Binder’s Volumes

Musicking in the 19th Century

Harriet Pearce Spozzi

(1796-1865), Hereford, UK

Remembrances of the Civil War

Boston Public Library

George O. Farmer

American Antiquarian Society

Personal representations

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library

Binder’s volumes constitute perhaps the best musical artifact of music making–and they are often one of the few extant objects that represent a person’s existence.

Musicologists in the United States have adopted the term “binder’s volumes” to describe bound collections of music. By 1830, most of these consisted mainly of printed sheet music, although manuscript additions or even completely handwritten volumes can be found.

This website provides information on binder’s volumes: provenance, contents, unique facts, links with other volumes, etc. The volumes chosen reflect my research, which has largely centered on the US South but is expanding to include a much broader geographical area. Since at least hundreds of thousands of these exist, it will necessarily be incomplete.

If you would like to contribute information to this site, please contact me.

How to use this site

This site lists the owners of binder’s volumes that have been identified through evidence in the sources themselves. Biographical information, if available, follows the name, as well as images. Each entry includes the current location (with call number if applicable) of each volume that belonged to the listed owner.

  • UNC – Music Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • CPM, MTSU – Center for Popular Music, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro
  • LOC – Music Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  • BPL – Music, Boston Public Library
  • AAS – American Antiquarian Society