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Marilyn Veselack papers

 Collection 0432-SCPA-VESELACK

Marilyn S. Veselack, D.A. (1936–) conducted historically significant research on clarinet reeds made from the giant reed plant, Arundo donax L. Working at the nexus of musical performance and plant biology, Veselack published her findings in her 1979 dissertation, Comparison of Cell and Tissue Differences in Good and Unusable Clarinet Reeds.

The collection consists of Veselack’s research notes ranging from 1964-2000; materials pertaining to the publication and presentation of her research ranging from 1967-1997; personal papers ranging from 1967-2021; and visual media including 35-millimeter slides, negatives, and photographs ranging from 1968 to 1986.


  • 1964-2021

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use. Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room during SCPA’s operating hours. Please contact the curator for an appointment or if you have questions related to digital access of the materials.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright was not transferred to the University of Maryland with the gift of any copyrighted materials. All rights remain with the creators and rights holders. The University of Maryland Libraries is granted permission for the use in scholarly research by the Libraries’ patrons under fair use in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act.

To inquire about duplication of materials for research or for publication, please contact SCPA’s curator.


4.0 Linear Feet

Content Description

The Marilyn Veselack papers contains materials that span the period of 1964 to 2021; the bulk of the material dates from 1968 to 1986. The first series includes lab notebooks, tables, procedural notes, and other materials pertaining to Veselack's undertaking of her research; these range from 1964 to 2000. The second series includes professional papers pertaining to the publication, presentation, and dissemination of Veselack's findings; these range from 1967 to 1997. The third series includes a small number of personal papers and other materials not expressly related to Veselack's reed research; these range from 1967 to 2021. The fourth series features 35-millimeter slides, negatives, photographs, and microscope prints from throughout Veselack's career; these range from 1968-1986.

Historical Note

Marilyn Sue Warren Veselack (b. December 25, 1936) is a teacher, clarinetist, and biologist who conducted historically significant research at the nexus of the latter two pursuits. In her 1979 Doctor of Arts dissertation, Comparison of Cell and Tissue Differences in Good and Unusable Clarinet Reeds, Veselack sought to determine what biological characteristics of Arundo donax L., the giant reed plant, came to bear on reeds manufactured from it. To do so, Veselack solicited contributions of reed pairs, one deemed good and the other unusable, from professional clarinet players. She analyzed said reed pairs in the laboratory and drew several conclusions of interest to Arundo growers, reed makers, and clarinet players alike.

Prior to her doctoral work at Ball State University, Veselack earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois Weselyan University in 1959 and a Master of Music degree from Illinois State University in 1969. Her master’s thesis, “The Compared Measurements of the Contour and Tone of Clarinet Reeds,” foreshadowed her subsequent doctoral research. At Ball State, her dissertation committee was co-chaired by Dr. Robert Hargreaves, director of the School of Music, and Dr. Jerry J. Nisbet, professor of biology. She has published findings from her dissertation research in clarinet journals and given presentations at clarinet and music education conferences both within and outside the United States.


This collection is organized into four series.

  1. Research notes
  2. Publications, presentations, and conferences
  3. Personal papers
  4. Visual media

Custodial History

Transferred to SCPA by Professor Robert DiLutis, March 16, 2022. DiLutis was given the materials by Veselack's family.

Related Materials

• International Clarinet Association research center, Special Collections in Performing Arts, University of Maryland Libraries (abstract)

Marilyn Veselack papers
Hayden J. Kramer
June 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

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