Historical Popular Sheet Music Collection

Permanent URI for this collection


The Historical Popular Sheet Music Collection at Reed Library is an interesting and colorful collection of music, given to the library many years ago by an anonymous donor. The collection contains nearly 1,000 folios of sheet music, consisting mostly of popular songs and instrumental music from the late 19th-century through the 1950s, with the majority of the pieces being composed from the 1910s through the 1920s. Many of the items found in this collection are preserved by only a few libraries, and a fair number of the musical folios are unique to this library.

The digital versions are being uploaded into this SUNY DSpace repository, with appropriate metadata being input for each piece. Items from the collection that are in the public domain are freely available through the DSpace repository as PDFs. The original musical folios for the entire collection will be kept and preserved in the library’s Special Collections & Archives Division.

A Note About the Collection

The collection is a window into the world of the early 20th-century, not only from the music itself, but through the advertisements and artistry of the covers contained within each folio. The depiction of people, costume, and customs, along with the lyrics and music of each song, is an exceptional historical resource for analyzing and understanding the popular culture of those times.

Some of these historical primary sources, however, contain offensive images and text. SUNY Fredonia and Reed Library do not condone the negative content reflecting stereotypical views and attitudes of the past. All sheet music is included in this collection without censorship as a means of education, research, and insight into the nation's history.

Can't find what you're looking for? Check out these digital sheet music collections at other institutions!

Arizona State University

York University

Library of Congress

University of Maine

Duke University

Baylor University

Connecticut College

Ithaca College

Ball State University

Johns Hopkins University

Mississippi State University

New York Public Library

University of Mississippi

Victoria and Albert Museum

University of Alabama

University of Tennessee Knoxville


4/7/2023 -- 1090 sheet music folios have been digitized and entered into the DSpace repository.


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c2024 Daniel A. Reed Library, The State University of New York at Fredonia