Charlotte Milligan Fox, Co Tyrone Collector & Arranger

Mrs Charlotte Milligan Fox (1864–1916) was born into a business and literary family in Omagh, Co Tyrone, and was a leading activist in the collection, arrangement, publishing and study of Irish traditional music in the early 20th century.

Musically talented, she was classically trained on piano and voice in Frankfurt, London and Milan. Having settled in London after her marriage, she became one of the founder-members there of the Irish Folk Song Society in 1904 and editor (with Herbert Hughes) of its journal. She engaged in collecting folksongs in Waterford, Down, Donegal and Tyrone, and in other parts of Ireland, and apart from her many publications in the Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, she separately published (in collaboration with her sisters Alice Milligan and Mary Edith Wheeler) arrangements of traditional tunes to original words. Her major work was her 1911 study Annals of the Irish Harpers. Her greatest contribution to Irish music however was her discovery of the forgotten music and song manuscripts of the traditional-music collector Edward Bunting and her donation of them to the Library of Queen’s University Belfast.

The selection of Irish Traditional Music Archive materials related to Charlotte Milligan Fox reproduced here focuses on her separately published arrangements in book and sheet-music forms, and includes pages from an illuminated address presented to her by her colleagues in the Irish Folk Song Society. In addition, the Archive published in 2000 an extensive guide to the Bunting papers in Queen’s Library: The Irish Music Manuscripts of Edward Bunting (1773–1843): An Introduction and Catalogue by Colette Moloney.

Fox, Charlotte Milligan, Annals of the Irish harpers, London: Smith Elder & Co, 1911

Fox, Charlotte Milligan, Annals of the Irish harpers, New York: E.P. Dutton & Co, 1912

ITMA would welcome the donation of other materials of this kind which are not yet in its collections (check our catalogues here), or of their loan for copying.

NC & MG, 1 August 2011