Robert Willis: General Catalogue of Writers on Music and Sound

Scope and Content

A catalogue of writers on music and sound in general, arranged in alphabetical order, with the entries in various languages, 52 folios. The catalogue was compiled by Robert Willis, and based upon earlier lists. The books that were in Willis' possession are marked as such. There are additions by John Willis Clark, including a list of three books on dancing (fo. 51v). There are also additional entries by Willis on the versos.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Willis (1800-1875) was born in London on 27 February 1800. He entered Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in 1822 (B.A., 1826), and was ordained deacon and priest in 1827. He was Jacksonsian Professor of Applied Mechanics at Cambridge, 1837-1875, and a Lecturer in Applied Mechanics at the Government School of Mines from 1853. Willis invented the odonotograph (1837) and cymagraph (1841), and in 1841 published his Principles of mechanism. He also published works on architecture in the Middle Ages and on the mechanical construction of English cathedrals. In 1843 he became a member of the Archaeological Institute. He died in Cambridge on 28 February 1875.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

No record of accession, possibly presented by John Willis Clark, c. 1896.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Willis in Sidney Lee, ed., Dictionary of national biography, Vol. XXI (London, 1909), pp. 492-494.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.

Related Material

Cambridge University Library also holds other papers of Willis, MSS.Add.5022-5045, 5058-5062, 5064, 5071, 5074, 5075, 5078-5082, 5127-5139 and 5141-5144.