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Wiley L. Housewright Collections

Archives Overview

  • 17 boxes of notes and research material
  • 3 boxes of correspondence, speeches, and ephemera
  • 1 box of photographs and clippings

Sheet Music Collection Overview

  • 20 bound volumes of sheet music (3.5 linear feet)


Wiley Lee Housewright (1913-2003) joined the faculty of Florida State University as a professor of music in 1947. Among his accomplishments during his tenure were initiating a graduate program, and founding and conducting the University Singers, which he developed into one of the nation’s top choral organizations. He was appointed the third Dean of the FSU School of Music in 1966 and served until his retirement in 1980. He served in national organizations including the Music Educators National Conference (now the National Association for Music Education; president, 1968-1970) and the Sonneck Society (now the Society for American Music), who named the Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award in his honor.

The Music Library holds two collections related to Dr. Housewright: an archive of his research notes and correspondence and a collection of sheet music binder’s albums collected over the course of his career.

Housewright Archives

Housewright left a legacy of early Florida music research to the FSU Music Library. After his retirement he focused on his research on early Florida music. His Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, A History of Music and Dance in Florida, 1565-1865 (ML200 .F6 H7 1991) was published by the University of Alabama Press in 1991, and his Anthology of Early Music in Florida (ML200.7 .F6 A5 1999) was published in 1999 by the University of Florida Press. During his career, Dr. Housewright traveled for many professional conferences and appointments, and was highly respected by his colleagues. He made contributions to the FSU music program which should not be forgotten.

The Housewright Archives at the Warren D. Allen Music Library contains many boxes of personal research, papers, manuscripts and drafts of Dr. Housewright’s books about early Florida music. Some of the more pertinent topics of interest include notes on the music of early Florida residents including Native Americans, African-Americans, and the Spanish and other settlers of European descent; as well as church music, military music, folk music and the role music played in early social life.

While the collection consists principally of the research done for his books, there are also several boxes of material covering his other professional interests, correspondence and speeches written for professional organization meetings such as the Music Educators National Conference (MENC), the Sonneck Society, and the International Society for Music Educations (ISME).

Items in the Wiley L. Housewright Archives do not appear in the online catalog; however, a partial inventory of the materials exists in print only. The collection is available for research by appointment. For more information, please contact our Special Collections staff.

Housewright Sheet Music Collection

In the 19th century, when the piano fulfilled many of the functions of the home entertainment center, it was common for individuals to have their collections of music bound into books for ease of use and storage. Dean Housewright collected a number of such volumes in Florida and south Georgia in the course of research for his book A History of Music and Dance in Florida, 1565-1865, which he subsequently donated to the library.

Many of the pieces contained in these volumes are undated, but those that are range from the 1820s through the 1880s, with the majority falling roughly between 1840-1870. Most volumes contain pieces from American publishers, though some volumes feature pieces from England as well.

The Housewright Sheet Music Collection has the call number MUS M1 .H68 and is briefly listed by volume in our online catalog. Volumes are available for consultation in the library.