DIBDIN, Henry Edward, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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DIBDIN, Henry Edward (1813-1866). Composer.
Archive of Dibdin's correspondence covering almost all of his relatively-brief life and career and in particular his twenty-years of marriage. Together with extensive groups of other papers, particularly Dibdin's lifelong correspondence with Edward Francis Rimbault.

A comprehensive and apparently untapped resource for the life of a distinguished British musician.

Henry Edward Dibdin was born in London, the son of Charles Isaac Mungo Dibdin (1768-1833), known as Charles Dibdin the younger, and was taught music by his sister, the harpist and composer Mary Anne Dibdin (1799-1886). There is a letter from his father to the sister in this archive. Henry also played the viola and the organ (and one assumes the piano). He played the harp at Paganini's last concert at Covent Garden in 1832, and in the following year he moved to Edinburgh, where he resided for the rest of his life. (See Oxford DNB.The major part of the archive is in annual folders from 1842 to the end of Dibdin's life (and thereon in the form of hundreds of letters and other material relating to the extensive Dibdin family. The following is a brief summary of the contents:

Henry Edward Dibdin's letters to his wife, née Isabella Perkins Palmer (b.1828, soprano and hymn writer) comprising almost 200 long and detailed letters, written during the whole of their married life, 1844-1866. Included is Isabella's school report of 1842 and the marriage certificate of 26 July 1846. This is the most significant extant resource for a biography of Dibdin.

Letters to H.E. Dibdin, many on musical subjects:
Edward Francis Rimbault [pseud. Franz Nava] (1816-1876, writer on music and antiquary): c.35 letters, some of considerable length (one of 8 pages 4to), with some musical notation; John Camidge, jnr., Sir George Stuart Mackenzie, John Thomas Surenne (in verse), the Duke of Wellington (1850, declining a dedication, rather worn), Bulkeley Bandinel (Bodleian Library, 1850), David Laing (3), William Henry Havergal, George Farquhar Graham, Baron von Tucher, Charles Oberthür (2), Peter Maurice (3, from New College etc.), William Swan, John Hullah, and others. Several letters written in 1865 include testimonials relating to Dibdin's candidature for the professorship of Music at Edinburgh. Also included are letters of many family members including his brother Robert William Dibdin (1805-1887), and, significantly, his son Edward Rimbault Dibdin (1853-1941 - musician, painter and curator of the Walker Art Gallery): c.11 to his own son, Thomas. Other family letters including c. 20 of Thomas Colman Dibdin, 1886-1889 with letters to him from from A.C. Mackenzie (6, 1889-91), (Sir) Charles Hallé (1888), J.L. Toole (2, 1888), Carl Rosa (1888), and others.

Other papers:
Over fifty letters from from W[illiam] J[ohn] Lawrence (author of 'Speeding up Shakespeare, 1937, etc.) (1862-1940) to E.R. Dibdin, c.1893-1938. Lengthy letters, to include offprints etc.

William Thomas Freemantle of Barbot Hall, Rotherham (1849-1931, bibliographer and book collector): correspondence with E[dward] R[imbault] Dibdin, c.55 letters with related material.

Transcripts of Elizabethan songs (Campion etc.) in a folder addressed to the Music Section of the Clarendon Press (watermark 1931).

Two brief examples:
Edward Francis Rimbault to H.E.D., 4 pages 8vo, London, 9 June 1849:
'It is my intention to reprint old John Day's Psalter, with an Historical Account of the rise & progress of Psalmody. ... The only copy of the original edition with which I am acquainted is in the Library of Brasenose College Oxford. ... I have both editions of Ravenscroft's work, and also the second edition of Este's Psalter. I have also Richard Allison's Collection of Psalm tunes ... If any of these are of the slightest use I shall feel great pleasure in lending them to you. ...' (Dibdin's best-known work, the Standard Psalm Book was published in 1851).

B[ulkeley] Bandinel to H.E.D., 3 pages 8vo, Bodleian Library, 18 November 1850:
'... I have now before me The Booke of Psalmes Englished both in Verse and Metre by Henry Ainsworth - 8[vo] Amsterdam 1646. I think a short extract from the preface will best enable you to decide whether you would like any part to be copied - (which can very well be done by one of my junior assistants who is a chaplain of New College where is one of our best choirs) ...'

[No: 26630]

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