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Rare Books: Ballads

A guide to finding and using rare books in the Bodleian Library

Johnson ballad

Scope of the collections

The Bodleian Library holds over 30,000 ballads contained in several collections. These have been gathered into a single catalogue which is now presented, along with a scanned image of each ballad sheet, in the Broadside Ballads ProjectComparisons can be made of multiple copies of the same ballad. In addition, a few of the ballads have scores, for which sound files are provided.

Each ballad in the collections is indexed by title, first line, and subject. An index of names holds entries for all authors and performers named on the ballad broadsides. Woodcut illustrations are indexed by subject, using the image classification system ICONCLASS.