The RCM library contains a wealth of material.
Click on the links below to search its collections and catalogues.
Collections and hand lists
At present there is no single, integrated catalogue of the RCM’s Special Collections in the library.
A small proportion of our special collections is fully catalogued so can be searched in the library catalogue.
Part of the manuscript collection is only listed; this list can be found and searched MSS - Additional.
The remaining collections are unlisted. This material is stored as named collections. A complete list of the named collections in the RCM Library is below:
Herbert Kennedy Andrews: Collection of autograph manuscripts and research materials (relating to his publications on 16th century music) of this 20th century composer and organist who taught at the RCM (8 boxes) HK Andrews collection handlist (PDF) or see the library catalogue.
Artists' Brochures: Both individuals and agents' brochures - approximately 2000 items, arranged by size and then alphabetically. No comprehensive finding aid, but lists of contents for agents' brochures (3 boxes, offsite storage)
Australian Music Centre collection (fully catalogued in the library catalogue)
Bechstein Company & Bechstein Hall: Ledgers recording the bookings of the hall (now the Wigmore Hall) and the sale of pianos by the London branch of this German firm. Late 19th to mid-20th centuries.
Beck: (1 box, off-site storage)
William Sterndale Bennett:
James Bernard: Manuscript film scores (9 boxes)
New Berlioz Edition An archive comprising both copies of the original sources used in the preparation of the New Berlioz Edition, and the administrative records of the Edition. (fully searchable here)
Boosey & Hawkes Collection: Royalty ledgers, hire library and production department records. No finding aid available.
Adrian Boult: Printed full scores, letters & other papers, John Bull printing set
John Braham: Autograph scores of vocal works, late 18th & early 19th centuries (1 box)
David Branson: Music MSS, research papers on Field (5 boxes)
Alexander Brent-Smith: LOAN - Music MSS (incl orchestral parts)+(part), (some) diaries
Havergal Brian: large collection of autograph manuscripts of this idiosyncratic 20th century composer (1876-1972), including full scores and/or drafts of symphonies 2-32, concertos, other orchestral works, operas and choral works Havergal Brian collection (PDF)
Frank Bridge: Largest single collection of autograph manuscripts of this 20th century composer (1879-1941) who studied at the RCM, together with a small number of letters to members of the Speyer family and others.
or see library catalogue
Leslie Bridgewater: (1 box)
James and Sebastian Brown: Autograph compositions, arrangements and editions (especially for violin) by father & son (21 boxes)
Frank Bury: (1 box)
Victor Butler: (1 box)
Jack Byfield: (1 box)
Margaret Campbell [Dolmetsch]: Research papers of Margaret Campbell relating to the Dolmetsch family (10 boxes)
Capricorn Ensemble: Collection of performing material used by the Capricorn Ensemble (founded 1973), presented in memory of its founder, Timothy Mason (died 1997). Not kept as a discrete collection, but contents fully catalogued in the Online Catalogue
Mora Carroll: The collection is made up of late 18th & 19th century music & books. There is a strong emphasis on early editions of Dussek’s music and a large number of albums of music created by 19th century owners. The collection also includes Mrs Carroll’s dissertation “J L Dussek and his role in the development of the piano repertory”(3 boxes plus 8 boxes in off-site storage)
Clive Carey: Music MSS, articles, letters, lecture notes#(part) Clive Carey Handlist (PDF)
Cavendish collection (Boosey & Hawkes)
Certificates: A small collection of 19th and 20th-century designs (1 box, off-site storage)
Joan Chissell: papers relating to her work as a music critic and research into Robert and Clara Schumann and other figures. Not yet catalogued.
Eric Coates: Comprehensive collection of autograph manuscripts of this important composer of light music (1886-1957) Eric Coates handlist (in progress).
Avril Coleridge-Taylor: Collection of autograph manuscripts of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's daughter (1903-1998) (5 boxes) Avril Coleridge-Taylor Handlist (PDF)
Lawrance Collingwood: Collection of autograph manuscripts of this conductor and composer (1887-1982). Lawrance Collingwood Handlist (PDF)
Gertrude Collins collection: collection of manuscript material [to be completed]
Concert, Opera and Ballet Programmes: c600,000 programmes, covering the whole world, but with a strong emphasis on Great Britain. See also the Concert Programmes Project for an online catalogue of part of these holdings. Handlists are also available for some parts of the collection.
