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The Ole Bull Papers

Call Number: Misc. Ms. 286

Scope and Contents

The Ole Bull Papers contain sketches, manuscript scores, or printed editions of 11 compositions by Bull. The Papers also hold music by other composers from Bull's personal library. Among the miscellaneous items are programs, printed works relating to Bull, and 13 manuscript receipts which document a series of concerts played by Bull in 1853 in Charleston, South Carolina.


  • 1834-1906


Conditions Governing Access

The Papers are open to researchers by appointment. There are no restricted materials in the collection. Please contact the Special Collections staff to schedule an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

The Ole Bull Papers are the physical property of the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library of Yale University. Copyrights belong to the composers and authors, or their legal heirs and assigns.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Ole Bull Papers were established in the Music Library of Yale University by Patricia Bull Smith Langdon, Olea Smith-Kaland, Stephen Bartlett Smith, and Shapleigh Smith in 1989.


In 4 series as follows: I. Music by Ole Bull. II. Music by others: manuscript copies. III. Music by others: printed works. IV. Miscellaneous items.


1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Music and other materials by and about the Norwegian violinist and composer Ole Bull (1810-1880)

Biographical / Historical

Ole Bull was born in Bergen, Norway on February 5, 1810. From an early age he showed a rare talent for the violin, and he made his solo debut in 1819. He took lessons from students of Viotti and Baillot, and also learned much from traditional Norwegian fiddlers, an influence that contributed to his unique style. Bull was interested in the design and construction of violins and bows, and by using a flatter bridge and a rounded bow, he was able to produce unusual polyphonic effects. He made many European concert tours, and he also spent a considerable amount of time in the United States, as a violinist, impresario, and promoter of an ill-fated Norwegian colony in Pennsylvania. Bull was known for his virtuosic and idiosyncratic performances, his personal charisma, and his Norwegian nationalism. (Norway was under Swedish control from 1814 to 1905.) Ole Bull died in Lysøen, Norway on August 17, 1880.

The Ole Bull Papers
Edited Full Draft
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Music Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Gilmore Music Library Repository

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