Guide to the Papers of Kenneth Snell


MS 4932

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

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 (

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

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.

Biographical Note

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.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Personal Correspondence 1971-93

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.

1971-85 (File 1) - Box 1

1986-89 (includes biographical information on Charles Trussell, composer, bandmaster, 1860-1946) (File 2) - Box 1

1990-93 (File 3) - Box 1

Directories (File 4) - Box 1

Miscellaneous (File 5) - Box 1

Series 2. Business Papers 1979-93

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.

Business correspondence (File 6-8) - Box 2-4

Correspondence with National Library (File 9) - Box 2-4

Sales file, 1987 (File 10-11) - Box 2-4

Sales file, 1988-91 (File 12-13) - Box 2-4

Sales file, 1992-93 (File 14) - Box 2-4

Sales special interest forms (File 15) - Box 2-4

Customers files (File 16-18) - Box 2-4

Typed customer cards (held 3) (File 19) - Box 2-4

Series 3. Drafts, Notes

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.

Early colonial printers, engravers, lithographers (File 20) - Box 5

Handwritten lists of overseas songs; music titles; notes on old Sydney (File 21) - Box 5

Drafts of preface popular music index; opera dates; lists of musicians (File 22) - Box 5

Notes compiled from newspapers, 1813-38 (File 23) - Box 5

Series 4. Research material Australian composers, lyricists, publishers

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.

Cards, A - G; H - O; P - Z (File 24-26) - Box 6

Handwritten lists Australian colonial music sellers, publishers. (File 27) - Box 7

Annotated alphabetical listing of printers, publishers, engravers, booksellers and stationers, musical instrument makers, importers. (File 27) - Box 7

ABN printouts (File 27) - Box 7

Handwritten and annotated lists of publishers, copies of covers (File 28) - Box 7

Annotated copy NSW Post Office Directory 1832 (File 29) - Box 7

Lists from newspapers, directories, 1835-47 (File 29) - Box 7

Dudley Glass research material (File 30) - Box 8

Biographies A-H (File 31-32) - Box 8

J-P (File 33-34) - Box 8

R- (File 35) - Box 8

Unsorted biographies (File 36) - Box 8

Waltzing Matilda (File 37) - Box 9

Composers and compositions (File 38) - Box 9

Sellers and publishers (File 39) - Box 9

Lyricists (File 40) - Box 9

Miscellaneous, including list of musical institutes or societies, known to Snell, inaugurated in Australia 1841-1900 (File 41) - Box 9

Series 5. Research material 19th, 20th century printers, publishers etc.

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.

Colonial printers and artists (File 42) - Box 10

Publishers (File 43) - Box 10

Biographies (File 44) - Box 10

Printers and lithographers (File 45) - Box 10

Index of printers and publishers (File 46) - Box 10

Series 6. Research printouts

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.

Printouts (File 47-48) - Box 11, 12

Series 7. Research material on the topography and businesses of colonial Sydney

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.

Topography and businesses colonial Sydney (File 49) - Box 13

Series 8. Australian popular music series

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.

Popular music indexes (File 50-51) - Box 14, 15

Correspondence, 1987-91 (File 52) - Box 16

Series 9. Bands

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.

Arthur Stirling collection, a research collection for band musicians (File 53) - Box 17

Band music publishers, Bulch, Lyons, Sutton, and Allan (File 54) - Box 17

Research folders including biography Thomas Bulch, 1860-1930 (File 55-56) - Box 18

Copies of covers, first pages of music (File 57) - Box 18

Series 10. Book labels

Included in the series are book labels for music publishers and sellers, advertisements, bookmarks, booksellers cards, and paste-on labels advertising sheet music.

Albums (File 58-60) - Box 19

Boxed labels (File 61-64) - Box 20

Series 11. Music, sound archives

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.

Material relating to music and sound archives (File 65) - Box 21

Series 12. Extracts from early magazines

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.

Extracts (File 66-71) - Box 21

Series 13. Sheet music

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).

Music (File 72) - Box 22

Batterham, Winifred Happiness (1950's) words by Ivy Eastwick (File 94) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Batterham, Winifred Song of Bendigo (1951) words and music (File 95) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Brett, Mary Moon canoe (1930's) poem by A. Gore-Jones (File 96) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Burchett, Edwin Cyril There be none of Beauty's daughters. Byron (File 97) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Butler, Lindsay Why don't you leave me alone, 1961 (File 98) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Butler, Lindsay You'd better change, 1958 (File 99) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Campbell, Phyllis Cradle song (1918) poem Padraic Colum (File 100) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Emms, H.J. Breathe on me, breath of God. words E. Hatch (File 101) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Emms, H.J. By love serve. words and music (File 102) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Emms, H.J. The everlasting strength. words and music (File 103) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Emms, H.J. The morning star. words and music (File 104) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Findlay, George Wayfellows. words by Thomas Warrimer (File 105) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Gleeson, Horace A flower picture. words by Alfred Fox (File 106) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Gleeson, Horace There's something at the yardarm. E. Brady (File 107) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Gower, Cedric W, Songs and music, 1937 (File 108) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Hicks, L.H. Song of Nauru. words and music (File 109) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Holland, Dulcie Hope in spring (1956?) (File 110) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Holland, Dulcie The hill pines were sighing, 1936 (File 111) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Jervis-Read, H.V. Requiescat, words by Oscar Wilde (File 112) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Lorraine, A.G. Australia, Queen of the southern sea, 1962 (File 113) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Marshall-Hall, Elsa Contentment (1950's) words C. Laurenson (File 114) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Marshall-Hall, Elsa Dawn (1950's) words Mollie McGrath (File 115) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Marshall-Hall, Elsa Dawn. medium voice and piano, 1950's (File 116) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Marshall-Hall, Elsa Gibbit, 1950's, words by Harold Hoad (File 117) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Marshall-Hall, Elsa Little boy blue (1970's) words by Eugene Field (File 118) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Marshall-Hall, Elsa Moonya (1950's) song cycle "Australia Primeval" (File 119) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Marshall-Hall, Elsa Such liberty (1950's) words and music (File 120) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Martin, Cleve Music when soft voices die (1934) lyric, Shelley (File 121) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Olsen, Walter Look down to me, dear heart song (n. d) (File 122) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Olsen, Walter To be with you song (n. d) (File 123) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Patching, Les The sunburnt country. words and music (File 124) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Perrott-Smith, Mary E. Beloved land (1970's) words and music (File 125) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Phillips, Beatrice Blow! Blow! Thou winter wind (1932) (File 126) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Phillips, Beatrice Dying embers (1930's) words Helen Dames (File 127) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Phillips, Beatrice The ploughman (1930's) words E. Harrington (File 128) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Reeve I am a friar of orders grey. words John (File 129) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Raphael, Leslie Sons and daughters of Australia (1950's) (File 130) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Sattler, Eva Lifes island (1940's) words Roderic Quinn (File 131) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Sattler, Eva Two eyes (1940's) words by R.J. Cassidy (File 131) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Tucker, W.J. Raining violets (1936) (File 132) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Wood, Robin I know a land (1950) words by Bettine Kauffman (File 133) - Folio-Box [unnumbered]

