Note from Cecil Sharp [to Ralph Vaughan Williams]

Letter No.: 
[Written before June 1924]

[Note by Cecil Sharp on his relations with Mary Neal]


Dec. 1899 First met Kimber and noted first Morris tunes.

Nov. 1903  First lecture on Folk Songs at which Morris tunes were performed.  First leader & interview in Morning Post etc, leading to resuscitation of F.S.S.1 in following summer.

Nov. 1904  Publication of 1st vol of Folk Songs from Som.

July 1905 An interview on f-songs in schools, in M.P. (the 4' or 5' one).

Sept. 1905 Miss Neal  called upon me in consequence of above interview.  Gave her 1st vol. and a fortnight later went to Club .

Oct. 1905  Suggested Morris dances.  Had Kimber up.

Feb. 1906 Private show of songs & dances at Passmore Edwards.

March 1906 First public performance of songs & dances at Queens Hall, followed by several more at any one of which I lectured in a mild way, etc.

May 1906  Kimber came up again (eventually came 3 or 4 times).

1907 (Jan)  Morris Book No I came out.

Nov. 1907  Meeting at Goupnil Gallery to form Society. Subsequently Miss N insisted on a private Socy. members to have no right to appoint executive, only to subscribe, no experts etc. Mrs Gomme and I refused on these terms.  Meeting therefore abortive.

1908  In Jan. or Feb following Miss N. formed private Assn.  This marked the parting of the ways; but for 6 months before matters were considerably strained.

March 1908  Assn. attacked by Runciman in Sat. Review as a lot of know-nothings.  Miss N. replied, undertook on behalf of the Assn. not to collect “which is being done so admirably  by experts like C.J.S”.  Also said they were performing dances collected by C.J.S. who in “collaboration with H. MacI. have already published one vol. and another in prep.”

[A page missing here]

 ... propaganda yourself.  But no use.  I began teaching Chelsea girls of the show up at Stratford.  They had been taught villainously badly by Esperance girls.  So I had Kimber up and tried to put matters right.  Miss Neal got wind and I wrote to her that it was impossible to allow the Esp. girls any longer to rule the roost (This in July 1909).

 Talked over founding school at Chelsea.

Aug 1909  Syllabus of Bd of Ed. advocating m-dances in schools.  This followed by letters from Miss N. to all papers saying Assn. the only people who had the real thing etc.

Sept 1909  Founded Morris school at Chelsea.

Oct -  Threatened with action for libel.

May -  Volcanic eruption!!!!

1. Folk Song Society

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