About

This website contains annotated transcriptions of correspondence of the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958). The database includes all letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams known to the editors and is an ongoing project. If users are aware of any letters by the composer which do not appear in the database and could be added to it they are invited to contact the project.

Abbreviations used in the database:

  • VW – Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • AVW – Adeline Vaughan Williams, first wife of VW
  • UW – Ursula Wood, before her marriage to VW
  • UVW – Ursula Vaughan Williams after her marriage to VW

Works cited in abbreviated form are:

  • Ursula Vaughan Williams, R.V.W.: a biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams, London 1964
  • Michael Kennedy, A Catalogue of the Works of Ralph Vaughan Williams, revised edition, Oxford 1982; second edition Oxford 1996. Works are cited by page no. and by year and number within the year, as given in Collected Works  (e.g.  1958/2).

The original set of letters were transcribed and annotated by Hugh Cobbe and a selection of 757 letters was previously published in 2008 by Oxford University Press as Letters of Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1895-1958, edited by Hugh Cobbe,  ISBN: 9780199257973. Letters that have been added have been transcribed and annotated by Katharine Hogg and Colin Coleman.

The letters are chiefly from Ralph Vaughan Williams, but the database includes some responses which shed light on the subject matter, and also a number of letters from Adeline and Ursula Vaughan Williams. These provide further information and often include messages or observations from Ralph, and there are also letters from Adeline and Ursula written on behalf of the couple.

Supported by the The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust.

Copyright statement: The text of letters written by Ralph Vaughan Williams remains in the copyright of The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust and may not be further reproduced without the prior written consent of the Trust (vwct@hughcobbe.com)