Whitney Thompson, Graduate Library Assistant, Edgewood College, awarded the 2023 History Research and Innovation Award sponsored by Gale Cengage
Whitney Thompson’s research centers on the most popular ballad composer of 1860s England, Charlotte Alington Barnard AKA “Claribel,” and her role in Victorian musical history, especially the intertwined histories of the music business, intellectual property, and cultural criticism in the periodical press.
Claribel’s role in Victorian musical culture has been underexplored, as has her place in the history of the music business—particularly intellectual property. Not only was Claribel likely the first composer in England to receive music royalties, but she also had the rare distinction of an exclusive publisher contract.
Thompson has already done extensive research using available digitized sources. She created two digital exhibits on Omeka to highlight aspects of Claribel’s career and has presented at eight academic conferences, including the International Alliance of Women in Music and the North American British Music Studies Association, with several more conferences scheduled in 2023. This award will enable Thompson to travel to England to conduct archival research at the British Library, National Archives, and other related sites. Thompson’s ultimate goal is to publish a biography of Claribel.
The selection committee was Chaired by Kathy Shields.