Percy Manning (1870-1917)

Alice has written one book chapter, one article, and one unpublished essay about Percy Manning's collecting of musical instruments at the turn of the twentieth century.

‘Good morning, ladies and gentlemen': songs, music and musical instruments in the Percy Manning collection, published in M Heaney (ed), Percy Manning: The Man Who Collected Oxfordshire. (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2017, pp. 221-255):

The collection of music and song was an increasingly popular pastime for Victorians, and starting in 1893 with the Watford May song Percy Manning collected a range of musical items: notated dance tunes, song lyrics, melodies and also musical instruments. Manning’s sources included printed journals, documents in the Bodleian Library, and correspondence with friends and acquaintances around England. He also collected items himself, and received regular reports from his agent Thomas Carter, among others.

Manning has been undervalued as a collector of music because his notebooks emphasise his interest in the customs, activities and folklore of which music formed an integral part, rather than in music and musical instruments per se. However, this in fact makes his contribution all the more valuable as he provides a fuller ethnographic picture, giving contextual details and helping us to understand what the music he collected meant to the communities in which it was used.

This chapter describes the nature and extent of Manning’s music collections – the songs and tunes, the musical instruments and stories surrounding their use – and examine his influence and legacy as a collector of music and musical instruments. His activities are placed in the context of the collecting culture of the day, with a particular focus on those collectors whose correspondence is preserved in his notebooks at the Bodleian Library.

Percy Manning, Henry Balfour, Thomas Carter, and the Collecting of Traditional English Musical Instruments, published in Folk Music Journal (11.1:25-41, 2016):

This paper looks at some of the prevalent attitudes and methods that affected the collecting of traditional objects in the late 1890s, with a particular focus on E. B. Tylor’s concept of ‘survivals’ and the idea of salvage, whether for scientific or historical reasons.

Folk Music Journal vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 25-41 (2016)

Survival, Revival or Salvage? English Tradition and The Pitt Rivers Museum: you can read an extract of Alice's unpublished essay under Collecting English Tradition.


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