Shelf Lives

Four Centuries of Collectors and their Books

Collecting Haydn: Marion Margaret Scott


Portrait photograph of Marion Margaret Scott, c. 1922.

Marion Margaret Scott (1877–1953), musician, musicologist and music critic, was a versatile and progressive woman, known for several significant achievements in fields that at the time were predominantly the domain of men. She was a powerful advocate of women musicians and supported and promoted contemporary music.

One of her areas of expertise was the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) and she became both a scholar of his work and a collector of editions, literature, portraits and artefacts relating to him. The collection, which she bequeathed to the University Library, consists mostly of pre-1850 printed music editions and also contains some interesting artefacts, notably an Italian breast-pin datable to the first century B.C. which was worn by Haydn. There is a clear link between Scott’s musicological output and her Haydn collection.

The bequest became the first ‘named collection’ in the Music Department and has thereby set an important precedent for many later additions.


The engraved title-page of Joseph Haydn, A Second Sett of Twelve Ballads (arrangements of Haydn’s instrumental works set to English words), London, 1786. MRS.1.87.