinwood, Leonard Webster
Bibliography of American hymnals [microform] : compiled from the files of the Dictionary of American hymnology : a project of the Hymn Society of America, Inc. / by Leonard Ellinwood, project director and editor, and Elizabeth Lockwood, associate editor
Microfiche ed
New York : University Music Editions, 1983

Epstein, Dena J.
Sinful tunes and spirituals : Black folk music to the Civil War
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [c1977]

Fuld, James J.
American popular music : (reference book) 1875-1950.
Philadelphia : Musical Americana, c1955, (1956)

Gillespie, John
A bibliography of nineteenth-century American piano music, with location sources and composer biography-index / John Gillespie and Anna Gillespie
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1984

Goodfellow, William D.
SongCite : an index to popular songs.
New York : Garland, 1995

Goodfellow, William D.
SongCite : an index to popular songs. Supplement 1
New York : Garland Pub., 1999

Harwell, Richard Barksdale
Confederate music
Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press [1950]

Havlice, Patricia Pate
Popular song index
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1975

Havlice, Patricia Pate
Popular song index : first supplement
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1978

Havlice, Patricia Pate
Popular song index. Second supplement
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1984

Havlice, Patricia Pate
Popular song index. Third supplement
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1989

Heard, Priscilla S.
American music, 1698-1800 : an annotated bibliography.
Waco, Tex. : Baylor University Press, Markham Press Fund, c1975

Heskes, Irene
Yiddish American popular songs, 1895 to 1950 : a catalog based on the Lawrence Marwick roster of copyright entries.
Washington : Library of Congress, 1992

Hixon, Donald L.
Music in early America: a bibliography of music in Evans.
Metuchen, N.J., Scarecrow Press, 1970

Hoogerwerf, Frank W.
Confederate sheet-music imprints
Brooklyn, N.Y. : Institute for Studies in American Music, Conservatory of Music, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, c1984

Hovland, Michael A.
Musical settings of American poetry : a bibliography
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1986

Keller, Kate Van Winkle
The national tune index [microform] / compiled by Kate Van Winkle Keller and Carolyn Rabson
Microfiche ed
New York : University Music Editions, c1980

Klamkin, Marian
Old sheet music : a pictorial history. Photos. by Charles Klamkin
New York : Hawthorn Books, [c1975]

Krummel, Donald William
Bibliographical handbook of American music.
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1987

Krummel, Donald William
Guide for dating early published music: a manual of bibliographical practice.
Hackensack, N. J. J. Boonin, 1974

Lax, Roger
The great song thesaurus / Roger Lax, Frederick Smith
2nd ed., updated and expanded
New York : Oxford University Press, 1989

Levy, Lester S.
Grace notes in American history; popular sheet music from 1820-1900
Norman, University of Oklahoma Press [1967]

Levy, Lester S.
Picture the songs : lithographs from the sheet music of nineteenth-century America.
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c1976

Library Company of Philadelphia
American song sheets, slip ballads, and poetical broadsides, 1850-1870; a catalogue of the collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia by Edwin Wolf 2nd.
New York, Kraus Reprint Corp., 1963

Lissauer, Robert
Lissauer's encyclopedia of popular music in America : 1888 to the present
New York : Paragon House, 1991

Metcalf, Frank J.
American psalmody; or, Titles of books containing tunes printed in America from 1721 to 1820. Compiled by Frank J. Metcalf. New introd. by Harry Eskew
New York, Da Capo Press, 1968

Music printing and publishing / edited by D.W. Krummel and Stanley Sadie
New York : W.W. Norton, 1990

The New Grove dictionary of American music / edited by H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie ; editorial coordinator Susan Feder
London : Macmillan Press Ltd. ; New York : Grove's Dictionaries of Music Inc., distributor, 1986

Peters, Harry Twyford
America on stone; the other printmakers to the American people; a chronicle of American lithography other than that of Currier & Ives, from its beginning, shortly before 1820, to the years when the commercial single-stone hand-colored lithograph disappear ed from the American scene.
[Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran and Company, inc., c1931]

Popular music, 1900-1919 : an annotated guide to American popular songs, including introductory essay, lyricists and composers index, important performances index, chronological index, and list of publishers./ Barbara Cohen-Stratyner, editor
Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Inc., c1988

Popular music, 1920-1979 : a revised cumulation / Nat Shapiro and Bruce Pollock, editors
Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985

Popular music, 1980-1989 : an annotated guide to American popular songs, including introductory essay, lyricists and composers index, important performances index, chronological index, awards index, and list of publishers / Bruce Pollock, editor
Revised cumulation
Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Inc., c1995

Rabson, Carolyn
The national tune index user's guide : 18th-century secular music / Carolyn Rabson, Kate Van Winkle Keller ; [foreword by Irving Lowens ; introduction by Arthur F. Schrader]
New York: University Music Editions, 1980

Resources of American music history : a directory of source materials from Colonial times to World War II; D. W. Krummel ... [et al.]
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1981.

Sears, Minnie Earl
Song index; an index to more than 12,000 songs in 177 song collections comprising 262 volumes, edited by Minnie Earl Sears, assisted by Phyllis Crawford
New York, The H.W. Wilson Company, 1926

Sears, Minnie Earl
Song index. Supplement; an index to more than 7000 songs in 104 song collections, comprising 124 volumes, edited by Minnie Earl Sears, assisted by Phyliss Crawford. Preface by Isadore Gilbert Mudge
New York, The H. W. Wilson company, 1934

Shapiro, Nat
Popular music (Detroit, Mich.)
Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., c1974-
Note: An annotated index of American popular songs. Edited by Nat Shapiro, v. 1-6 (covering 1920-1969); Bruce Pollock, v. 7- (covering 1970- ). A revised cumulation, 1980-1989, supersedes v. 9 (1980)-14 (1989)

Sonneck, Oscar George Theodore
A bibliography of early secular American music (18th century). Rev. and enl. by William Treat Upton. With a pref. to the Da Capo ed. by Irving Lowens.
New York, Da Capo Press, 1964

Southern, Eileen
Biographical dictionary of Afro-American and African musicians.
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1982

Southern, Eileen
The music of black Americans : a history.
3rd ed
New York : W.W. Norton, c1997

Taft, Michael
Blues lyric poetry : a concordance
New York : Garland Pub., 1984

Tatham, David
The lure of the striped pig; the illustration of popular music in America, 1820-1870
Barre, Mass., Imprint Society, 1973

Wolfe, Richard J.
Secular music in America, 1801-1825 : a bibliography / introd. by Carleton Sprague Smith
New York : The New York Public Library, 1964

Woll, Allen L.
Songs from Hollywood musical comedies, 1927 to the present : a dictionary
New York : Garland Pub., 1976

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