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John P. Paynter (1928-1996) Collection

Identifier: 19/3/9

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The John P. Paynter Collection consists of sixty-seven boxes of materials. Spanning the years 1923 to 2013, it follows the life, career, and legacy of Northwestern alumnus and former music faculty John P. Paynter. The collection is separated into six series with subseries within each. The series are titled Biographical Materials, Office, Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band (NUMB), Publications, Music, and Digital and Audio Visual Material.

The Biographical Materials series spans 1944 to 1997 and is split into two subseries, General Biographical and Death, which includes letters of condolence from colleagues and former students.

The Office series is the largest of the collection, consisting of five subseries which span 1947 to 2013. The first subseries, Files, contains twenty-two boxes of general files, correspondence, documents concerning students, faculty, and other associates, and personal academic calendars of his day-to-day tasks and events. Subseries 2 and 3 contain certificates, plaques, or awards given to Paynter, respectively. Subseries 4, Programs, includes a nearly comprehensive catalog of programs from the concerts Paynter conducted at Northwestern during his teaching career. The final subseries contains a few artifacts belonging to Paynter, including the whistles he used to direct the Wildcat Marching Band.

Series three is titled Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band (NUMB) and contains files of the band that relate to Paynter from 1948 to 2012. Included are two subseries, Files and Photographs. The files include copies of the original marching drill written for the halftime shows of both the 1949 and 1996 Rose Bowl. The photographs are snapshots and professional photographs of the band’s goings-on.

Series four contains an assortment of publications from 1923 to 2004. It is split into three subseries, Newspapers, Magazines, and General Publications. There are several national publications with features about Paynter, demonstrating his reputation throughout the band world.

Series five titled Music consists of two subseries of Scores and Vinyl Records from 1938 to 2012. Among the scores are several original copies of Paynter’s arrangements that include his own annotations.

Series six, Digital and Audio Visual Material, features CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, open-reel tapes, film, and cassette tapes from 1948 to ca. 2012. The cassette tapes feature an extensive collection of recordings of the concerts of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble which Paynter conducted.


  • 1923 - 2013


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


67.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



Music professor and bandleader John Phillip Paynter began his musical studies at Northwestern, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1950 and a Master's in Theory and Composition in 1951. Upon graduation, Paynter joined NU's faculty as the Director of the Marching Band. During his career at Northwestern, Paynter taught classes in band music, conducting, and arranging. The John P. Paynter Collection consists of six series titled Biographical Materials, Office, Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band (NUMB), Publications, Music, and Digital and Audio Visual Material.


The Paynter materials are arranged into broad categories: biographical materials; office (sub-divided into files, certificates, plaques and awards, programs and artifacts); Northwestern University "Wildcat" Marching Band (NUMB); publications (newspapers, magazines, newsletters and news releases are in alphabetical order, posters in chronological order), music (scores are arranged by composer, recordings on vinyl by date); and digital and audio visual material (arranged by format, and then either alphabetically or chronologically).

Method of Acquisition

Parts of the John P. Paynter Collection were separated from existing collections, the University Archives' Faculty Biographical Files and the Records of the Office of Bands (Acc. #11-85). Many materials were donated to the archives from the Paynter family, including accessions #11-36 and #12-177 from Marietta Paynter and acccession #14-119 from Bruce Paynter. The rest of the collection was formed from accession numbers #12-144, #14-163. Materials were acquired between 2011 and 2014.

Related Materials

See Also: Alumni Biographical Files (Series 51/14, Box 474), Marching Band collection

A copy of Whatsoever Things… The Life and Teachings of John P. Paynter is available for view in the University Archives. Files in this collection were made into an addition to the Glenn Cliffe Bainum Collection 19/3/7.

Separated Materials

Several duplicate copies of files, publications, and artifacts were discarded from the collection. 6 boxes of books and duplicate copies of well-known newspapers were discarded as well. Files concerning Glenn Cliffe Bainum and Marietta Paynter were separated and added to their respective collections.

Processing Information

Sarah Rose; 2003. Revised by Mary Pedraza; 2019.

Guide to the John P. Paynter (1928-1996) Collection
Sarah Rose, revised by Mary Pedraza
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US