Lot 139 of 168:
American manuscript music book 1797  

Click image to enlarge
Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$600
$1,000 - $1,500

Manuscript book of musical lines, notes, and lyrics from various short songs and tunes

Gifford, Isaac

Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania




Approx. 70 pages, handwritten in ink throughout, followed by additional blank leaves. Volume contains nearly 50 songs in all, presumably a combination of popular music from the period and original compositions penned by Isaac Gifford. Entries are embellished throughout the book with assorted border patterns painstakingly hand-drawn by Gifford. 9.5x16.5 cm (3¾x6½"), leather-backed paper-covered boards.

A fantastic early American manuscript music book kept by Isaac Gifford (1772-1843) of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Huntingdon County was founded just ten years previous, in 1787. The volume contains over 70 pages of handwritten entries most of which comprise musical lines, notes, and lyrics from songs with titles such as "French tune", "London tune", "York tune", "Dundee tune", "Dublin tune", "Martyrs tune", "Aby tune", "Newton tune", St. David's tune", etc. 


The author was born in New Jersey and spent most of his life in Tell Township, Pennsylvania. Historical records indicate he and his wife Sarah Cluggage Gifford (1781-1827) had eleven children, some whose names appear in the book towards the end. Isaac Gifford's ownership inscription to front flyleaf indicates he purchased the volume from noted merchant Peter Swoope [aka Swope] (1763-1839) in the borough of Huntingdon. Swoope was "engaged in the merchandising and the iron business, and accumulated a nice fortune." (see History of the Swope Family and Their Connections, 1678-1896 by Gilbert Ernest Swope, 1896, p. 364). The borough of Huntingdon had just been incorporated the previous year, in 1796. Isaac Gifford traversed a distance of about 35 miles from the rural township of Tell to the county's population center of Huntingdon where he purchased book from Swoope.

Additional songs in the book include: "St. Marey's tune", "Savoy tune", "The Isle of White tune", "Brunswick tune", "St Humphrey's tune", "Litchfield or London old", "Middlesex tune", "Lunenburgh tune", "London new tune", "Standish tune", "Cavory tune", "Canterbury tune", "Westminster tune", "Windsor tune", "Gloucester tune", "St. James's tune", "the goeth psalm", "Bedford tune", "South Wells tune", "Norwich tune", "Old common tune", "Oxford tune", "Exeter tune", "the New 100 psalm tune", "St. Ann's tune", "Ely's tune", "the judgment tune", "the 98th psalm tune", "the Angel's song", "Converse tune", "Bangor tune", "Wells tune", "Virginia tune", "Rochester tune", "Montgomery tune", "Jophronia tune", "Amanda tune", and "Sherburne tune". 

Lot Amendments

Cover worn and partially detached, some loose leaves, one leaf lacking, scattered staining and minor tearing, mild toning, ink bold and legible throughout.

Item number:
Shipping info:

We have a full service shipping department to ensure proper packing and safe delivery of purchases at reasonable cost. We are specialists at packing and shipping books and works on paper.   All lots purchased by the same client are combined for shipping in order to keep the cost as economical as possible.  Our preferred method for domestic shipments is UPS Ground but we can also ship via FedEx or USPS Priority Mail. We do NOT ship USPS Media Mail under any circumstances.For international orders we select the most appropriate carrier depending on the value and weight of the items purchased.  We are happy to accommodate special arrangements by request.

Invoices are sent out the day following the auction and include a minimum $10 handling fee plus actual shipping and insurance charges.

Shipping estimates can be obtained  by contacting [email protected] prior to the auction.


Terms and conditions


All accepted bids are contracts and are considered final and non withdrawable.


A buyer's premium of 20% will be applied to all purchases.


The person posting the bids online has to be the person who has registered for the auction.