Wiley L. Housewright (1913-2003)

By Heller, George N. | Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, April 2004 | Go to article overview

Wiley L. Housewright (1913-2003)


Heller, George N., Journal of Historical Research in Music Education


Historians of music education will be saddened to learn of the recent death of Wiley Lee Housewright (1913-2003). Housewright was an ardent supporter of historical research in music education and a fine practitioner of it. An advocate of local and state history, he wrote A History of Music and Dance in Florida, 1565-1865 (1991) and compiled and edited An Anthology of Music in Early Florida (1999). He was a subscriber to The Bulletin of Historical Research in Music Education from the outset, and he spoke many encouraging words to members of the History Special Research Interest Group in the early years as they were getting organized and seeking recognition from the research community.

Housewright began his musical career in 1918, when he and his four-year-old twin brother Riley sang two patriotic songs for a fund-raiser at the Methodist Church in Wylie, Texas, where the boys were born. Housewright's early musical training was at home and at the church. His mother was a pianist and a singer, and the boys often sang sacred and secular songs in their youth. Housewright graduated from Plano (Texas) High School in 1930, at the age of sixteen, and then attended the North Texas State Teachers College (now the University of North Texas) in Denton. At North Texas, Housewright studied piano, voice, and cello, and also taught himself to play the baritone horn. He played in the school orchestra, sang in school choirs, and participated in musical theater productions.

Following graduation in 1934, Housewright taught in public schools in Morris, Irving, and Fort Worth, Texas (1934-37), and in Batavia, New York (1938-41). He earned a master's degree from Columbia University in 1938. Housewright was a lecturer in music at New York University from 1941 to 1943 and earned the Ed.D. degree there in 1943. He also studied music theory at the Juilliard School and voice at Texas Christian University and the Eastman School of Music. From 1943 to 1946, Housewright served in the U. S. Army Medical Corps in the United States and in the Philippines. He was a visiting professor in music at North Texas State Teachers College (1938-40), Indiana University (1955), and the University of Michigan (1960). In 1946-47, Housewright taught at the University of Texas, and in 1947, he joined the faculty at Florida State University. In 1961, Florida State named Housewright a distinguished professor. He was dean of the School of Music there from 1966-79 and became a professor emeritus in 1980.

Housewright was an editor of the Birchard Music Series (1958-62), along with Karl D. …

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