Concerts of Ancient Music Library: Large collection of programmes and printed and manuscript scores used by this aristocratic concert-giving society (1776-1848) which only performed works at least 20 years old and favoured Italian and English vocal and instrumental music from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Society’s printed catalogue (1791) is available in the Donaldson Room, and the contents of the collection were included in the Catalogue of Printed Music (1909), typescript Manuscript Catalogue and (in part) in the current Online Catalogue.
Benjamin Cooke: Collection of autograph manuscripts and copies of works by other composers of this 18th-century composer, organist, conductor and theorist (1734-1793). Fully catalogued in the Online catalogue.
Cowden-Clarke and Novello families: small collection of archival material relating to the Cowden-Clarke and Novello families. Hand list in progress. PDF
Peter Crossley-Holland: Comprehensive collection of manuscripts of this 20th century composer and teacher, together with a small number of letters. Peter Crossley-Holland Manuscript (PDF)
Adrian Cruft: Complete archive of manuscripts, correspondence and business papers. Initial deposit of manuscripts catalogued, papers not catalogued (off-site storage)
A R Cripps: (2 boxes)
Crystal Palace Programmes: Incomplete set of programmes for the Saturday orchestral concerts (185x-190x), the majority owned and annotated by Grove
Curwen Collection: Small collection of manuscripts formerly in the Curwen hire library [MSS 4834-53, 4856-59, 5820-40, 7518, 7732, 7981, 7982D, 8300b-c, 8580-81, 8578]
Cuttings Collection: Reviews, programme notes, periodical articles, newspaper cuttings, albums and scrapbooks dating from 1870 to the present day. Arranged and indexed by subject. Off-site storage)
Edward Dannreuther: Music MSS, writings (5 boxes)
Harold Darke: a) collection of autograph manuscripts and b) collection of concert & recital programmes of this 20th century composer and organist (1888-1967). a) Harold Darke, manuscripts Harold Darke Handlist (PDF) b) handlist is not yet available.
Fanny Davies: Collection of annotated scores of chamber music by Brahms and Schumann from the collection of this celebrated pianist (1861-1934), together with private papers and correspondence (including letters to & from Clara Schumann & her family). Further material relating to the administration of Davies’ estate is to be found in the Marion Scott collection.
Fanny Davies, Papers (PDF)
Fanny Davies Manuscripts (PDF)
Henry Walford Davies: An almost-complete collection of autograph manuscripts by this underestimated composer (1869-1941), together with a large collection of papers and correspondence relating to his important work in music education, as a pioneer broadcaster, and as a composer, editor and conductor. Henry Walford Davies Handlist (PDF)
Norman Del Mar: Collection of orchestral parts for his own compositions and programme notes by this well-known conductor (1919- ) who taught for many years at the RCM. The college’s orchestral library also contains material from Del Mar’s own collection of orchestral parts (20 boxes)
Dewar / Sevcik: Spreadsheet available (10 boxes, off-site storage)
Bernard van Dieren: Extensive collection of manuscript editions by Denys ap Ivor of works by van Dieren. Presented by the editor.
