Broadside Ballads Online

Broadside Ballads Online is a project providing online access to a collection of English printed ballad-sheets from between the 16th and 20th centuries, linked to other resources for the study of the English ballad tradition. ‘Broadside ballads, printed cheaply on one side of a sheet of paper from the earliest days of printing, contain song-lyrics, tunes and woodcut illustrations and bear news, prophecies, histories, moral advice, religious warnings, political arguments, satire, comedy and bawdy tales. Sold in large numbers on street-corners, in town-squares and at fairs by travelling ballad-singers and pinned on the walls of alehouses and other public places, they were sung, read and viewed with pleasure by a wide audience, but have been handed-down to us in only small numbers.’

There are various ways in which the collection can be browsed (for example by title/first line, subject, date, tune, performer, or shelfmark). In addition, basic and advanced search are possible. Material is shown as images in GIF format. Visual material can be searched both by subject searching and, in some cases, by visual image matching.

This resource is maintained by the Bodleian Libraries and features the Bodleian’s digital collections of ballads, with links to the English Broadside Ballad Archive’s digital presentations of pre-1800 ballads from other libraries, and to the folk song scholarship of the Roud Broadside Index, hosted by the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

Last update

Sunday, 24 August 2014 - 3:47pm
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