Records of the Dean of the Music School
Scope and Contents
Historical Information about the Deans:
The Northwestern University School of Music was established in 1895 under the direction of Peter Christian Lutkin. The first Dean of the School of Music, Lutkin remained in his position until his retirement in 1928. At this time Carl Milton Beecher became Dean and remained in this position until 1934. John Walter Beattie became Acting Dean of the School at this time. He became the School's third official Dean in 1936 and served in this position until 1951.
During Lutkin's tenure as the School's first dean, programs were added, expert faculty were recruited, and buildings were constructed to support the growing program. By the time Lutkin retired the School of Music was well established.
In 1928, Carl Milton Beecher, who had been doing a great deal of the administrative work since 1925, became Dean—although he refused to accept the title of “dean” until Lutkin's death in 1931. The rapid expansion that the Music School experienced in the 1920's slowed some with the onset of the Great Depression, but programs and enrollment did continue to grow. However, construction of a planned music building, to be called Presser Hall, was delayed and then cancelled. During Beecher's administration, the School of Music adopted entrance requirements equal to those of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and replaced diplomas and certificates with bachelor's and master's degrees. Beecher stepped down in 1934 to take an indefinite leave in Tahiti to pursue his composing and research interests.
John Walter Beattie, a professor of public school music in Michigan at the time, was appointed acting dean during Beecher's absence. Beattie was promoted to dean in 1936 when Beecher decided not to return. Under Beattie's administration the summer sessions flourished, despite the nationwide Depression, and the number of scholarships offered by the School of Music increased. Also under Beattie, the music education program, or public school music as it was then called, gained national renown, the number of Master's students in the School of Music increased, and the Church and Organ program continued to grow. Still badly in need of a new facility, administrators resumed planning for a new building to be dedicated to the memory of Dean Lutkin. Lutkin Hall, which was completed in 1941, was considerably smaller than the grand Presser Hall planned a decade before. Beattie went on to successfully lead the Music School through WWII and the post-war years until his retirement in 1951.
The Music School Deans Records fill three archival boxes and span the years 1923-1936. The bulk of the records consist of correspondence and documents relating to the administration of the School of Music. Though a small collection, these records encapsulate a formative period in the history of the music school. Many of the records touch on critical topics from the Beecher's administration and the early administration of Beattie, with a few records from the Lutkin years. The records are divided into four subseries: Board of Trustees, Budget, Donors, Faculty, and Subject Files.
The Board of Trustees subseries consists of two folders containing copies of minutes that relate to the appointments of faculty members to the School of Music and building plans for the proposed Presser Hall. These folders span the years 1928-1933.
The Budget subseries, spanning the years 1926-1936, consists of four folders containing correspondence and documents related to budget proposals and actual budget reports. These files are organized chronologically. Faculty salaries and operating costs are detailed. Of special interest is correspondence related to budget cutbacks and constraints during the Great Depression. These folders span from 1926-1936.
Three folders contain Donor information, including records of donations to the 1930 Campaign (for the construction of Presser Hall) from individuals (including Chicago notables such as Samuel Insull); and to the 1925 Music Alumni Special Memorial Fund, established in 1925 to recognize Peter Lutkin.
The Faculty folders contain faculty contracts, notices of termination, and other related correspondence from 1926-1935.
The Subject files cover a wide range of topics. Information about specific departments, scholarships, students, professors, administrative tasks, and other general administrative topics is included under this subheading. Of special interest are the Building Committee plans for Presser Hall, which were abandoned when donors retracted their donations at the beginning of the Great Depression. The Building Committee folder also includes signed letters from Arthur Andersen, who served as an advisor to the building committee. Other topics of interest are the dismissal of Iver Coleman, Professor of Piano, and related correspondence between Coleman's wife, Ione Glore, her mother and Emily Boettcher, also a School of Music faculty member; information about the proposed merger between the University of Chicago and Northwestern University (1932-33); records of scholarships and donations; records of departmental discussion about the relationship between the School of Education and the Music School with respect to education classes for music education students; and a 1923 Survey of the School of Music.
- Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). School of Music (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at email@example.com or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.
Language of Materials
The Music School Deans Records fill three archival boxes and span the years 1923-1936. The bulk of the records consist of correspondence and documents relating to the administration of the School of Music. Though a small collection, these records encapsulate a formative period in the history of the music school. Many of the records touch on critical topics from the Beecher’s administration and the early administration of Beattie, with a few records from the Lutkin years. The records are divided into four subseries: Board of Trustees, Budget, Donors, Faculty, and Subject Files
Each subseries is organized alphabetically by folder title, then chronologically.
Method of Acquisition
These records were transferred to the University Archives by Jeff Smith of Music Administration, on May 15, 2003, as Accession No. 03-67.
Six inches of duplicate and extraneous materials were discarded. Transcripts of music students were added to the individuals' Alumni Biographical Files. One folder of information related to Dean Peter Lutkin was interfiled into the Lutkin Paper. Material related to John W. Beattie but not specifically dealing with administrative issues was organized into six folders and added to the Beattie Papers. These folders included correspondence between Dean Carl Beecher and Beattie; correspondence from Hall & McCreary, the American Book Company and Silver Burdett & Co.—all publishers of books by Beattie; and programs from public school concerts.
Sarah Rose; July 2003
- Guide to the Records of the Dean of the Music School
- Sarah Rose
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository
Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US