Guide to the Papers of Kenneth Snell
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- Kenneth Snell
- Papers of Kenneth Snell
- Date Range
- Collection Number
- MS 4932
- 10.9 metres (64 boxes), 1 folio box
- Language of Materials
- National Library of Australia
Scope and Content
The collection consists of files relating to Snell's book and music selling business, his research into 19th century music printing and publishing in Australia, and research for his popular music indexes. Snell's difficulty with dating Colonial music led to the gradual building up of working files. Sydney and provincial printers' addresses from Ferguson's Bibliography of Australia formed the basis of a database, and to this index were added printed addresses from dated sheet music, information from his own and Library card indexes of music publishers and printers, information from newspapers, maps, street and post office directories, and information from photocopied sheet music covers. Handwritten lists, and annotated published lists and printouts supporting his research, form a major part of this collection, much of which was incorporated into his published popular music indexes.
In addition, there are files of research material relating to band music, research into Waltzing Matilda and Matilda's ancestry, copies from books, articles and Sydney directories, newspaper advertisements and cuttings, extracts from 19th century magazines, microfilm and fiche of early newspapers and directories, all forming the basis of research into music publishing in Australia.
A large collection of book labels from the music and publishing world are a visually and historically interesting part of the Snell collection.
Conditions Governing Access
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn788516).
Conditions Governing Use
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Kenneth Snell, National Library of Australia, MS 4932, [series and/or file number]'.
The papers were purchased by the Library in 1994.
Kenneth Snell, bookseller, music seller, and bibliographer, was born in 1940. His great interest was the history of music publishing, particularly music published in 19th century Australia. Many years of meticulous research, all documented, were to help with dating Colonial music, and with compiling his three Australian popular music indexes, arranged by title, author, and lyricist. The indexes were published between 1987 and 1991. When he died in 1993, he had another edition of his music index almost ready for publication.
Snell's book and music shop changed addresses several times: Buckland Valley via Porepunkah, 11 Station Street, Malvern, 113 and 169 Waverley Road, East Malvern, 44 Catherine Road, East Bentleigh and 38 Wamba Road, East Bentleigh.
Correspondence is mainly from friends and acquaintances making contributions to Snell's research project, the popular music indexes. Correspondents include Pat Ward, Arthur Miller, Geoff Hayes, Peter Burgis, Jack Mitchell, Roslyn Maguire, Etta Clark, and the Fellowship of Australian Discographers.
The business correspondence in this series includes correspondence with the National Library and with State Libraries. There are handwritten lists and annotated printouts of names and addresses of customers, typed cards of customers' names and addresses, and sales files from 1987-93.
The handwritten drafts and notes in this series are the result of extensive research. There are biographies of early colonial engravers, printers and lithographers, William Baker, John Carmichael, John Allan, John Austin, Raphael Clint, J. G. Austin, Francis Cunninghame and Thomas Trood; lists of music titles and musicians, 1835-1880; dates of musical comedies and pantomimes c.1885; dates of Australian and overseas opera seasons 1850-1870; drafts of the preface to the composer and title indexes of Australian Popular Music; and a binder of research notes from the Sydney Gazette 1813-30, the Australian 1824-26, Sydney Monitor 1826-37, and the Sydney Times 1834-38.
Snell's research into musicians and music publishers is brought together in this series. Copies of handwritten cards have information added over a period of 14 years for colonial and early 20th century composers, lyricists, publishers, performers, performing groups, and organizations. Binders have handwritten lists of Australian colonial music sellers and publishers (J. R. Clarke, Woolcott and Clark), annotated alphabetical listings of printers, publishers, engravers, lithographic printers, booksellers and stationers, musical instrument makers and importers; handwritten lists of businesses connected with Snell's interests, compiled from various newspapers and directories, 1835-47. There are copies of covers for music composed by F. A. Packer and W. Vincent Wallace, Australian Bibliographic Network printouts of Australian patriotic songs, and a printout of Australian location songs and music. There are research files on Waltzing Matilda and Dudley Glass, biographical files which include information on Gertrude Johnson, Daisy Kennedy, Valda Aveling, Robert Helpmann, Alfred Hill, Sir Bernard Heinze, Dame Nellie Melba, Hephzibah Menuhin, Raymond Myers, Wilma Berkeley, and Marguerite Henderson.
Snell's volumes of handwritten and printed notes and lists of colonial printers and engravers include the names John Allan, John Austin, J. G. Austin, W. M. Baker, E. D. Barron, John Carmichael, Samuel Clayton, F. Cunninghame, William Moffitt, Charles Rodius, J. S. Prout and F. Mansell. There are hand written notes on the history of the companies, J Albert & Son, Allen & Co, Chappell & Co, A M Dinsdale, Mullens and W.H. Paling; a handwritten list of Melbourne lithographers and engravers 1851-96; US printers; a photocopy of Handbook of early American sheet music 1768-1889, giving printers and lithographers, and a handwritten list of Melbourne lithographers and engravers 1851-1896. The biographies of printers and publishers in the series are mainly copies from the Australian Dictionary of Biography and include Edmund Thomas, Richard Jones, John Lewin, Richard Read and William Moffitt.
Also in the series is a card index of Australian printers and publishers, 1858-1900, compiled from Sands.
