The Pendlebury has received a donation of around a hundred and fifty microfilms of manuscripts, ranging from eleventh-century chant books and sixteenth-century polyphonic fragments to early printed books and modern theses. Since October 2011, I have been steadily cataloguing the collection and in July 2013 the final microfilm was boxed, labelled and put on the shelf. The collection came through Prof. Susan Rankin, and had belonged to the musicologist Prof. David Chadd, whose research interests centred on medieval liturgy, above all the Office. He passed away in November 2006. About half of the collection consists of microfilms that David Chadd had inherited from the early music scholar Frank Llewellyn Harrison (1905-1987).
The scope of the collection largely reflects the interests of Chadd and Harrison, with copies of a wide range of liturgical manuscripts and early music codices. A number of the microfilms are copies of Sarum Missals, Breviaries, Ordinals and Processionals, and another group of liturgical manuscripts all originate from Fécamp. The polyphony in the collection dates from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, with much vocal and instrumental music from the reign of Henry VIII. The youngest music manuscript among the microfilms is an autograph of anthems by Handel, British Library, Royal Music Collection, RM.20.d.7 (Mic.AA.226). Van Dijk’s Handlist of the Latin Liturgical Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library (Mic.GG.46) is a particularly useful reference work to have acquired, as the typescript catalogue is not held anywhere else in the University.
Among the more unusual items within the collection is a copy of The Oriental Miscellany, a collection of Hindustani tunes arranged for harpsichord in the eighteenth century (Mic.GG.58), a sixteenth-century guide to holding banquets, including recipes as well as practical information, Banchetti, compositioni di vivande e apparecchio generale (Mic.GG.57), and a selection of eighteenth-century maps and drawings of China, British Library, Add. 19822 (Mic.LL.180).
All of the microfilms have now been incorporated into the Pendlebury’s collection and are available to request and view. If you want to find out whether the Pendlebury has a microfilm of a particular manuscript, the ‘basic search’ of Newton (Departments and Faculties O-Z) is the best place to go: type in the manuscript’s shelfmark and the word ‘microfilm’ as keywords. For example, typing ‘19822 microfilm’ into the search box brings up the record for the manuscript of eighteenth-century maps of China (British Library, Add. 19822). It is also possible to do an advanced search and select ‘microform’ from the ‘medium’ drop down menu.
Working out what was on each microfilm reel was not always straightforward. Some microfilms carried no indication of the manuscript’s library or sometimes even the shelfmark. These required much detective work using library catalogues to be able to identify and catalogue the items. A couple of microfilms are still ‘orphans’ – if you recognise the images on Mic.AA.246 or Mic.AA.248 , please let the library staff know!
Eleanor Giraud, Temporary Microfilm Cataloguer (David Chadd Collection), October 2011 to July 2013.