Archival Collections


The Center for Popular Music though we are a non-lending facility we make available a wide variety of music and related materials for research and study inside the Center's reading room. 

CPM Database Search

The Center's collection's contain sheet music which includes items from the late-18th century to the present. To limit your search to Sheet Music, select the check box beside "Sheet Music" before performing your search.

The Center’s collection consists of approximately 4900 lyrics-only items called broadsides. Most are from the 19th century, and are printed on inexpensive paper, with or without illustration.

The Center has a strong collection of older song books (both secular and sacred), hymnals, songsters, and instrumental tutors and tunebooks that illustrate the breadth of American vernacular music from the 18th century to the present. The collection includes approximately 9,000 items.

The Music Trade Catalog collection consists of commercial product catalogs relating to music and music trade dating from the mid-19th century to the present. Approximately 750 companies and manufacturers are represented. Holdings document the commercial trade in sound recordings, sheet music, musical instruments, sound recording equipment, and more. 

Database Search

CPM Library Search

The Center’s collection of reading room materials and some of our archival materials are also searchable through the Walker Library's Catalog. On the advanced search page (linked below) be sure to select "Center for Popular Music" under the Collections heading. This will narrow the search down to only what is located inside the Center.

In this catalog you can search for rare books they are described above (hymnals, songbooks, songsters etc...)

Our performance document collection which includes posters, playbills, and programs for musical events. Of particular interest are items related to blackface minstrel shows of the 19th and early 20th century, a rare 19th century scrapbook of 200+ items, and the Nashville Show Poster collection of block print performance advertisements.

The Center holds more than 11,000 iconographic items, both photographic and printed. This photograph collection includes images made by various photographic processes, such as daguerreotypes, albumen prints, black and white prints, 35mm negatives, color slides and prints, as well as visual images in other formats, such as lithographs, postcards, and trade cards.

Library Catalog Search

Manuscript Collections

The Manuscript Collections within the CPM archives are unique documents such as an artist's, author's, or music business person's papers, letters, diaries, oral interviews, home or transcription performance recordings, scrapbooks, and photographs. A Manuscript collection can be one scrapbook or hundreds of boxes filled with paper materials, photographs, audio tapes, and more. All Manuscript Collections have a finding aid detailing the collection. 

Search Finding Aids


The Center maintains a collection of magazines and academic journals covering vernacular music in its many genres. In all, the Center has holdings for nearly 2,200 different periodicals, ranging from single issues to full publication runs. These periodicals are maintained in two separate collections. We are currently working on making these collections searchable online. In the mean-time, please contact us at to inquire about our holdings.

Collections Not Available Online

Some of the Center's collections are not available for searching online but can be searched in the Reading Room using our in-house databases. These collections include Vertical Files and some of our Sound Recordings. Contact us with requests to search these collections at


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MTSU Box 41
1301 E. Main Street
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Room 140
Bragg Media & Entertainment Bldg.
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