Grace Kelly Irish-American Song-sheet catalogue (2020)
This is an archive of 1,099 printed Irish-American song-lyrics and music sheets from the years c. 1840-1940. The music they contain is not ‘Traditional’ as such, but has a strong Irish stamp and idiom, with c. 33% of lyrics by Irish-named writers, a tenth of this by Thomas Moore. Much of the rest of the material is comic, love and Irish-nostalgia songs by Tin Pan Alley writers, composers and publishers. The collection was built up by Michael E. O’Donnell of Philadelphia in the early-to-mid twentieth century, and purchased by Grace Kelly in 1977. Since these were songs to be performed by a singer and/or a pianist, the sheets have the music notation for both piano and voice, with lyrics printed below the music, matched to it. The covers on the earlier sheets are typically black on white, but on the late 1800s and 1900s material many are multi-coloured, often with striking text or graphics. These were catalogued and digitised by Fintan Vallely in early 2019, and the catalogue, of thumbnail images with all lyricist, composer and publisher information, was printed in late March, 2020. For research purposes, seventeen other individual indexes have been generated, which order the song-sheets in different ways to highlight data such as gender and nationality of the lyricist and composer deduced from their names, song style and subject, and publisher information. Other categories will be added so that the material can be analysed in different ways, such as by cover image, key words in the song titles, first lines of songs, etc. The Collection is held at the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco. It will be kept intact, as it is, and there is no plan to expand it.