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Author: Cara Gilgenbach, May 13, 2002
Revisions: Updated by Haley Antell, October 2018; Last updated October 2023
Descriptive Rules: DACS
Inclusive Dates: circa 1681-1870
Bulk Dates: circa 1850-1870
Extent: 1 cubic foot (2 oversized document cases and 3 oversized folders)
Physical Location: 11th floor; oversized materials are shelved in map case
Language of Materials: English
Historical Note: 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 Catnach.
Scope and Content: This collection contains approximately 200 English street ballads, printed on portions of broadside sheets, the bulk of which date from around 1850-1870. 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.
Statement of Arrangement: Materials are arranged in alphabetical order by title.
Publication Note: For further reading on broadside ballads and the history of street literature, see the following works:
Acquisition Information: This collection was donated to Kent State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives in 1999 by Albert I. and Helen O. Borowitz.
Alternate Form Available: This collection has been digitized and is available online. The inventory below includes links to the digital content.
Street Ballads of Victorian England collection - Box 1
Folder -- Contents