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TL v60n1: History of the George F. DeVine Music Library
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Tennessee Libraries 

Volume 60 Number 1



 History of the George F. Devine Music Library


Chris Durman

Music Librarian for Public Services


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The University of Tennessee George F. DeVine Music Library has a complicated pedigree with several progenitors and, like many discipline-specific branch libraries, has served (and continues to serve) many masters.  Although the University offered no program in music or music education until 1946, information about music, one of humanities most universal art forms, could not be left out of any library collection supporting well-rounded education.  The date of the first acquisition of musical materials by the University of Tennessee Libraries may be impossible to determine, but books and scores were undoubtedly available long before students could receive an education centered on the study of music.

Understanding the history of the current Music Library collection requires some knowledge of the various libraries and departments which collected and donated some of the present collection.  In 1946 two Associate Professors of Music Education, Lester S. Bucher and John Clark Rhodes, were appointed in the College of Education and, in 1947, composer, conductor and flutist David Van Vactor was appointed to head the newly created Department of Fine Arts in the College of Liberal Arts.  In 1953 the Department of Music Education was formed in the College of Education and in 1964 the Department of Fine Arts was divided into the Department of Art and the Department of Music; however, the Department of Music Education and the Department of Music remained administratively separate until 1991 (University of Tennessee School of Music, n.d.).  

The departmental collection grew from a few sound recordings brought together for teaching and study within the Department of Fine Arts.  The collection initially resided in a house in the 1500 block of Cumberland Avenue where the record collection was used on a landing in the stairwell.  Gradually, scores and books needed for classroom instruction were added to the collection (George F. DeVine Music Library, n.d.).   

Growth in the UT Libraries also impacted the current collection.  An education branch library opened in 1957, the John C. Hodges Undergraduate Library opened in 1969, and a listening center was established in the Undergraduate Library in 1971 (D. H. Townsend, personal communication, March 1988).  Each of these libraries and departments collected music materials to support the needs of their users and students.   In 1965 a new Music Building opened on Volunteer Boulevard stimulating a plan to incorporate collections developed by the Department of Music, the Department of Music Education, the Education Library, and the Main Library into a 1600 square foot Music Materials Center  (C. M. Bower, personal communication, April 12, 1965).  

Not all items requested by representatives of the Music Materials Center were transferred to the new location, though.  Although some music reference sources, hymnals, books on folk songs and ballads, and books on music in literature were retained by the UT Libraries, in what appears to be an excellent example of departmental collegiality, 3,856 music resources were transferred from the UT Libraries to the Music Materials Center in December 1965.  By February of 1966 the Music Materials Center contained 4,155 volumes.  Apparently a few strings of ownership remained attached to the donated material for the meeting report documenting this transfer ends with the warning, “Try not to let the collection get out of hand; if it does, it will have to be taken up.”  This report also offers the reminder, “The Administration has not authorized a branch music library” (“Music Materials Center Conference,” personal communication, February 25, 1966).

A committee drawn from the Music faculty advised the Music Materials Center and a library assistant supervised all operations.  Almost immediately Department of Music reports begin to detail how budget shortfalls of the Department of Music Education and the Department of Music hampered the success of the Music Materials Center (Department of Music, 1968) and encouraged continued requests from the Music Departments for the UT Libraries to create, fund, and manage a Music Library in the Music Building.  These requests began at least as early as the aforementioned letter from Calvin M. Bower (personal communication, April 12, 1965) and were finally answered when on July 1, 1971 the Music Materials Center became a fully-functioning branch of the UT Libraries, then led by Library Directory, Richard Boss (D. H. Townsend, personal communication, March 1988).  

Appointment of a professional music librarian followed when Anne Viles was hired in September of 1971.  She was assisted at that time by one full-time staff member who handled circulation, reserve, and the processing of materials.  Upon Ms. Viles departure in 1973, Pauline Shaw (later Pauline Shaw Bayne) became Head of the Music Library in August, 1973.  Soon after the arrival of Ms. Shaw, the UT Libraries received a gift of manuscripts, archival materials, and scores related to the careers of Ferruccio Busoni and Gottfried Galston.  These materials were deposited in the UT Libraries Special Collections and indexed by Pauline Shaw Bayne in The Gottfried Galston Music Collection and the Galston-Busoni Archive (1978), the third work published in the UTK Library Occasional Papers Series.  

