Pratt Green Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Books, periodicals, manuscripts, papers and sound recordings related to hymns and hymnology. The manuscripts and papers include 18th and 19th century tune books, the papers of the hymnologist John Wilson (1905-1992), hymns and related correspondence of H.C.A. Gaunt (1902-1983), and English hymns and authors, a compilation from materials assembled by Leslie Bunn for a revision of Julian's Dictionary, as well as papers of Pratt Green himself.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Pratt Green Collection (hymns and hymnology) was founded in 1987, with the gift, via the Pratt Green Trustees, of the collection of hymn books and related works formed by the distinguished hymn writer, Fred Pratt Green. The purpose of the collection is to provide a corpus of material for the study of hymns and hymnology of all periods, but with particular emphasis on modern hymns.

Born at Roby, near Liverpool, in 1903, Fred Pratt Green was ordained into the Methodist ministry in 1928, and worked as a school chaplain and circuit minister until his retirement in the late 1960s. During these years he wrote several plays and numerous poems, but only a few hymns. His poems appeared in many periodicals, and three collections were published, This unlikely earth (1952), The skating parson (1963), and The old couple (in 1976, after his retirement).

In 1967 he was co-opted to a working party appointed to prepare a supplement to the 1933 edition of the Methodist Hymn Book, and it was this involvement which sparked off the intense burst of creativity which was to make him one of the foremost modern hymnwriters. From the late 1960s to the 1980s he produced some 300 hymns and Christian songs, and hymnals published in the last three decades of the 20th century have commonly included more of his hymns than those of any other modern writer. Much of his work is brought together in two collections, The Hymns and Ballads of Fred Pratt Green (1982) and Later Hymns and Ballads, and Fifty Poems (1989). Fred Pratt Green died on the 22 October 2000.


Books, periodicals and sound recordings have a classified arrangement. Manuscripts and papers are arranged in order of accession.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

By purchase and gift from a variety of donors.

Other Finding Aids

Books, periodicals and sound recordings are entered in the Library's catalogue

Catalogue of manuscripts and papers, available online at

Separated Material

Emory University, USA (see above Location of originals).

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


The collection continues to be added to.

Location of Originals

The copies of the Pratt Green scrapbooks (MSS10/1-52) are made from originals at Emory University, USA.


Doyle, S., The Pratt Green Hymnology Collection in Durham University Library, Durham University Journal, 81 (1988-89), 307-8  Braley, B., Hymnwriters 3 (London, 1991), 123-171