Series 14. Catalogues, programs

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)

Catalogues, programs (File 73-74) - Box 23, 24

Series 15. Microform

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.

City of Sydney directory 1844-47 (Low's). (Microfiche) (File 75) - Box 16

Sydney commercial directory 1851 (Ford's). (File 75) - Box 16

Waugh Cox's Sydney directory 1855 (File 75) - Box 16

Sydney Post Office directory 1857 (File 75) - Box 16

New South Wales Port Phillip directory 1839 (File 75) - Box 16

General town directory of New South Wales 1843 (Brabazon's) (File 75) - Box 16

Sands Sydney New South Wales directory 1858-1900 (File 76) - Box 25

Sunday Times 1834-64 (File 77) - Box 25

Sydney Gazette 5 Mar 1803-30 Dec 1830 (File 78) - Box 25

Australian 17 Oct 1824-21 May 1828 (Microfilm) (File 78) - Box 25

Peoples Advocate 2 Dec 1848-28 June 1856 (File 79) - Box 25

Weekly Register 29 July 1843-27 Dec 1845 (File 80) - Box 25

Sydney Chronicle 2 Aug 1839-30 Sept 1848 (File 81) - Box 25

Squatting directory of New South Wales 1865 (File 82) - Box 25

NSW Calendar General Post Office directory 1832-37 (File 83) - Box 26

Sydney Monitor 17 May 1826-29 Dec 1841 (File 84) - Box 26

Sydney Morning Herald 1 Jan 1845-30 Sept 1845 (File 85) - Box 26

Letters re Jacob R. Clarke 1854-93 (File 86) - Box 26

Heads of the people vol. 1 no. 1 – vol. 2 no. 24 (17 Apr 1847-25 Mar 48) (File 87) - Box 26

7 mini disks - various topics (File 88) - Box 26

The Sydney Chronicle, 2 Aug 1839 - 30 Dec 1846 and the Sydney Monitor 17 May 1826 - 29 June 1829, are located in Newspapers (File 88) - Box 26

Series 16. Printed material

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.

Printed material (File 89-90) - Box 27, 28

Series 17. Newspapers, cuttings, advertisements, 1857 -1986

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.

Advertisements (File 91) - Box 29

Clippings (File 92) - Box 29

Newspapers (File 93) - Box 29

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.

Victorian lithographs (File [unnumbered]) - Box 30-31

Victorian songs (File [unnumbered]) - Box 32

Edwardian songs and piano solos (File [unnumbered]) - Box 33

Edwardian songs and piano solos, A – B, Pre 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 34

Edwardian songs and piano solos, C – D, Pre 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 35

Edwardian songs and piano solos, E – H, Pre 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 36

Edwardian songs and piano solos, I, Pre 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 37

Edwardian songs and piano solos, J – L, Pre 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 38

Edwardian songs and piano solos, M – P, Pre 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 39

Edwardian songs and piano solos, Q – S, Pre 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 40

Edwardian songs and piano solos, T – V, Pre 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 41

Edwardian songs and piano solos, W – Z, Pre 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 42

Edwardian songs and piano solos, A – B, Post 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 43

Edwardian songs and piano solos, C – D, Post 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 44

Edwardian songs and piano solos, D – G, Post 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 45

Edwardian songs and piano solos, H – I, Post 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 46

Edwardian songs and piano solos, I – L, Post 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 47

Edwardian songs and piano solos, M, Post 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 48

Edwardian songs and piano solos, M – R, Post 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 49

Edwardian songs and piano solos, S, Post 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 50

Edwardian songs and piano solos, T – V, Post 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 51

Edwardian songs and piano solos, W – Z, Post 1940 (File [unnumbered]) - Box 52

Edwardian songs and piano solos Australian popular music (A- Z) (File [unnumbered]) - Box 53

Edwardian songs and piano solos Australian songs, and songs published in Australia (File [unnumbered]) - Box 54-59

Edwardian songs and piano solos Copies of Australian manuscript music by Australian composers; A3 covers (File [unnumbered]) - Box 60

Edwardian songs and piano solos Theatre programs (File [unnumbered]) - Box 61

Edwardian songs and piano solos Articles, books, Sydney directories (File [unnumbered]) - Box 62-64