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Department of Music records

 Record Group
Identifier: 002-006-003-006

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of audio materials, correspondence, minutes, reports, programs, announcements, and other material related to the groups, governance, and events created by the Department of Music.


  • Creation: 1866-2003

Historical Note

When the doors of the Maryland State Normal School (MSNS) opened in January of 1866, Art and Music were part of the curriculum for all students who would soon be teachers themselves. As teachers specializing in elementary classrooms in often very rural areas, MSNS graduates would be the sole source of information for their students, so it was important that they had a good grounding in a variety of subjects, including music.

One or two MSNS faculty members taught music, which could mean both instrumental and vocal music, until the 1930s when additional faculty members were added, as the school moved from a teacher’s training institute to a teacher’s college in 1935. Musical groups such as the Glee Club and the Orchestra were formed prior to 1935 as well.

This remained the status quo until after World War II. As the school, now known as the State Teachers College at Towson, began its journey towards becoming a comprehensive liberal arts college, the programs in the Arts also began to expand. In 1958, Towson began a collaboration with the Peabody Conservatory of Music and offered a program of “serious music study”. By 1961, Towson offered a Bachelor in Liberal Arts with specializations in Music as well as other programs, and two years later, the school became a liberal arts college and Music was offered as a major for the first time. At this time, the program expanded beyond theory and appreciation to include working with various instruments, composition, and conducting. By 1969, a Master in Music Education was available.

With the creation of the college system in 1982, the departments of Art, Dance, Mass Communications, Music and Theatre would all fall under the College of Fine Arts and Communication. That year also saw the first large collaboration among the departments as the Summer Arts Festival debuted. This festival was renamed the Maryland Arts Festival in 1987, and would continue until 2005 when it was deemed too costly and ended. Towson would also organize and host World Music, World Guitar, and World Cello Congresses, featuring such luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma. In 1989, the Master of Music Performance/Composition was established.


6.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Music was one of the first classes taught to students at the Maryland State Normal School, predecessor of Towson University, when it opened its doors in 1866. The focus of the program was primarily on offering education for classroom instruction. Later, music appreciation as well as instruction in the form of vocal and instrumental lessons were added. By 1961, the State Teachers College at Towson offered a Bachelor in Liberal Arts with a Music concentration and two years later, after the school became a liberal arts college, students could graduate with a degree in Music. Masters programs in Music Education and Music Performance/Composition were later added. This collection contains audio material, correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, member lists, recordings, and programs for recitals and other events sponsored by the Music Department.

Guide to the Department of Music records
Unknown, Transferred to ArchivesSpace by John Esh
Undated, 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Towson University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Albert S. Cook Library
8000 York Rd
Towson MD 21252 United States