The working library of William Gillies Whittaker (1876-1944), Gardiner Professor of Music at the University of Glasgow from 1929 to 1938.
A native of Newcastle upon Tyne, Whittaker enrolled at the city's Armstrong College in 1892 to study science. However, after two years he switched his interest to music, and on completing his studies, became a member of the College teaching staff. In 1929 he moved to Glasgow to hold the joint posts of Principal of the Scottish National Academy of Music and Gardiner Professor of Music at the University of Glasgow. In 1963 Whittaker's daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Edward Pollitzer, presented his working library to the University Library.
The collection comprises several thousand items which include a large number of standard scores, but the collection is particularly strong in early 20th-century English music. There are also several volumes of 18th-century music, as well as a copy of virtually every song and choral work which appeared under the Oxford University Press imprint during the period of Whittaker’s general editorship.
In addition to the scores and sheet music which belonged to Whittaker, the Library holds a number of the manuscripts of his original and edited or arranged music. There are over 80 original compositions in a variety of forms - songs, part-songs, choral works, piano, instrumental and chamber music - and about 100 arrangements, consisting mainly of songs and choral and instrumental music. Also held are other manuscripts from Whittaker's personal library, including over 200 letters from Gustav Holst (1874-1934).
How to find material from the Whittaker Collection
- Browse through a list of printed items in the collection (Sp Coll Whittaker Music); or, use the rare books search to locate a specific item.
- Browse through a list of all manuscript items relating to Whittaker; or use the manuscripts search to locate a specific item.
- Browse through a list of manuscript works, written or transcribed by Whittaker, in the collection (MS Whittaker).
- Browse through a list of manuscript items from Whittaker's personal library, (MS Gen 1350-1352) including letters from Holst.
- Sheila Craik and David Weston: Tunic, tinsel, toga: an exhibition to mark the centenary of Henry George Farmer, 1882-1965 (Glasgow, 1982).
- Whittaker's correspondence as Principal of the Scottish National Academy of Music is held by the University of Glasgow's Archive Services (DC 227/2/1/1-107) who also hold the records of the University's Music Department (GUA MUS).
- The letters from Holst to Whittaker have been published in Letters to W.G. Whittaker, edited by Michael Short (Glasgow: University of Glasgow Press, 1974). For those interested in Holst, the website of the Holst Birthplace Museum is also worth visiting; there is also a Holst Archive held by the Britten-Pears Library (primarily, the personal papers and music manuscripts of Imogen Holst, Gustav's daughter).
See also the following 'book of the month' article that featured manuscripts of letters between Whittaker and Holst:
- Gustav Holst Letters to W.G. Whittaker (Book of the month: September 2004)