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date: 12 December 2019

Driscoll, James Francislocked

  • Jonas Westover

Extract

(b Brookline, MA, c1875; d Boston, MA, c1959). American collector, arranger, and civil engineer. He is responsible for one of the largest collections of sheet music in America. While growing up in Brookline he learned to play piano and organ under b.j. Lang, and there is some evidence that he also wrote arrangements of sacred music. This led to a long amateur engagement at Boston’s Sacred Heart Cathedral, where he led the choir and played the organ. “Benedixisti domine” by Bernhard Klein is one of Driscoll’s few remaining arrangements; the other extant editions or arrangements are of sacred pieces. By the 1890s Driscoll was already amassing material for his ever burgeoning collection, always looking for the perfect copy of any rare number. Well known for his sharp bargaining and compulsive habits, he refused to relinquish the search for the most complete collection possible. The James Francis Driscoll Collection of American Sheet Music at the Newberry Library in Chicago, IL, stores around 84,000 pieces of music dating from the 1770s until Driscoll’s death in ...

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