Rudolph Dolmetsch: Extensive collection of autograph manuscripts of this composer and early music enthusiast. Son of the early music pioneer Arnold Dolmetsch, his life (1906-42) was cut short by WW II. The collection is llisted in the typescript Catalogue of Additional Manuscripts
George Dorlay: Music MSS (3 boxes)
Madeleine Dring: Collection of autograph manuscripts of this mid-20th century composer (1923-77) and actress. Madeleine Dring Handlist (PDF)
Thomas Dunhill: Collection of autograph manuscripts, letters, diaries, lectures, notebooks, &c. of this almost-forgotten 20th century composer (1878-1946) (24 boxes) Thomas Dunhill, lectures, notebooks etc (PDF) and Manuscripts (PDF)
George Dyson: Collection of autograph manuscripts by this former RCM scholar who later returned as director (1883 -1964). Handlist of more recent accessions available; earlier accessions listed in the typescript Catalogue of Additional Manuscripts. George Dyson Handlist (PDF)
Ruth Dyson: (6 boxes)
Rupert Erlebach: Autograph manuscripts, presented 2015 (2 boxes)
John Farrell collection: Through a kind donation from Mr Tony Luker, RCM Library has acquired the John Farrell Collection of early jazz transcriptions and midi files. A list of works can be seen here: John Farrell Music List (PDF)
T P Fielden: (1 box)
Hermann Finck (ex Boosey & Hawkes): Autograph manuscripts, principally of stage works, songs, & film scores. Some printed scores (26 boxes)
Louis von der Finck (ex Boosey & Hawkes): Autograph manuscripts & some printed scores. Uncle of Hermann Finck (2 boxes)
Maurice Frost: LOAN - A collection of psalm and hymn books, both words and music, from the 16th to the early 20th centuries (but predominantly dating from the 16th-18th centuries), with some related literature, collected by the Rev. Maurice Frost (d.1961) and bequeathed by him to the Royal School of Church Music (who subsequently placed it on deposit at the RCM). 538 items. Card catalogue available.
Julian Gardiner: Music MSS (14 boxes, off-site storage)
Geraldo collection (handlist available, ask the Orchestral Librarian)
Cecil Armstrong Gibbs: collection of manuscripts by this mid-20th century composer (1889- 1960), some of them acquired from the former hire library of Messrs Curwen and Company Armstrong Gibbs Handlist (PDF)
Reginald Goodall: collection of full and miniature scores, many heavily marked, from the library of the celebrated Wagner conductor. Presented by the donor. Handlist not yet available.
Oliver Horsley Gotch: Music MSS
Ralph Greaves: Music MSS (1 box)
Griffiths: (5 boxes,1 score)
George Grove: A large part of Grove’s musical library, first Director of the RCM, who presented the first tranche in 1891. This includes:-
- books, periodicals, pamphlets, manuscripts, letters & programmes. This is not kept as a discrete collection. About 250 items
- A large collection of letters written by Grove, especially to Edith Oldham.
- Crystal Palace Saturday concert programmes, with Grove’s annotations. (see Crystal Palace Programmes above)
- Letters#, commonplace books#, farewell address#, desk, annotated programmes George Grove Handlist of Letters and Papers (PDF). George Grove Letters to Max Friedländer (PDF)
Inglis Gundry collection: Substantial archive of autograph manuscripts, performing material, and papers of this RCM-trained mid 20th-century composer and lecturer (1905-2000).
Ivor Gurney: Small collection of material by or relating to Ivor Gurney and including letters, autograph manuscripts. Ivor Gurney Handlist (PDF)
William Lewarne Harris: Loan (4 boxes)
Harrison sisters: Substantial part of the music library of the three sisters, Beatrice, Margaret & May, including works written for them and a considerable quantity of correspondence. A large part of the music library of the three Harrison sisters, Beatrice, May and Margaret, including a number of works written for them and a considerable number of letters. Placed on deposit by the Harrison Sisters Trust. Of national importance about 4000 musical scores (incl. about 200 MSS); about 1000 letters, Subjects: Music; Violin music; Violoncello music, Formats: Letters; Printed and manuscript music scores Dates: 20th century. Printed and MS music, letters. On deposit from the Harrison Sisters Trust (37 boxes) Harrison sisters collection catalogue (PDF)
Thomas Henderson: (3 boxes)
Heron-Allen: Large collection of works on stringed instruments, their history, construction, players and place in fiction, etc, assembled by Edward Heron-Allen (1861-1943), principally in the last two decades of the 19th century. It includes proof copies of all Heron-Allen’s publications
Further information on the Heron-Allen collection is available on Cecilia
For information on Edward Heron-Allen visit the Heron-Allen Society website
View Index of the Heron-Allen miscellanea (PDF)
Leslie Heward collection: A collection of manuscripts by this composer and conductor (1897-1943). Handlist in process of revision (4 boxes)
Gustav Holst: A small but important collection of manuscripts and letters by this leading early 20th century composer (1874-1934), including a number of arrangements for piano duet or two pianos. Some are autograph, some are in the hands of his amanuenses Norah Day and Valley Lasker. Handlist in process of revision. Gustav Holst (PDF)
Herbert Howells: Outstanding collection of autograph manuscripts, letters, writings & other papers distinguished 20th-century composer who studied and taught at the RCM (1892-1983). Music manuscripts fully catalogued in the Online catalogue, handlists of letters and papers available.
