Overview

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 between 2,500 and 3,000 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.

Items in this collection are being processed, catalogued and digitized. Bibliographic records found for each title are exported to the library’s consortial catalog from the OCLC database. For items that are unique to the collection, or items where there is not full bibliographic description available, OCLC records are being enhanced and original cataloging is being contributed to the shared database. At the same time, the digital versions are being uploaded into the 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 and Archives division.

The collection is a window into the world of the early twentieth-century, not only from the music itself, but through the beautiful and creative cover art and advertisements contained within each folio. The depictions of people, costume and customs, along with the lyrics and music of each song, are a marvelous historical resource for analyzing and understanding the popular culture of those times.

News

4/17/2018 -- 707 sheet music folios have been digitized and entered into the DSpace repository.


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