Vaughan Williams Memorial Library

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The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library

The library of the English Folk Dance and Song Society is called the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) in honour of the eminent composer, song collector and President of the EFDSS, Ralph Vaughan Williams, who died in 1958. Up until then it was called the Cecil Sharp Library because it chiefly comprised Sharp’s personal library, which he bequeathed to the EFDS in 1924. Its first permanent home was established with the opening of Cecil Sharp House in 1930, and Sharp’s daughter Joan Sharp was the first librarian. With the amalgamation of EFDS and the Folk-Song Society and subsequent bequests, donations and purchases, the library has developed considerably over the years, most notably with the addition of the literature, sound and manuscript collections of other eminent folklorists and collectors of the twentieth century. These include the original papers of Lucy Broadwood, Janet Blunt, Anne Gilchrist, Maud Karpeles, George Butterworth, George Gardiner, the Hammond Brothers and Francis Collinson; copies of the papers and notebooks of Sabine Baring-Gould, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frank Kidson, Gavin Greig and James Madison Carpenter; and the field recordings of Percy Grainger, Mike Yates and the BBC Folk Music Archive. VWML is England’s national folk music and dance archive - a one stop shop for anybody interested in the folk arts.

Details of collections, services and opening hours at

Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Online