Leslie Alan Shepard (1917–2004) was born in East London 21 June, 1917 and moved to Ireland in 1969, settling in Dublin where he died on 20 August 2004. He was a world authority and prolific writer on street literature, historical moving images, the paranormal, and many other subjects. After a few years as an office worker in an asbestos factory, Shepard became a documentary filmmaker. As the film industry declined after the war, he worked as an author, editor and researcher. A man of varied interests, Shepard founded the Bram Stoker Society and he was co-founder of a society for interfaith understanding known as the Standing Committee of Jews, Christians and Muslims. He was an avid bibliophile, filling his house and garage with books. His interest in street literature led him to amass a large collection of broadside ballads and related ephemera including an assortment of prints and popular images, to which he constantly added. He also collected books about printing and printers, and rare examples of early printing, including incunabula. A guitarist himself, Shepard accumulated musical instruments from all over the world, and loved Indian classical music as well as folk music and jazz. He was an early British populariser of the Kentucky mountain dulcimer. His documentary on "John Jacob Niles, American Folk Singer"  was broadcast in 1963 by BBC Radio Three. While working on a monthly news reel ‘Mining Review’, he met A.L. Lloyd and subsequently helped him publicise his search for songs related to mining.

Towards the end of his life and after his death, Shepard’s books and printed items were dispersed to several different places.  His Bram Stoker collection was given to the Dublin City Library. He generously donated ballad sheets of Irish interest to the Irish Traditional Music Archive shortly after its foundation, and his books relating to the subjects of broadsides, folk music and street literature were kindly bestowed on the VWML in 2002.  Most of his collection of chapbooks, broadsides and other ephemera were sold at auction.

 Publications edited by Shepard include The Dracula Book of Great Vampire Stories (1977), Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology (1978), Living with Kundalini: the autobiography of Gopi Krishna (1993) and Dracula: celebrating 100 years (1997). His own works include The Broadside Ballad: a study in origins and meaning (1962), John Pitts, ballad printer of Seven Dials, London, 1765-1844 (1969) and The History of Street Literature (1973).

For more information see:

Obituaries -

Russell,  Ian. “Leslie Alan Shepard (1917-2004),” Folk Music Journal (2006): 137-141.

The Independent

The Irish Times