|A hand-made miscellany|
The exhibition coincides with the progress of the Digital Miscellanies Index, a three-year project, led by Dr Abigail Williams, based at the University of Oxford Faculty of English Language and Literature, and funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The project is creating a database of the contents of approximately 1,000 eighteenth-century English poetic miscellanies, popular printed collections of poetry and songs, the majority of which can be found in Harding’s collection. Although the display can do little more than scratch the surface of Harding’s enormous collection, it aims to give a flavour of Harding the man and collector, despite the fact that some aspects of his life and interests could not be represented owing to a lack of space.
The musical portions of the Harding Collection fall into several categories, including English, French and Italian opera scores and vocal scores, English song, folk music, American songs and music hall songs. When the collection was received in 1975, it greatly enriched the Library’s already strong holdings in many of these areas and made it the most important repository of American song material on this side of the Atlantic.
|One of a set of small 16th-cent. |
Italian part books
The exhibition runs until 29th January and, on Wednesday 18th January, there is a related event at which Dr Abigail Williams and Prof. Michael Burden will speak about different aspects of the collection, with some musical entertainment thrown in (see http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/about/exhibitions/events/ragtime-to-riches-celebrating-a-musical-legacy).