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John Marsh journals
mssHM 54457 (Volumes 1-37)  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: A history of my private life : an autobiography in journal form for the years 1752-1828
    Dates: 1802-1828
    Collection Number: mssHM 54457 (Volumes 1-37)
    Extent: 37 volumes in three boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The thirty-seven-volume journal of the amateur English composer and musician John Marsh of Chichester, Sussex; in which he records the important events of his eventful life and of the life around him.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.

    Administration Information


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], HM 54457 (Volumes 1-37), The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Mrs. Homer Crotty through purchase from Christie’s Sale 4420, Lot 285, February 14, 1991.

    Biographical Note

    John Marsh (1752-1828) was born in Dorking, Surrey on May 31, 1752; educated at Greenwich Academy, he was destined for a career in law despite having an obvious interest and aptitude for music. In 1768 he was articled to a solicitor in Romsey; at the same time he began violin lessons and after becoming proficient, taught himself the cello, oboe, and organ as well as composing music. In 1774 Marsh married Elizabeth Catherine Brown (1756/7-1819) and they had five sons and one daughter of whom only Edward Garrard and Henry reached adulthood. After Marsh inherited a large family estate he left the legal profession and concentrated on his music, including playing, composing and managing subscription concerts in Salisbury, Canterbury and Chichester. John Marsh died after a short illness on October 31, 1828 .


    The volumes are arranged chronologically.

    Scope and Content

    The journal volumes are arranged chronologically in three boxes: Box 1 Volumes 1-12 (1752-1789, Aug.) ; Box 2 Volumes 13-25 (Aug. 1789-1806) ; Box 3 Volumes 26-37 (1806-1828). The journals comprise thirty-seven volumes in white vellum covers, all in good condition. After 1778, at the end of each year, many of the volumes include lists of musical compositions and publications, major events, journeys, marriages, births and deaths. The majority of the volumes were written by John Marsh except the very end of volume 37 which was finished by his son Edward Garrard Marsh; also, the volumes contain the pencil edit markings and notes made by E.G. Marsh for his heavily edited early edition of the journals.


    Cataloger's notes
    The journals have been published: The John Marsh Journals, edited, introduced and annotated by Brian Robins, Pendragon Press, 1998-2013.

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Marsh, Edward Garrard, 1783-1862
    Marsh, John, 1752-1828


    Composers –- England, Southern –- Biography
    Families –- England –- History -- 18th century
    Families –- England –- History -- 19th century
    Music –- England, Southern -- 18th century -- History and criticism
    Music –- England, Southern -- 19th century -- History and criticism

    Geographic Areas

    Chichester (England) –- 18th century
    Chichester (England) –- 19th century
    England, Southern -– Description and travel
    England, Southern –- Social life and customs –- 18th century
    England, Southern –- Social life and customs –- 19th century


    Diaries –- England –- 18th century
    Diaries –- England -– 19th century