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Lyons Band Instrument Company collection

 Collection 0173-SCPA

At its height, Lyons was one of the largest music dealers in the country, and was a co-sponsor of the 1st Annual Midwest Band Clinic in 1947. The company, originally based in Chicago, was one of the first to send salesmen on the road, selling instruments all over the country. The Lyons Band Instrument Company was the nation’s exclusive distributor of the Tonette, a recorder-like instrument marketed to elementary students and a method book published by Lyons entitled Melody Fun, which became a standard in schools across the country. The Lyons Band Instrument Company was eventually purchased by Selmer and its headquarters moved to Elkhart, Indiana. Sold off in the early 1990s, the company is now independent again and known as Lyons Music Products.


  • 1939-2003
  • Majority of material found within 1956-1980

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. Please make an appointment with the curator: Tel: 301.405.9220, Email:


3.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Lyons Band Instrument Company collection covers the period from 1939 to 2003; the bulk of the materials date from 1956 to 1980. The collection consists of materials mainly related to Lyons’ company and their publications. Materials include correspondence to and from Lyons and/or Lyons Instrument Co; published journals; books; photographs; business documents; and reel-to-reel tape recordings believed to be of Midwest Band Clinic performances.


This collection is arranged into nine series.

  1. Lyons Correspondence
  2. Company Materials and Documents
  3. Catalogues
  4. Periodicals
  5. Publications
  6. Other Publications/Advertisements
  7. Photographs, Negatives, and Proofs
  8. Related Companies' Information
  9. Recordings

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Most items in this collection were received as a gift of Don Lyons on February 27, 1996. The majority of the items are housed with the Midwest Clinic. Copies of Lyons periodicals are located in the Lowens Room and reel-to-reel tapes are found in MSPAL Paged Collections.

Related Material

The Midwest Clinic, An International Band and Orchestra Conference records, Special Collections in Performing Arts, University of Maryland Libraries. (finding aid)

Lyons Band Instrument Company collection
Bradley Mariska, updated by A.J. Reitter
November 2003, updated October 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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

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