H.E. Nutt Archives


at VanderCook College of Music

H.A. VanderCook the Teacher by Gilbert Edwin Wilson (About this Digital Project)

H.E. Nutt Teaching Worksheets: searchable scans of H.E. Nutt's popular worksheets (About this Digital Project)

VanderCook College Commencement Collection: historic photos and programs

The VanGuard: VanderCook College of Music Newsletter, 1960-Present

About the Archives


VanderCook Cornet School was founded in 1909 by Hale A. VanderCook to train professional musicians, directors and teachers. VanderCook College of Music was incorporated in 1928 as a non-profit teacher training institution under Illinois State Law. The first VanderCook College graduating class completed their studies in July 1931 (see photo in this collection). Each summer since 1931 VanderCook College of Music has celebrated the latest graduating class with a commencement program and class photograph. This collection shares all known examples of commencement program and class photographs through 1980.

The program text has been scanned and can be searched for names, dates, musical compositions performed, and other details. The VanderCook archivist hopes you enjoy perusing this collection. We welcome feedback and any help available associating names with faces in these photographs, many of which are not currently known. If you are in one of these photographs, or know someone who was, please contact the archivist at

The Significance of H.A. VanderCook and H.E. Nutt

Hale A. VanderCook co-founded VanderCook College of Music in 1909. This famous pedagogue influenced American music education through his publications and compositions. He was a pioneer in developing courses for teaching music through correspondence. VanderCook was an advocate in the philosophy that musical expression could be taught. He composed more than 70 marches, as well as numerous series for solo brass instruments, many of which are still widely played. The definitive biography of VanderCook, H.A. VanderCook the Teacher, was written in 1971 by Gilbert E. Wilson.

Hubert E. Nutt was co-founder of VanderCook College of Music, along with H.A. VanderCook. His role in training music teachers and developing the college's curriculum and purpose influenced several generations of music teachers throughout the country. He authored hundreds of instructional worksheets, such as “How to learn to listen: 20 principles.” He also patented several inventions, such as the “Tape Met,” a hand-held, pendulous metronome device which works by means of gravity.

The collections of VanderCook and Nutt continue to draw much attention. These collections are important because of the influence their creators had on several generations of noted American music educators and composers. The documents, inventions, and teaching materials present in these collections provide insight into the accomplishments and philosophies of these music educators.

Several recent publications have made use of the H.E. Nutt Archives and its collections. These include, The H.A. VanderCook Solo Collection, published by Carl Fischer. The Carl Fischer publishing company used original scores in the H.E. Nutt Archives collection to complete this publication. Author and scholar Victor Zajec drew on archival resources for three of his publications: The First Fifty Years: Midwest International Band and Orchestra ClinicPast Presidents of the American Bandmasters Association, and Edwin Franko Goldman Memorial Citation: A History.

Background on VanderCook-Nutt Digital Projects

VanderCook College of Music, with assistance from an award give by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), digitized materials pertaining to two Nutt and VanderCook.

H.A. VanderCook: the Teacher original and complete text, along with notes and photographs, has been digitized. The project includes a full audio transcription of the text and new, high resolution color scans of the original documents previously reproduced in black & white.

The college also digitized and created brief audio descriptions for more than 100 teaching worksheets written by Nutt. The teaching worksheets demonstrate the breadth of Nutt's educational scholarship. Various topics include string pedagogy, teaching band, music theory, and baton twirling. A searchable text version, accompanied by audio narration, is provided for 11 of these documents.

Credits for the VanderCook-Nutt Digital Projects

Voice talent for the audio narration was provided by Innovative Artists Chicago. H.A. VanderCook the Teacher was read by Rick Elliott. The Nutt Teaching Worksheets were read by Chris Agos. Audio narration was recorded at Audio Recording Unlimited (ARU). The recording sessions were produced by VanderCook faculty member and production artist Mike Pendowski. The CONTENTdm collections were constructed by VanderCook College Head Librarian and Archivist Rob DeLand. The project was conceived and managed by former Library Director Don Widmer, whose fine work and leadership are gratefully acknowledged. Special thanks to the family of G.E. Wilson for their generosity and assistance.


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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