UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library Department of Special Collections, A1713 Young Research Library, Box 951575, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: (310)825-4988
This collection contains approximately 2,000 English, Irish, and American broadsides from the nineteenth century, including a large number of broadsides from the Catnach Press as well as some from women printers (especially Anne Ryle and Elizabeth Hodges, with a few by Ann Birt). Many of the ballads in this collection deal with common issues in family life, including courtship and marriage, domestic disputes, and the departure and return of young sailors. The collection includes examples of drinking songs, love songs, and patriotic songs. It offers many variants of traditional favorites, such as "Lannigan's Ball" and "John Barleycorn". The collection also represents ballads as sources of information and commentary on current events of local, national and international significance. Of the holdings in English ballads, many report on wars, economic conditions, and the activities of the monarchy. Land tenure, the Fenians, and other protests of English rule feature prominently in the collection's Irish ballads. A major theme of the American ballads is the Civil War (1861-1865). Broadside ballads provided lyrics to popular songs, and were sold cheaply on individual sheets of paper. While the lyrics were often new, the tunes would have been familiar to all. As a widely circulating form of popular literature, ballads can be a useful resource for the study of the history of literacy and can also be of interest to those studying the history of printing. Ballads traditionally addressed themes from everyday experience in both urban and rural communities. They thus provide important source material for social history and the history of popular culture.