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Archive of Robert Simpson


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The archive of the composer Robert Simpson acquired from various sources, principally Simpson's widow Angela and the Robert Simpson Society. The archive comprises photocopies of the composer's music manuscripts (many of which were subsequently annotated by him), typescripts of writings and broadcasts, correspondence, photographs and other papers. There are also manuscripts of other composers' works, dedicated or presented to Simpson. Present in the archive are recordings of the composer's music and broadcasts as well as concert programmes featuring Simpson's works or his programme notes. Additionaly, there is a collection of books and published music, many signed or annotated by Robert Simpson.


  • Creation: c.1840-2016, n.d.


25.0 Linear metres (117 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Conditions Governing Access

Original vinyl records, tapes and CDs are currently not available to order.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Simpson Mus. 1].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Simpson 1-42, MSS. Simpson Mus. 1-31, MSS. Simpson Photogr. 1-3, Simpson Books (individual shelfmarks to be found on SOLO), Simpson CDs 1-12, Simpson Mus. (individual shelfmarks to be found on SOLO), Simpson Per. 1-6, Simpson Programmes 1-11, Simpson Records (individual shelfmarks to be found on SOLO) and Simpson Tapes 1-10

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 15550


The archive of the composer Robert Simpson comprising predominantly photocopies of Simpson's music manuscripts, his writings and recordings, together with printed material (concert programmes, published music and books from the composer's library). Material created by the Robert Simpson Society also forms part of this archive.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Simpson (1921-1997) was a British composer, musicologist and BBC producer and broadcaster. For details of his life and work see Oxford Music Online.

The Robert Simpson Society was established in 1980 to 'promote knowledge and appreciation of the work of Dr Robert Simpson, and to sponsor the study, performance and recording of his music' (the Society's Constitution). For further details of the Society's work see its website.

The majority of the autographs of Robert Simpson's music is housed at the British Library. Photocopies of the manuscripts together with material created by the Robert Simpson Society were first held at the library of the Royal Holloway, University of London and moved to the Bodleian Libraries in 2010.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the Robert Simpson Society with additional material gifted by Angela Simpson, the composer's widow and Pamela Bacon, a friend of the composer and Society member. A photocopy of Robert Simpson's BMus exercise was obtained from the Durham University Library and Museums in 2011.

Catalogue of the Robert Simpson archive
Finding aid prepared by Margaret Czepiel
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom