Dr Clare Gleeson

PhD (VUW), MA (Dist) Otago, MLIS (VUW), BA (VUW), GCert Law

Dr Clare Gleeson studied history at Victoria University of Wellington and Otago University.  Her MA thesis was a history of the music firm of Charles Begg & Co Ltd and this research was later extended and published as a monograph.

Dr Gleeson’s PhD examined domestic making in New Zealand from 1840 to 1940, in particular the role of the music seller in facilitating access to popular music and thus positioning New Zealand within a global popular musical culture.  An important strand of this research was the role of women in the buying, playing and selling of popular piano music which led to the creation of owner bound volumes of their sheet music collections.

Dr Gleeson has presented papers on her research in New Zealand and Australia.  She has written articles on Charles Begg & Co for several publications, including Audioculture, and contributed biographies to “Farewell Zealandia: Forgotten Kiwi songs of WW1” curated by Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History, Palmerston North.  She works as a librarian.

Meet me at Begg’s: the story of Charles Begg & Co, music and appliance manufacturers and retailers, 1861-1970. Wellington: Ngaio Press, 2012.

Book Chapters
“Those who played and bound: bound volumes of piano music as an indicator of social change”. In Rosemary Richards and Julia Szuster (eds) Memories of Musical Lives: Music and Dance in Personal Music Collections from Australia and New Zealand. Melbourne: Lyrebird Press, 2022.

“‘Music Sold, Bought and Played’: the Importance of Women to Music-Selling in New Zealand, 1870-1930”, The New Zealand Journal of History, 55/1, April 2021.
Walter Sinton.  Audioculture, New Zealand On Air, January 2020.
“Music Sold and Music Published”, Script & Print: Bulletin of the Bibliographical Society of Australia & New Zealand, 43/4, 2019.
“Unbinding New Zealand’s musical past”, Crescendo, 100/1, February/March 2017.
“Review. Margaret Bean. A Passionate Affair” Llewellyn Owen & Music”, Crescendo, 98, February/March 2016.
Begg’s: the Musical and Electrical Centre Audioculture, New Zealand On Air, January 2016
“Begg’s War”, Crescendo, 95, August/September 2014.

Papers Presented
“‘500 Pieces of New Music This Week’: Music Selling in New Zealand c1869” – paper presented to the 1869 Conference, Dunedin, 2019.
“The Owner Bound Volume and its contents: popular sheet music for the piano in New Zealand 1840 to 1940” – paper presented to the New Zealand Historical Association, Auckland 2017.
“The Owner Bound Volume: Collector’s Album, Family Artefact or Cultural Object?” – paper presented to the Australasian Victorian Studies Association, Melbourne, 2016.
“Charles Begg & Co Ltd: ‘the Story of Music in New Zealand is the History of Begg’s'” – paper presented at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, 2016.
“Unbinding New Zealand’s Musical Past: Owner Bound Volumes of Music and the Popular Sheet Music Trade 1840-1940” – paper presented to IAML (NZ), Dunedin, 2015.

“Charles Begg & Co Ltd: ‘the Story of Music in New Zealand is the History of Begg’s'” – MA thesis, University of Otago, 2010.
“Owner Bound Music: a study of popular sheet music selling and music making in the New Zealand home 1840-1940”, PhD thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, 2019.