Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Husk, William Henry

HUSK, WILLIAM HENRY (1814–1887), historian of music and critic, was born in London on 4 Nov. 1814. From 1833 to 1886 he was clerk to a firm of solicitors. As an amateur, taught by his godfather J. B. Sale, he joined the Sacred Harmonic Society two years after its foundation in 1832; and in 1853 he was appointed honorary librarian, Husk held this post until the dissolution of the society in 1882. His care and energy greatly increased the value of the society's library (now in the possession of the Royal College of Music), and he published a 'Catalogue with a Preface,' London, 1862, 8vo; new edit. 'revised and greatly augmented' 8vo, 1872. Husk's prefaces to the word-books of the oratorios performed at the Sacred Harmonic concerts were written with knowledge and sympathy. He was also author of a pains taking 'Account of the Musical Celebrations on St. Cecilia's Day in the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries,' to which is appended a 'Collection of Odes on St. Cecilia's Day,' London, 1857, 8vo. His contributions to 'Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians' are very valuable. He edited, with notes, 'Songs of the Nativity; being Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern, several of which appear for the first time in a Collection,' London, 1868, 8vo. Husk died, after a fortnight's illness, on 12 Aug. 1887.

[Baptie's Handbook of Musical Biography, p.107; Brown's Biog. Dict. p.338; Grove's Dict. ii. 210, iv. 778; Musical World, lxv. 680; Musical Times, xxviii. 539.]

L. M. M.