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Robert Thurston Dart (1921-1971) was an English musicologist, music editor and musician. His scholarship was informed by performance and he was a very innovative musical figure. He taught several generations of students, many of whom in their turn went on to become established and successful scholars and performers. The first documentation we have of Dart’s interest in music dates back to his youth; he won medals in music festivals and was educated at Hampton Grammer School where he was a chorister of the Chapel Royal and was involved in many musical activities. He later studied music at the Royal College of Music (1938-1939). After the war he studied in Belgium with Charles van den Borren. Thurston Dart came to the University of Cambridge in 1947 when he was appointed assistant lecturer in music. He became a full lecturer in 1952 and professor in 1962. He left Cambridge in 1964 to become King Edward Professor of Music in the University of London (King's College).

The Thurston Dart Archive was donated to the University Library in 2012. The archive contains correspondence and papers, photos, draft chapters, sound recordings, music manuscripts and printed scores. Contents are listed on ArchiveSearch Many of the materials reflecting Dart’s life and career have become dispersed. His main collections of books, scores and instruments went with him to King’s College London and are either still there, or have been sold according to the stipulations of Dart’s Last Will and Testament. The Thurston Dart Archive at Cambridge University Library therefore holds a mixture of documents that were not part of this, but rather materials that were in the possession of, and carefully looked after by, several of his former pupils and colleagues. Most of this material reflects Dart’s professional activities and interests, but there are exceptions, including a wartime letter, a family album of photographs and some juvenilia. Highlights of the archive include the manuscript of the unfinished book on John Bull and correspondence.

The archive has been divided into several sections and has the following provenance:

Compositions, arrangements and transcriptions (Greg Holt)

Correspondence and contracts (Margaret Bent, Alan Brown, Leslie East, Greg Holt)

Papers and inventories (Greg Holt)

Photographs and prints (Margaret Bent, Greg Holt)

Miscellany (Greg Holt)

John Bull material (Royal College of Organists Library and Archives. Susi Jeans Collection)

Printed scores (Leslie East)

Sound recordings (Greg Holt)

For enquiries about the archive please contact