Herbert Howells, papers (PDF)
Herbert Howells, letters (PDF)
William Hurlstone: Collection of music manuscripts & papers of this remarkably promising but short-lived composer (1876-1906) who studied and taught at the RCM (4 boxes)
Hymn Society Library: Collection of Hymnals (both words only and full music editions) and related literature. Card catalogue available at the RCM. On deposit from the Hymn Society about 250 items.
Ibbs & Tillett Collection: Substantial archive, circa 1920-70, of this leading artists’ agency. Contents include ledgers, programs, photograph, contracts and correspondence. Not yet catalogued.
John Ireland: Collection of letters from John Ireland to Peter Crossley Holland, together with other papers relating to Ireland and a handful of music manuscripts. : Letters and writings on John Ireland (PDF)
Ifor James: (1 box)
Francis Jefferies: Music MSS (1 box)
Alan Jefferson: (7 boxes)
Percy Kahn: (15 boxes and full cores package)
A G Laing:
Basil Lam: Programme notes
John Lambert: Comprehensive collection of autograph manuscripts of this important composer and teacher of composition, who numbered Julian Anderson, Simon Bainbridge, Oliver Knussen and Mark-Anthony Turnage among his pupils. Not yet catalogued (22 boxes, full scores)
CS Lang: Collection of autograph manuscripts, principally of unpublished works – orchestral, instrumental and choral – by this New Zealand-born composer (1891-1971) who studied at the RCM and was later Director of Music at Christ’s Hospital. Catalogued in the Catalogue of Additional Manuscripts, Part 2 (available on-site only).
Robert Langley: Collection of research materials, including many photocopies of manuscript and printed sources, for composers in whom he had an interest, notably Dussek, Field, Charles & Samuel Wesley. Uncatalogued, but boxed by subject matter. No handlist available (55 boxes)
Vally Lasker: MSS of Holst, RVW, etc (not kept as a collection)
Remo Lauricella: Collection of autograph manuscripts of this composer and violinist (1912-2003) who studied at the RCM, where he was a friend of Britten’s. Uncatalogued. Handlist not yet available (20 boxes and LPs)
Early libretti: Collection of opera libretti and oratorio word-books dating from the end of the 17th to the early 20th centuries. A card index of early libretti has been scanned.
Samuel Liddle: Small collection of manuscript & printed [?] music (1 box)
Charles Thornton Lofthouse: Collection of papers relating to the career of this conductor, pianist, harpsichordist and teacher, who studied and taught at the RCM and was a significant figure in the 20th-century revival of the harpsichord. Not yet catalogued (27 boxes and full score items)
Kathleen Long: Piano transcriptions (MS) (printed & MS) (2 boxes)
Joe Loss : Collection of band music some of which is on the online catalogue (select the collection tab). There is also the original card catalogue.
