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 known as 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 personal and professional materials pertaining to her work with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
There are no restricted files in this collection.
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
9.50 Linear Feet
The Vanett Lawler UNESCO Papers covers the period from 1885 to 1988; the bulk of the materials date from 1945-1968. The collection contains personal and professional materials pertaining to Lawler's work with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization pertaining to international music education. Materials include publications, reports, correspondence, programs, photographs, scores, and memorabilia from Lawler's personal and professional work with UNESCO.
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. 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 groups 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. She retained this position even while on loan from MENC to the Pan American Union (PAU), for which Lawler toured Central and South American countries for six months during 1944 to examine music education programs.
In 1947, MENC and PAU loaned Lawler to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to serve one year as Acting Director of the Arts and Letters Section. As Acting Director, Lawler participated in the preparation of a detailed plan for "The Role of Arts in General Education," which was presented at the 1947 UNESCO Conference in Mexico. In 1950, UNESCO established the International Music Council (IMC) and Lawler was chosen as one of three experts to draft a plan of procedure for a conference on the problems of musical education, teaching, and culture as a part of general education. Consequently, she became a member of the Preparatory Commission for the First International Conference on Music Education (1953), "The Role and Place of Music in the Education of Youth and Adults." This conference, at which Vanett Lawler presented "Trends in Music Education," established the International Society for Music Education (ISME).
Respected as a cultural diplomat, Lawler was chosen to participate in an Arts Mission to the Soviet Union (1960) sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. At that time, the Soviet Union had few ties to the Western world, making this trip an enormous step toward increased communication and understanding between two of the world's super powers. Her resulting report, published by MENC, is titled "The Arts in the Educational Program in the Soviet Union."
Lawler remained active in these organizations late into her life, and was a promoter of international music education until her death despite suffering from Parkinson's disease. Lawler died on February 16, 1972 in Washington, D.C. due to complications from pneumonia.
This collection is organized into seven series.
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. Some materials previously housed in the Vanett Lawler ISME Papers have been moved to form the Vanett Lawler UNESCO Papers.