Dating Australian music required a knowledge of which businesses were conducted at particular addresses at specific times. Snell used data from computer programs which extracted information in various sequences. From Ferguson's Bibliography of Australia entries were input for Sydney and provincial printers and engravers and lists produced in alphabetical and chronological sequence. Details of printers' addresses from dated sheet music were added to the list, as well as information from the National Library card index of musical publishers and printers compiled from Sydney directories and other sources.
There are printouts for composers and lyricists, with information for the database taken from photocopied sheet music covers.
Information from 19th century microfilm directories and Sydney newspapers, as detailed in Series 15, was added to the database. In total, the annotated printouts contain information on businesses, Sydney and Melbourne bookshops, music sellers, streets, music and musicians, printers, composers,engravers, lithographers and publishers.
Also in this series is a printout listing of a sheet music collection that was open to the public by appointment only, Etta's sheet music collection; 19th and early 20th century Australian patriotic songs 1900-60; and a listing of concerts 1839-49 advertised in the Australasian Chronicle.
This series consists of research into early Sydney streets, with maps, charts, street guides and directories annotated with dates, addresses and names. There are handwritten lists of early colonial streets from the Sydney Gazette, including Pitt 1803-1810, Bridge, and Chapel Row (later Castlereagh); hand written chronological listings of sites and occupants of King Street, 1844-82, George Street,1815-69, Bridge Street, 1844-69, and Pitt Street, 1832-69; early maps and charts of various parts of Sydney annotated and highlighted; a street index, 1804-99, showing businesses (Ferguson printout); handwritten lists of businesses in Sydney streets, George, Pitt, Bligh, Castlereagh, Hunter, Macquarie Place, O'Connell, Phillip, and Essex Lane; and annotated plans of streets and buildings.
Stages in the publication of the three indexes- Australian popular music: title index, Australian popular music: composer index, and Australian popular music: lyricist index. Series consists of research notes, corrected proofs, layouts, printouts, unbound completed copies, and annotated copies of the published indexes. Also included are letters to Snell after the publication of his indexes.
Files of research material relating to band music, band composers, and publishers. Includes articles and copies of title pages, and material on Thomas Bulch. Bulch created enormous interest in band music in Australia.
Included in the series are book labels for music publishers and sellers, advertisements, bookmarks, booksellers cards, and paste-on labels advertising sheet music.
The series comprises reports of the announcement by Barry Cohen of the establishment of a new National Film and Sound Archive, 5 April 1984; meetings, conferences, and newsletters of the International Association of Sound Archives; material on the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres.
Topics of extracts from the early magazines include the Army, Australiana, collecting, detectives, fashion, flight, movies, Navy, politics, press and printing, sport and writers.
A folder of articles from Punch is also included.
The collection of undated music in this series is mainly late 19th and early 20th century. The publishers include James S Kerr, Glasgow, and Suttons and Bulch, Australian publishers. Compositions by T E Bulch (Henri Laski) include Florina, Federation, Euphemia, and My Polly. There are violin solos by Carl Volti, Cuckoo and Spring time and three of his other compositions, The old folks at home and the mocking bird, The drawing room orchestra, and Assembly grand march; Scottish music, Sprigs of heather and Fifty gems of Scottish song; and several compositions in the Kerr's collection, Kerr's collection of merry melodies, Kerr's collection of latest dance music, Kerr's collection of country dances, and Kerr's pianoforte tutor; and Allan's popular six penny edition of Nobody, as sung by Hugh Ward.
A collection of manuscript music from the Snell Estate is located in Series 13, files 94 – 133 (Folio).
The catalogues are mostly undated. Included are catalogues for Allans (1984), Schirmer, Alberts, Chappell (1987), Ricordi (1960), and Frederick Harris; catalogue of tapes in the ABC's Musica Australis archive (1970), musical compositions in Australia (1969), Charles Delaunay's standard directory of recorded jazz (1948); and Forty six Australian composers and selected works (1969).
There are catalogues for The Old Vic and Sadlers Wells (1931-33)
In this series are a collection of 19th century directories and newspapers on microfilm and fiche.
Snell scanned Sydney newspapers on microfilm for business advertisements placed by printers, engravers and lithographers. The papers included the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Sydney Monitor, the Sydney Chronicle, the Peoples Advocate, the Weekly Register, and the Sydney Gazette. Directories scanned were those of Brabazon, Low, Ford, Waugh and Cox, and Sands, held on fiche at the Mitchell Library.
There are 2 boxes of printed material relating to Snell's interests in this series. Included are Monash University Library's Australian sheet music collection 1991, Popular Australian patriotic songs between the world wars, a thesis by Ian Toohill, 1979, Australian record and music review, (5 issues between 1989-93), Musical news (1920's), Music teachers directory (1972-87), Directories of libraries (1981-89), The making of Melbourne in maps by Jeff Leeuwenburg (1987), and catalogues of the Australian antiquarian booksellers fair.
Snell kept clippings on musicians and the arts, general advertisements and advertisements for music and musical instruments, and an extraordinary edition of the Evening news, 23 Jan 1901, announcing the death of Queen Victoria. Also included here is a typed list of advertisements from the Argus, 1900-04.
Series 18. (I) Photocopies of title pages of sheet music, album covers, (II) Photocopies of theatre programs, (III)Photocopies of articles, books, Sydney directories
Snell used information from copied covers and title pages for his popular music index, and for the study of the printing and publishing of music in Australia. The copies are grouped into the categories, Victorian, Edwardian, pre 1940, post 1940, Australian songs and songs published in Australia, and anthems.