August Manns and the Crystal Palace: Small collection relating to Manns, supplemented by programmes for the Crystal Palace Saturday Concerts (off-site storage)
Betty Matthews collection (fully catalogued in the online catalogue): Research papers, relating to the organ, organists and church music, principally of the 18th and 19th centuries (13 boxes, off-sit storage)
J H Maunder: Small collection of manuscript music (1 box)
Graham Melville-Mason: Basset-horn collection (database available, or view PDF of Melville Mason Catalogue)(off-site storage)
RO Morris: R O Morris, manuscripts (PDF)
Angus Morrison: Papers relating to Constant Lambert
Mumford collection: Collection of autograph manuscripts and orchestral parts by the Newcastle-based Charles E. Mumford. Presented by Adrian Mumford. No catalogue or handlist yet available (3 folders)
Music Publishers' Catalogues: c2,000 late 19th and early 20th-century catalogues, for the most part presented by the late Major Cecil Hopkinson. Supplementary collection of publishing ephemera (offsite-storage)
Stanley Myers: Film music MSS (18 boxes)
National Music Council Archive [NMC]: (2 boxes and 1 oversize picture)
New Berlioz Edition: An archive comprising both copies of the original sources used in the preparation of the New Berlioz Edition, and the administrative records of the Edition. Click here
Nixon Collection: Collection of printed and manuscript music and other papers of two generations of the Nixon family, Henry and Henry Cotter Nixon, 19th century Roman Catholic organists and composers (18 boxes)
Novello: collection of manuscript scores mostly acquired in 1965 when the firm vacated its Wardour Street premises. The material falls into several categories: A) 18th & early 19th century manuscripts from the collection of Vincent Novello (1781-1861); B) full scores (some autograph) of works – principally choral, but including some orchestral pieces – formerly in the firm’s Hire Library; C) miscellaneous manuscripts of smaller-scale material from the Novello archive bought at Sotheby’s D) bound copies.
Includes manuscripts by the following composers listed individually: Coleridge-Taylor, Walford Davies, Stainer, Stanford. Novello & Co. MSS handlist (typescript catalogue of the collection including autopgraph scores of Vincent Novello)
Obituaries: Newspaper obituaries - about 2,000 items, arranged alphabetically by subject. No comprehensive list (off-site storage)
Norman O'Neill: Substantial collection of autograph manuscripts of this early 20th-century composer (1875-1934), best-known for his works for the theatre (3 boxes) Norman O'Neil PDF
Opperby-Stokowski collection: Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) was a leading 20th century conductor and one time RCM pupil. Preben Opperby was a Danish school teacher who collected Stokowskiana (Click here for more information).
The collection is searchable within the main library catalogue here [Click collection tab and Select Opperby/Stokowski - other filters can also be applied]
Pamphlets: Collection of pamphlets, etc, mostly on musical subjects, many of which were collected by, or presented to, George Grove. 18th to early 20th centuries. There is a card catalogue.
Clifton Parker: Music MSS (incl film scores)
Hubert Parry: Manuscripts of musical compositions, lectures and correspondence of Sir Hubert Parry (1848-1918), second Director of the RCM.Presented (or purchased) at various times between 1921 and the present (11 boxes) Hubert Parry Collection
Periodicals: Runs (mostly incomplete) of The Illustrated London News, Musica, The Musical Times, and other periodicals. Collected for their illustrative content.
Dora M Powell ["Dorabella"]: Diaries and letters.
Mary Ramsay: Collection of 12 scrapbooks, containing programmes & newspaper cuttings etc, charting the career of the singer and RCM Alumna Mary Ramsay from 1912 to 1956.
William H Reed: Collection of autograph manuscripts and a few scripts for talks of this violinist and composer (1876-1942), who was a friend of Elgar, led the LSO and taught at the RCM.
William Leonard Reed: collection of autograph manuscripts of this mid-20th-century composer (8 boxes) William Leonard Reed, manuscripts (PDF)
Percy Rideout: Collection of autograph manuscripts, letters, programmes, articles, &c., of this organist and composer (18-195-) who studied at the RCM and for over 50 years played at the West London Synagogue. Percy Rideout (PDF)
Tony Roberts: Small collection of manuscript music by this Wolverhampton-based composer (1 box)
Jasper Rooper: Small collection of autograph manuscripts by this former RCM student (1898-1981) (4 boxes and sets) Jasper Rooper, manuscripts (PDF)
Frederick Rothwell collection: archive of the London organ-building firm of Frederick Rothwell & Co. (1890-1960), including details of orders, financial records, diaries, etc (24 boxes)
Dudley & Matrilda Rothwell: Diaries etc (7 boxes & 8 books)
RCM History: Photographs and prints (views and events): c. 600 items, from 1870s to the present day. Building plans, architects' correspondence, related literature, prospectuses, gift book. The RCM Institutional Archive also contains much information about the RCM's history, student records, etc. The library holds sets of programmes for RCM concerts.
