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The James G. Barnett Papers

Call Number: MSS 58

Scope and Contents

The James G. Barnett Papers consist primarily of manuscript and printed scores and parts for Barnett's orchestral, choral, vocal, and keyboard compositions. The Papers also contain 2 compositions by John Francis Barnett, music by other composers copied by Barnett, and a small number of programs and musical essays.


  • 1845-1896 (inclusive)


Language of Materials

Materials chiefly in English.

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 James G. Barnett 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.


In 5 series as follows: I. Music by James G. Barnett. II. Music by John F. Barnett. III. Music by John Barnett. IV. Music by various composers. V. Addresses, essays, and programs by James G. Barnett.


5 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


Music and other papers by and about the British-American composer, conductor, and organist James G. Barnett (d. 1885)

Biographical / Historical

James G. Barnett was active as a composer, conductor, and organist in Connecticut during the latter half of the nineteenth century. He was born in England, but his date of birth is not known. He arrived in Boston around 1845. The Center Church in Hartford quickly appointed him organist, a position that he held until 1867. Barnett also played a major role in Hartford's concert life. In 1857 he helped found the Beethoven Society, serving as the group's conductor until 1874. Under his leadership, the Society cultivated a diverse repertoire, including Mendelssohn's Elijah, Handel's Samson, Haydn's The Creation, Weber's Oberon, and Rossini's Stabat Mater.

In 1867, Yale College awarded him an honorary doctorate in music. Barnett moved to New Haven around 1875, becoming the organist at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. A heart ailment forced him to withdraw from that position. During his convalescence, he completed The Voice in Praise, a collection of hymns and anthems. Having recuperated, he accepted the organist post at the Second Congregational Church in Fair Haven, which he held until his death in 1885.

Barnett concentrated on vocal music, writing numerous pieces for church services. The Voice in Praise, which contains pieces that can be used in a variety of liturgical contexts, represents the culmination of these efforts. In addition, Barnett composed many large-scale sacred works, notably Life of the Blessed and Christ's Resurrection and Ascension. His secular vocal output includes two operas: The Magician and The Triumph of Spring. Barnett also published The Eclectic Teacher for the Parlor Organ, an instruction manual for the beginning and intermediate student.

The James G. Barnett Papers
Edited Full Draft
Compiled by David Metzer
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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