A collector of English folk song
and morris dancing
, who did much to preserve folk heritage
and bring such things to the attention of a wider public, and composers such as Holst
and Vaughan Williams
He began studying morris dancing in 1895 when staying near Headington and seeing a performance by the Headington Quarry Morris Men. In 1903 he began collecting folk songs, and in 1905 he started on other forms of country dance. He founded the English Folk Dance Society in 1911. They later merged with the Folk-Song Society, and the combined organization has had its headquarters since 1930 at a building named Cecil Sharp House, to the north of Regent's Park in London. It's now called The English Folk Dance and Song Society or EFDSS.
Between 1916 and 1918 he thrice visited the Appalachian Mountains in the United States to collect folk songs there that were related to or remembrance of English ones.
Sharp collected a total of 4997 tunes in his lifetime and published 1118 of them. His publications include five volumes of songs from Somerset (1904-1909), English Folk Song: Some Conclusions (1907), The Morris Book (1907-1913), The Country Dance Book (1909-1922), Sword Dances of Northern England (1911-1913), and English Folk-Songs from the Southern Appalachians (1917, with Olive Campbell).
Cecil James Sharp was born in London on 22 November 1859. Between 1882 and 1892 he lived in Australia, first as associate to the chief justice of South Australia, then from 1889 as organist at Adelaide Cathedral. After his return to England, Sharp taught music at Ludgrove Preparatory School until 1910, and was principal of the Hampstead Conservatory from 1896 to 1905. He died in London on 23 June 1924.
Thanks to bariau for pointing out that Sharp destroyed some of the folk heritage too by bowdlerizing some of the more earthy songs.