Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Smith, William Charles
William Charles Smith Correspondence
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.4 linear feet
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists chiefly of correspondence of British musicologist William Charles Smith related to music and to George Frederic Handel.

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists chiefly of correspondence of British musicologist William Charles Smith related to music and to George Frederic Handel. The correspondents represent a large group of musicians, composers, music editors and critics, music librarians, conductors, publishers, antiquarians and booksellers, authors, and music bibliographers. Correspondents include Elkin Mathews, Ltd., regarding Handel items for sale; the English conductor Charles Frederick Farncombe regarding opera performances; and Cecil Hopkinson of The First Edition Bookshop, Ltd., about purchasing Handel items. Other correspondents include Jacob Maurice Coopersmith, Thurston Dart, Winton Dean, Sir George Dyson, Sir Newman Flower, Julian Herbage, Jens Peter Larsen, Hans Lenneberg, Anthony Lewis, C. V. Pilkington of Sotheby & Co., Brian Priestman, Hans Ferdinand Redlich, Stanley Sadie, Percy Alfred Scholes, and John Tobin. In addition, there are forty-five autograph letters and cards between Smith and J. Merrill Knapp regarding music and Handel. Accompanying some of the correspondence is handwritten music.


Folders are arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Collection Creator Biography:

Smith, William Charles

William Charles Smith was Assistant Keeper of the Department of Printed Books, King's Library, at the British Museum, and was also a Handel expert. Smith published several books on music in general and about Handel, his life and works, in particular. Some of Smith's publications include A Bibliography of Musical Works Published by the Firm of John Walsh During the Years 1721-1766; George Frederic Handel, His Life and Works; Essays (1948); George Frederic Handel: His Personality and His Times (1947), with Newman Flower; Handel: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Early Editions (1970); A Handelian's Notebook (1965); and Recently-Discovered Handel Manuscripts (1937)

Collection History


All material except for Knapp correspondence was purchased on May 17, 1974 .

Correspondence with J. Merrill Knapp was given by the office of Princeton University professor J. Merrill Knapp after his death, on November 5, 1993 .

Custodial History

The collection was formed as a result of a Departmental practice of combining into one collection material of various accessions relating to a particular person, family, or subject.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Dina Britain on August 8, 2007. Finding aid written by Traci Ballou-Broadnax on August 9, 2007. Folder Inventory added by Hilde Creager (2015) in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing 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:

William Charles Smith Correspondence; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1