A Collection-level Description for the Papers of Edward Elgar

Reference and contact details: GB 150 EE
Title: Papers of Edward Elgar
Dates of Creation: 1889-1940
Held at: University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department
Extent: 101 items
Name of Creator: Sir Edward William Elgar
Level of Description: fonds
Language of Material: English

Administrative/Biographical History

Sir Edward William Elgar, baronet, 1857-1934, composer; son of an organist and music seller in Worcester; studied violin but gradually turned to composition in which he was encouraged by his wife (married, 1889); works include Frossiart overture, 1890; The Light of Life and Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf , 1869; Enigma Variations , 1899; and The Dream of Gerontius , 1900 set the seal upon his fame. There followed The Apostles , 1903; The Kingdom , 1906; Pomp and Circumstance marches, 1901-1907; overture Cockaigne , 1901; Introduction and Allegro for strings, 1905; Symphony in A Flat , 1908; Symphon in E Flat , 1911; violin concerto, 1910; Falstaff , 1913; and the violoncello concerto, 1919. Elgar composed little after his wife's death in 1920. He was master of the King's Musik, 1924-1934; knighted in 1904; OM, 1911 and Baronet in 1931.

Reference: The Dictionary of National Biography: The Concise Dictionary Part II ( Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1982 ).

Scope and Content

Diaries: of Sir Edward Elgar, 1892-1928; of Caroline Alice Elgar, 1889-1920; of Carice Elgar, daughter of Sir Edward and Lady Elgar, later Mrs Elgar Blake, 1922-1939; transcripts of the diaries. Correspondence: of Sir Edward Elgar to John West of Novello's (Publishers), 1898-1923; of Sir Edward Elgar to Frederick Gaisburg (Barbarossa) of The Gramophone Company, 1919-1933; of Sir Edward Elgar to Owen Mase of the BBC, 1933; of Sir Edward Elgar to Herbert Lambert, photographer, 1931-1932; of Carice Elgar Blake to Frederick Gaisberg of The Gramophome Company, 1933-1940. Books, scores and other printed material, 1900-1933.

System of Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically within the series described above.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased in 1994 with financial assistance from the Barber Trust, the Friends of the National Library, the Douglas Turner Charitable Trust and the University's Faculty of Arts.


Further deposits are not expected.

Access Conditions

Open. Access to all registered researchers.


Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Finding Aids

A paper catalogue to file and item level is available in the Special Collections Department and at the National Register of Archives in London.

Related Units of Description

Other letters of Edward Elgar can be found in the Letters Additional Collection (GB 150 LAdd)

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the papers of other Birmingham Composers including Granville Bantock (GB150 GB) and Christopher Edmunds (GB150 CE).