Holdings

EBBA began in 2003 with the archiving of the single largest collection of black-letter broadside ballads of the seventeenth century: over 1,800 ballads in the five volume Pepys Collection at Magdalene College, Cambridge (for more on the evolution and makeup of EBBA see About Us). Our next project was to archive an only slightly smaller collection of some 1,500 ballads: the Roxburghe Collection at the British Library. We have also archived the Euing Collection of 420 black-letter broadside ballads at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and some 600 ballads that are loose or from various collections, including the Britwell, Bindley, and Bridgewater, at the Huntington Library, Pasadena. We are currently archiving the early Crawford collection at the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh. Our ultimate goal is to archive all surviving black-letter broadside ballads from England’s heyday of the printed ballad in the seventeenth century (when woodcut ornaments, printed tune titles, and black letter ruled). We estimate the number of such broadside ballads to be between 8,000 and 10,000. EBBA, however, will necessarily include earlier and later ballads as many collections are expansive in historical range, and extant sixteenth-century ballads, such as the Huntington's Britwell collection, are very rare. Still, as a matter of funding and time constraints, we will likely also have to restrict our purview to only portions of those larger collections that cross later centuries; otherwise, EBBA will become impossibly gargantuan. At all times, then, we prioritize the archiving of those collections and those parts of collections that privilege seventeenth-century ornamental black-letter broadside ballads.

Other important collections of seventeenth-century ballads that we have our sights on for future archiving include: the sixteenth-century broadside ballads in the library of the Society of Antiquaries, London; holdings at the Chetham Library, Manchester; and John Bagford’s three volume collection as well as Narcissus Luttrell's three volume collection, together with the Huth ballads (which, with the Huntington's Britwell collection, belonged to William Fitch) at the British Library.