Two innovative and lengthy projects were begun in the early-1980s, the UT Analysis Index and the UT Song Index.  The UT Analysis Index provides access to historical and theoretical musical analysis included in books held by the Music Library.  The UT Song Index provides title, composer, and first line access to songs contained in songbooks held in the Music Library.  This resource was initially published as microfiche and sold to other libraries.  Both indexes have since migrated to an online environment, continue to be updated, and may now be freely accessed from the Music Library website.  Library automation in the mid-1980s brought online circulation to the Music Library in 1984-1985, followed soon after by migration to an online catalog in 1986-1987.  The online catalog for the entire UT Libraries system was pilot tested in the Music Library.

Facilities continued to expand in the mid-1980s.  The Music Library was offered the opportunity to move to the recently renovated John C. Hodges Library in 1987; however, when the proposed space allotment for the Music Library in Hodges Library was reduced, the faculty in the Departments of Music and Music Education supported the retention of the Music Library in the Music Building.  To address problems associated with a perennial lack of space, the Music Library was given a second classroom and a portion of the hallway adjacent to their original location, enlarging the library space to 3900 square feet (George F. DeVine Music Library, n.d.).    

A popular and notable milestone in the library’s story came on April 27, 1985 when the Music Library’s name was officially changed to the George F. DeVine Music Library to honor retiring Professor George F. DeVine (George F. DeVine Music Library, n.d.).  Professor DeVine came to UT in 1947 with his friend and colleague, David Van Vactor, for whom he had worked previously as a copyist.  Professor DeVine initially served as the Department of Fine Arts secretary and administrative assistant.  By the end of the 1940s he was teaching orchestration and music appreciation, but soon was asked to teach courses in the history and literature of music.  Active in building the collection, he was a career-long advocate for the Music Library.  DeVine even had his office within the library (University of Tennessee School of Music, n.d.).

David Van Vactor donated manuscripts of his compositions (many hand-copied by George DeVine,) a collection of recordings of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and his collection of scores to UT Special Collections in 1987.  These were organized and cataloged by Bayne, Garrett, Smeltzer, and Michie in The David Van Vactor Collection: A Catalog (1993).  

The Music Building connected to the internet in the mid-1990s and soon thereafter the Music Library’s first home page and the UT Song Index on the Web (an update of the print based UT Song Index) were launched.   An expansion in the number of database subscriptions followed so that now a high proportion of all music journals may be searched and, in many cases, accessed electronically in full-text.  The UT Analysis Index and subject guides on musical topics were converted from print to electronic format and made accessible via internet.  The Music Library now subscribes to several streaming audio databases that allow users to listen via internet to a wide range of music not necessarily held in the library.  Recently, the first streaming video database on a musical topic, Opera in Video, was added to the collection.  

Music Library clientele have benefited from the expertise of several professional librarians in recent years.  Richard Harwood was Music Library Coordinator from 1997- 2000.  In 2000, Margaret Kaus became Music Reference and Cataloging Librarian.  During that same year, Pauline Shaw Bayne, who then supervised the Music Library, the Media Center and The Studio in Hodges Library, the UT Social Work Library in Nashville, and special projects such as moving collections, was appointed Interim Associate Dean of Libraries.   With Professor Bayne’s increasing duties in library administration and Professor Kaus’s departure in 2005, Nathalie Hristov was appointed Music Librarian for Technical Services in 2005 and Chris Durman Music Librarian for Public Services in 2006.  Since 2000, the support staff have included both a day and an evening library supervisor.  

In 2007, Professor Bayne was appointed Assistant Dean of Libraries and Sandra Leach became Head of Branch Library Services, including the Music Library.  Professor Bayne retired from the UT Libraries in 2009.  Her most recent book, A Guide to Library Research in Music (2008) distills knowledge acquired throughout her library career, including seventeen years of teaching Music Bibliography for the School of Music (George F. DeVine Music Library, n.d.).  

The year 2010 promises to bring another landmark for the George F. DeVine Music Library.  In December 2009 the UT School of Music and the Music Library will move out of the present building into temporary locations while a new Music Building is built.  The new building will contain a Music Library and much work has already been devoted to making this new facility a worthy heir to the legacy of the George F. DeVine Music Library.    


Department of Music. (1968). Department of Music: Report: 1967-1968.  Knoxville, TN: Department of Music.

George F. DeVine Music Library. (n.d.). Music Library History. Retrieved from

Knoxville Symphony Society. (1984). The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra: Fifty years of  the KSO: A legacy of symphonic excellence. Knoxville, TN: Knoxville Symphony Society.

University of Tennessee School of Music. (n.d.).  History of the School of Music. Retrieved from


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