Frank Sidgwick was a publisher, writer, scholar and literary editor best remembered for his anthologies of poems and ballads. His works include The Ballad (1914) and Popular Ballads of the Olden Time (1903-1912). He was particularly interested in The Bitter Withy and gathered many versions for a comparative paper which was published in the Journal of the Folk-lore Society in June 1908. He formed an acquaintance with Ella Mary Leather in this way, Ella having sent him variants she had found in Herefordshire.
Sidgwick was active within the Folk-Song Society from 1906. He died at his home in Keston in Kent after a short illness in 1939.
The Sidgwick collection at the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) is mainly letters and a small number of newspaper cuttings. The letters are largely responses to a published letter in The Hereford Times asking for known versions of The Bitter Withy. When Sidgwick died, the papers were split between Ann Baer, Frank’s daughter, and Frank’s granddaughter, Jane Rudeforth. Ann donated her papers immediately to VWML but the rest only arrived after Jane died in 1986. A proportion of the collection concerns letters between Ann Baer and Jane Rudeforth discussing what should be done with the collection.