Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

John Owen Ward papers

 Collection 0167-SCPA

John Owen Ward (1919-2000) was an English editor and music publisher. He is best known for his work at Oxford University Press, where he served as the editor for several well-known music publications, such as The Oxford Dictionary of Music. In addition to his work with OUP, Ward served as Director of Serious Music for music publisher Boosey & Hawkes and served as Vice President and President of the Music Publishers’ Association. The John Owen Ward papers consist of professional materials, correspondence, subject files and clippings, programs, recordings, photographs, biographical materials, and ephemera.


  • 1869-2005
  • Majority of material found within 1957-1979

Use and Access to Collection

Materials from Subseries I.1 and VIII.1 contain restricted information.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Please make an appointment with the curator: Tel: 301.405.9220, Email:


82.00 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The professional and personal papers of John Owen Ward (1919-2000), noted music editor, fill 172 document cases. The collection consists of subject files on a variety of musicians and musical topics, correspondence and other papers documenting Ward’s tenure as Manager of the Music Department of Oxford University Press in New York, published and unpublished articles by Ward, and some musical scores and sound recordings of interest to Ward. An important part of the collection documents Ward’s service in WWII through letters and photographs.


The English editor John Owen Ward (1919-2000) is best known for his work at New York's Oxford University Press and his oversight of The Oxford Companion to Music. Before and after World War II, Ward worked as an antiquarian book and music dealer.

During the war, Ward served as a member of the Royal Artillery. In addition, his language skills allowed him to serve as a translator during prisoner interrogations in Rome, and upon his return to England he was in charge of all intelligence, internal administration, and welfare of the large Italian and German prisoner of war camp at Holsworthy, Devon.

After the war, Ward resumed his activities as a book dealer and became assistant to Percy Scholes (1877-1958), author of the Oxford Companion to Music as well as other books on music for the general reader. Ward earned his BA (1952) and MA (1956) at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, specializing in French and German. In 1957, he was appointed Manager of the Music Department for Oxford University Press in New York, a position he would hold until 1972. During that time he was the sole editor of the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, the Oxford Junior Companion to Music, and the Oxford Companion to Music. He also wrote Careers in Music (1968) along with a number of articles and reviews. In 1972, Ward was made director of serious music for Boosey & Hawkes in New York, a position he would hold until 1979. Also in 1972, Ward was elected first Vice-President of the Music Publishers' Association of the United States, of which he would become President in 1974.

Ward was married to Maya Riviere (d. 1989). Riviere was a graduate of Agnes Scott College and earned her doctorate at Oxford as one of the first group of Fulbright scholars. She was Executive Director of the National Council on Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Codes. They had two children, John Dudley and Edith Mary (Snow).


This collection is organized into eight series.

  1. Professional documents
  2. Correspondence
  3. Subject files
  4. Programs
  5. Published materials
  6. Photographs
  7. Recordings
  8. Biographical

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Gift to the University of Maryland Libraries from Jody Shields on behalf of the Ward estate.

John Owen Ward papers
Patrick Warfield, Bonnie Jo Dopp, Nicole Horstman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

University of Maryland Libraries
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park MD 20742 United States