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The Householder

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0651

The Householder, an unpublished novella, is attributed to composer David Van Vactor, who received the manuscript in its very early, rough form from his friend Dr. Carter Umbarger. The original author of this manuscript, who is unnamed, tells the story from his perspective and may reflect events from his own life. He passed away of illness around 1966 in Washington, D.C., and the manuscript was then passed to Van Vactor, who revised and edited the story with the intent of publishing it.

This collection is mainly composed of drafts in several parts and chapters, both handwritten and typed, by both Van Vactor and the original creator. Many are unlabeled, out of order, and difficult to read. There are two somewhat complete versions of the manuscript but the final product is not included. There are also letters of correspondence between Van Vactor and several publishing companies from his time writing, revising, and attempting to get the manuscript published between 1966 and 1971.

The ordered drafts, especially the more revised versions, are separated and labeled based on the typescript for final typing that includes almost the complete manuscript. Most of these chapters are undated but the majority of Van Vactor's rewrites were most likely done between 1966 and 1968.

Dates

  • circa 1961-1971, undated

Language

This material is written in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

1 Linear Feet

Abstract

The Householder, an unpublished novella, is attributed to composer David Van Vactor, who received the manuscript in its very early, rough form from his friend Dr. Carter Umbarger. The original author of this manuscript, who is unnamed, tells the story from his perspective and may reflect events from his own life. He passed away of illness around 1966 in Washington, D.C., and the manuscript was then passed to Van Vactor, who revised and edited the story with the intent of publishing it.

Biographical/Historical Note

David Van Vactor was born to Daniel Ellsworth and Mathilda (Fenstermacher) Van Vactor in Plymouth, Indiana on May 8, 1906. He completed three years of pre-medical education at Northwestern University before transferring to the School of Music, where he earned his BA (1928) and MA (1935) degrees. Additionally, he studied in Europe at the Wiener Akademie in Austria (1929), and at L'Ecole Normale in Paris (1931). In 1932, Van Vactor began his professional music career as a flutist with the Chicago Symphony, where he remained for thirteen years. During his time with the Chicago Symphony, Van Vactor served as the Symphony's Assistant Conductor in 1933 and 1934 and earned the Frederick Stock Scholarship in conducting in 1939. Stock then mentored him until Stock's death in 1942. During this time, Van Vactor also taught theory and conducted the chamber orchestra at his alma mater, Northwestern University, from 1936-1943.

In 1943, Van Vactor moved to Kansas City, where he worked as the assistant conductor of the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra and as the Head of the Department of Theory and Composition in the Conservatory of Music unitl 1947. Van Vactor also undertook several tours to South America with the sponsorship of United States Department of State and the League of Composers during this time. He made one tour as part of a woodwind quintet (1941) and two others as the visiting conductor of the Rio de Janeiro Orchestra (1945) and Santiago de Chile Orchestra (1946). He also served as a visiting professor at Chile University during the 1945-1946 school year, where he had a profound impact on many young composers.

Van Vactor came to Knoxville in 1947 to conduct the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, where he remained until his retirement 25 years later. That same year, he also founded the University of Tennessee's Fine Arts Department (now the School of Music) where he taught until 1976. During his time in Knoxville, Van Vactor composed several orignal pieces and recieved a Fulbright grant in 1957 to study comparative reactions of school children to educational concerts. Every Child May Hear, a book by David Van Vactor and Katherine D. Moore (The University of Tennessee Press, 1960), describes the findings of this project. Among his many awards, Van Vactor was named "Composer Laureate of Tennessee" by the State Legislature in 1975 and was named Professor Emeritus of Composition and Flute at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville upon his retirement. Van Vactor died in Los Angeles, California on March 24, 1994. He was survived by his wife, Virginia (Landreth) Van Vactor (1911-1995), and two children, Raven Harwood (nee Adriaen Virginia) and David Landreth Van Vactor.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480