Street Ballads of Victorian England, [circa 1850-1870]
InventoryPrepared by Cara Gilgenbach, May 13, 2002
2 oversize document cases + 1 oversize folder, 1 cubic foot, 11th floor
Broadside ballads were part of the rich mix of popular street literature produced in England from the 16th through 19th centuries. These ballads, printed cheaply on thin sheets of paper, were sold on the streets of England by peddlers and hawkers for a penny or half-penny, in most cases. The ballads centered on popular subject matter such as love, sex, marriage, politics, religion, fantastic tales, humorous anecdotes, social reform, and crime. Most included an illustration of some kind, though in many cases the image had little or nothing to do with the subject of the text. In London, many broadside ballads were printed by publishers located in the Seven Dials district including the well-known print shops of John Marshall, John Pitts, and James Catnatch.
For further reading on broadside ballads and the history of street literature, see the following works:
-- Ashton, John. Modern Street Ballads. New Introduction by Leslie Shepard. London: Chatto & Windus, 1888. Reissued by Singing Tree Press, 1968.
-- Bratton, J. S. The Victorian Popular Ballad. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and Littlefield, 1975.
-- Shepard, Leslie. The Broadside Ballad: A Study in Origins and Meaning. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1962.
-- Shepard, Leslie. The History of Street Literature: The Story of Broadside Ballads, Chapbooks, Proclamations, News-Sheets, Election Bills, Tracts, Pamphlets, Cocks, Catchpennies, and other Ephemera. Detroit, Michigan: Singing Tree Press, 1973.
Scope and Content
This collection contains 175 English street ballads, printed on portions of broadside sheets, dating from around 1850-1870. They are arranged in alphabetical order by title. Some sheets contain two ballads printed side by side or at top and bottom. The author and printer information are included when available, however most of these ballads do not include authors' names. Please note that a handful of the ballads listed below are related to crime. Other examples of criminal broadsides are found in the Borowitz Crime sub-collections Criminal Broadsides of 19th-Century England and Criminal Broadsides of America. Some of these ballads have been digitized. Click on >>VIEW IMAGE to link to the scanned image.
This collection was donated to Kent State University in 1999 by Albert I. and Helen O. Borowitz.
Box 1Folder -- Contents
Folder -- Contents
- "The Birth of Christ" [header] -- "The Saviour's Will" [left side] -- "God Rest You" [center] -- "Christ in the Manger" [right side] [illustrations are hand-colored]
- "Fifty Carols and Anthems for Christmas" -- Hayle: Printed by J. O. Harris, Publisher of the "Hayle Miscellany"
- "A Lamentable Ballad of the Tragical End of a Gallant Lord and Virtuous Lady; Together with the Untimely Death of their two Children" -- [Printed by?] John Evans, 41, Long Lane, West Smithfield, London