Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

Vanett Lawler MENC papers

 Collection 0093-SCPA
Vanett Lawler (1902-1972) was an administrator in the field of music education both in the United States and abroad. Her work for the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) (later the National Association for Music Education (NAfME)), Pan American Union, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and International Society for Music Education helped create new legislation favorable to the arts, encourage and publish research pertaining to music education, and promote international music education and cooperation. This collection contains her professional papers pertaining to her work for the Music Educators National Conference as Assistant Executive Secretary, Associate Executive Secretary, and Executive Secretary, from 1930 until her retirement in 1968. The collection also includes Lawler's papers pertaining to her work with the Pan American Union while on loan from MENC, as well as her work with the National Education Association, of which MENC is an affiliated organization (and, beginning in 1956, was housed in the NEA building in Washington, D.C). Materials include correspondence, periodicals, photographs, articles, meeting information and agendas, program proposals and outlines, speeches, and various other documents pertaining to MENC, other arts organizations, legislation, and general music education and music information.

Dates

  • 1927-1975 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1944-1968

Use and Access to Collection

There are no restricted files in this collection.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Materials from this collection must be used in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library's Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Special Collections Room, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Contact the curator for an appointment: http://www.lib.umd.edu/scpa/contact

Extent

19.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Vanett Lawler MENC papers covers the period from 1927 to 1975; the bulk of the materials date from 1944-1968. The collection consists of professional papers including correspondence, speeches, performance programs, bulletins, memorandums, project proposals and information, financial records, music education reports, meeting agendas and business, order forms, photographs, press releases, and periodicals. Materials cover Lawler's work with MENC, the Pan American Union, and the National Education Association.

Biography

Vanett Lawler, an administrator in the field of music education and an active promoter of the subject internationally, was born in Rochester, Minnesota in 1902. After abandoning plans to pursue a career as a concert pianist, she instead enrolled in the School of Business and Commerce at the University of Wisconsin, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in 1924. Lawler worked in various advertising and publishing companies until applying for the position of office manager at the newly opened office of the Music Supervisors National Conference in August 1930. She was given the title of Assistant Executive Secretary and her initial responsibilities included selecting staff, establishing a bank account, organizing equipment, membership files, and mailing lists, and acting as advertising manager of the Music Supervisors Journal (later the Music Educators Journal).

In 1934, the organization changed its name to the Music Educators National Conference (MENC), and later renamed again to the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). In 1938, MENC began talks with the National Education Association about establishing a closer relationship and Lawler acted as liaison between the two organizations during the period of affiliation beginning in 1940, spending much time in Washington, D.C. to facilitate relations. In 1942, her title was changed to Associate Executive Secretary and she retained this position even while working heavily for the Pan American Union, for which she toured Central and South American countries for six months during 1944 to examine music education programs.

Lawler devoted herself full-time to MENC from 1951-1955 when she worked in a small office in the NEA building in D.C. with two staff members (while the national headquarters remained in Chicago). She was promoted to Executive Secretary of MENC on July 1, 1953. At this time, Lawler also supported the beginning of the Journal of Research in Music Education and served on the American Unity through Music Committee as representative. In 1956, she facilitated the move of the national headquarters from Chicago to Washington, D.C. She remained an important liaison between MENC, NEA, and other NEA-affiliated organizations. Lawler was an important formative member of many of MENC's notable undertakings of the time including the national conventions, the launch of the Contemporary Music Project in 1964, and the Tanglewood Symposium of 1967.

In addition to her work for MENC, Lawler was an avid supporter of international music education study. She was appointed consultant to the Arts and Letters section of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1947, an organization to which Lawler continued to devote much time and service. Lawler also helped found the International Society for Music Education (ISME) for which she worked extensively during her career.

Lawler retired from MENC on June 30, 1968 after 38 years of service. She suffered from Parkinson's disease during the last years of her life and died on February 16, 1972 in Washington, D.C. due to complications from pneumonia. MENC has established a memorial fund in her name.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into six series.
  1. MENC Correspondence
  2. MENC General Files
  3. Latin American Work with Pan American Union
  4. National Education Association
  5. Photographs
  6. Realia

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Acknowledgement letter dated October 19, 1987 and Dorothy Regardie Gift Inventory with three Accession Numbers: (88-7-MENC) delivered July 22 and August 26, 1987; (88-9-ISME) delivered August 5 and 26, 1987; and (88-10-MENC) delivered August 5, 1987. Materials previously housed incorrectly in the Vanett Lawler ISME Papers have been moved to the Vanett Lawler MENC Papers.

Related Material

Archival materials:

  1. This collection is part of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Historical Center, previously known as the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) Historical Center.
  2. For material primarily relating to Vanett Lawler's involvement with the International Society for Music Education (ISME), please consult the Vanett Lawler ISME Papers.
  3. For material primarily relating to Vanett Lawler's involvement with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), please consult the Vanett Lawler UNESCO Papers.
  4. Additional photographs from ISME events may be found in Vanett Lawler's original scrapbook entitled "Music Education Around the World" which can be found in the Vanett Lawler UNESCO Papers. Please contact the SCPA curator to see this scrapbook.

Other materials:

  1. Lawler, Vanett. Student music activities: what place in the secondary school program. National Association of Secondary School Principals, Washington D.C., 1964. Available in the Lowens Special Collections Room, call number MT930.L38 S87.
  2. Lawler, Vanett. The arts in the educational program in the Soviet Union. Music Educators National Conference, Washington D.C., 1961. Available in the Lowens Special Collections Room, call number MT5.S65 L32.
  3. Lawler, Vanett. How can music promote international understanding? Music Educators National Conference, Washington D.C., 1956. Available in the Lowens Special Collections Room, call number ML3838.L27 H6.
  4. Lawler, Vanett. Educaciand#243;n musical en 14 repand#250;blicas americanas. Music education in 14 American republics. Oficina de mand#250;sica, Uniand#243;n panamericana, Washington, D.C., 1945. Available in the Lowens Special Collections Room, call number MT3.S75 L35.
Title
Vanett Lawler MENC papers
Status
Completed
Author
Lisa Rodio, March 2011.
Date
2011-03-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library

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