Royal School of Church Music:
Sacred Harmonic Society: very large collection of printed and manuscript music, books, libretti, etc, dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, presented to the RCM after the demise of the Society (1832-82). Not kept as a discrete collection, but identifiable from the published library catalogue. Much of the printed music has been included in the Library’s online catalogue.
Leonard Salzedo: Substantial collection of manuscripts, printed copies and performance material (including orchestral parts) of this violinist and composer (1921-2000) who studied at the RCM (8 boxes, 22 folders) see also the online catalogue.
Leonard Salzedo, works (PDF)
More information about Leonard Salzedo available on the Salzedo website
Albert Sammons: Music MSS, cadenza for Beethoven Vln concerto (1 box)
Malcolm Sargent: The working collection of Sir Malcolm Sargent, comprising full scores, vocal scores and orchestral parts
(card catalogue available, ask the Orchestral Librarian)
Neil Saunders: Music MSS (10 boxes)
Cyril Scott: (1 box)
Marion Scott : Collection of writings, including criticism, and early compositions. Research papers on Haydn, papers relating to Fanny Davies & Ivor Gurney, MS compositions (11 boxes, 21 books & 2 scrapbooks)
Humphrey Searle: Letters, papers and photos (6 boxes & 5 scrapbooks)
Christopher Shaw: (2 boxes & 2 scores
Harold Watkins Shaw: Collection of research papers, family documents, photographs, &c., of this editor, musicologist & Keeper of the RCM Parry Room Library (1971-81) (9 boxes and books)
Victor Silvester : collection of books, music and recordings. An incomplete database is now available on the online catalogue (select the collection tab)
Ethel Smyth collection: Ethel Smyth manuscript (PDF)
Society of Women Musicians: surviving archive of this pioneering society (1911-72) whose founders had close links with the RCM. The contents include minute books, lists of members, scrap books, &c. Not yet catalogued. (Society of Women Musicians)
Arthur Somervell: Small collection of autograph manuscripts of this RCM-trained composer (1863-1937).
John Stainer: Small collection of autograph manuscripts and papers of this composer, organist and educator (1840-1901), who had been Principal of the RCM’s predecessor, the National Training School for Music. John Stainer, manuscripts (PDF)
Charles Villiers Stanford: Collection of autograph manuscripts, principally full scores of operas, choral and orchestral works, of this Anglo-Irish composer (1852-1924) who was the RCM’s first professor of composition. It also includes letters to and from the composer.Charles Villiers Stanford, additional manuscripts (PDF)
Leopold Stokowski (Opperby-Stokowski collection) (images, information and fully searchable database here)
Edward Taylor: Collection of autograph manuscripts and lecture scripts of this singer, writer and music editor (1784-1863). Edward Taylor, manuscripts (PDF)
CS Terry: Collection of research materials relating to various members of the Bach family (including reproductions of several works destroyed in WW2), copies of his editions and translations, and scores from his library, of this historian and Bach scholar (1864-1936). Hard copy catalogue available in the Library.
Thames TV archive: Large collection of television scores deposited by Thames TV. Uncatalogued.
Ticket Design: A small collection of engraved tickets and original designs (off-site storage)
Tonic Sol-Fa College collection
Vaughan Williams collection: Vaughan Williams, manuscripts (PDF)
Wesley family: collection of autograph manuscripts of Charles Wesley (1757-1834), his brother Samuel (1766-1837) and Samuel’s son Samuel Sebastian (1810-76), together with letters, note books, etc. Handlists available.
Wessex Philharmonic collection: Collection of archival material relating to this orchestra,formed during World War II and conducted by Reginald Goodall.
Stanley Wilson: Collection of autograph manuscripts by this mid-20th century composer (18---195-) who studied at the RCM.
John Wilson collection – hymnology (fully catalogued in the Online Catalogue)
Nicanor Zabaleta harp collection
Zabaleta Orchestra (PDF)
Zabaleta Solos A - M (PDF)
Zabaleta Solos M - Z (PDF)
More detailed descriptions of some of the above can be found at