The St. Albans Collection of Music came to the University of Chicago as 34 volumes of printed and manuscript music acquired by successive Duchesses of St. Albans between 1780 and 1860. It remained intact as a family collection for over a century before coming to the University of Chicago.
The bulk of the music consists of songs and piano music popular in London during the period, but there are also orchestral scores, vocal scores of operas, chamber music, harp music, a harp tutor, a volume of violin parts, glees and madrigals, and church music. In most cases the volumes are associated with particular members of the Beauclerk family by bookplates or inscriptions: Charlotte Carter Thelwall (c.1769-1797), Maria Janetta Nelthorpe (c.1779-1822), Harriet Mellon (1777-1837), Elizabeth Gubbins (1813-1893), and Sybil Mary Grey (1848-1871). The collection thus provides an interesting and unusually complete picture of the musical life of an aristocratic English family in Georgian and early Victorian times.