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Series 5: Handel Societies and Festivals, 1784-1959
Collection Description & Creator Information
The James S. Hall Collection of George Frideric Handel includes twenty-nine volumes of musical manuscripts of Handel by various 18th-century copyists, mainly anonymous but some identified, most of them collected by James S. Hall, a surgeon by profession and a Handel scholar and collector by avocation. Included are manuscripts of Belshazzar (circa 1744), the nearest in relation to Handel since it is entirely in the hand of John Christopher Smith, Sr., Handel's chief copyist and amanuensis; Alexander Balus (circa 1748) by the copyist "S5", so called by scholar Jens Peter Larson; Joseph, also written by S5; Israel in Egypt (circa 1760) in various hands; Odes for St. Cecilia's Day (1739) and Queen Anne's Birthday (1714), one volume in the hand of several copyists; Te Deum (before 1780), in unidentified hand; the Ayelsford Collection, a set of miscellaneous manuscripts; Messiah and Coronation Anthems, part-book for a bass; a fair copy of Alexanders-Fest, oder, Die Gewalt der Musik . . . (1766-1770); and an English manuscript of the opera Berenice, in the hand of Handel's copyist S2, from the library of Charles Jennens, Handel's patron and librettist of Messiah, and annotated by him.
Other manuscripts include a volume of operatic arias (circa 1738-1743) containing music of Handel and other composers; a folio manuscript book including two Handel pieces; and a photostat of a printed version of Israel in Babylon (1765), a potpourri of Handel's works and some unidentified music. The collection also contains festival medals, portraits of Handel, and prints of city views and churches associated with the composer, as well as an original issue of the London Chronicle, an 18th-century newspaper that reported Handel's burial in Westminster Abbey, and an original watercolor by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, showing a performance of a Handel oratorio at Convent Garden before its 1808 fire. In addition, the papers of James S. Hall are comprised of correspondence, including letters by Benjamin Britten, counter-tenor Alfred Deller, harpsichordist Thurston Dart, Handel collectors Sir Newman Flower and William Charles Smith, and various other composers, performers, scholars and collectors, as well as subject files, including articles by Hall and material relating to Handel festivals and societies, especially the Deal and Walmer Handelian Society which he founded in 1946.
For a more descriptive look at the collection, see: Knapp, J. Merrill. "The Hall Handel Collection," Princeton University Library Chronicle, Vol. XXXVI, No. 1 [Autumn, 1974], pp. 3-18.
Not arranged according to any arrangement scheme.
- Archival Appraisal Information:
No appraisal information is available.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
- Credit this material:
Series 5: Handel Societies and Festivals; James S. Hall Collection of George Frideric Handel, C0640, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Firestone LibraryOne Washington RoadPrinceton, NJ 08544, USA(609) 258-3184
- Storage Note:
- Firestone Library (mss): Box 7-9