Anne Geddes Gilchrist


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Born in Manchester, she was always interested in music and was already knowledgeable on musical topics when she came across the folk song movement, first by reading Sabine Baring-Gould and then by contact with Frank Kidson. She joined the Editorial Board of the Folk-Song Society in 1906, and continued to serve in that capacity for nearly 50 years. Anne Gilchrist was one of the triumvirate of acknowledged experts (the others being Lucy Broadwood and Kidson) to which members of the Society could turn for advice and information, and between them they held a vast store of historical and comparative knowledge, and Anne in particular was an excellent correspondent and unstinting mentor to anyone who sought her help. She was particularly expert in early psalm and hymn tunes, and could often identify a requested tune from memory alone. Unlike the other two, however, Gilchrist wrote no books, and her contributions to the subject are all in the form of articles and notes appended to songs published in the Society's Journal and in other journals including The Choir and Folklore. She was also a collector, mostly in her home area, and her collection covered a variety of genres, including singing games, sea shanties, Lancashire rushcart and morris tunes, pace-egging songs, ballads, carols, and nursery songs. She was awarded an OBE in 1948 for her services to folk song and dance scholarship, and her papers are now deposited in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, as described by Margaret Dean-Smith, JEFDSS 7:4 (1955), 218–27.

Selected articles by Gilchrist include: ‘Let Us Remember’, ED&S 6:6 (1942), reprinted in 54:3 (1992), 8–9; ‘Sacred Parodies of Secular Folk Songs’, JFSS 3 (1937), 157–82; ‘Songs and Tunes from the Clague Collection [Isle of Man]’, JFSS 7 (1924–6), 117–94, 203–76, 281–347; ‘The Folk Element in Early Revival Hymns and Tunes’, JFSS 8 (1928), 61–95.

Obituaries: JEFDSS 7:3 (1954), 202;ED&S 19:2 (1954), 68–9.

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