Frances Lanier

Born in 1914 in the Nez Perce, Idaho, Lanier began her violin education at the age of 4. At the age of 13 she played her first concert in Seattle, where she and her family had moved.  Lanier attended the University of Oregon, where she studied with Rex Underwood.  While in university, she appeared as a soloist with the University Orchestra and the Portland Symphony. 

Lanier earned her Master of Music from NEC in 1938, studying under Harrison Keller. The same year she received the Frank Huntington Beebe Scholarship for Travel and Study Abroad, during which she studied with Adolph Busch in Switzerland and George Enesco in Paris. 

Lanier taught at the Longy School of Music and the Groton School, while continuing to perform not only with the Boston Symphony Pops but also in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.  Around this time she married Sterling Lanier with whom she had two daughters, Elizabeth (Betse) Lanier and Margaret Lanier Brown. 

In 1950 she co-founded with Virginia Bacon and directed the NEC Music Course for Young Players, which was renamed the Preparatory Department, then the Special Student Department, and eventually the Extension Division.  This school not only teaches pre-college students but also offers non-degree programs for adults. Lanier led the school until 1975 when the leadership role was taken over by A. Ramon Rivera.  During this time she established three branch schools and expanded the Preparatory School to 800 students.

Lanier continued to teach and perform after retiring from her leadership role at NEC.  A scholarship was set up in her name as well as an honor seat in Jordan Hall.  She won numerous awards including the American String Teachers Association “Teacher of the Year” Award in 1982.

She received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from NEC in 1992.  She stayed involved in the Preparatory School through the 50th Anniversary in 2000. She passed away in 2000.

Physical Description

The Frances Brockman Lanier collection occupies one linear foot, or one box and an oversized folder.  The collection consists mainly of paper files but also has a good number of newspaper clippings and photographs.


This collection includes material created by, and belonging to Frances Brockman Lanier. The materials were donated to the Conservatory by her daughter, Betse Lanier, in August 2008.


Access to the Frances Brockman Lanier collection is granted by the Archivist. Appointments must be scheduled in advance.  There are no restrictions pertaining to this collection.


All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory.  Permission to publish materials from this collection is granted by the Director of Libraries. This collection should be cited as: Frances Brockman Lanier Collection. New England Conservatory Archives, Boston, MA.

Scope & Content

The Lanier collection is organized into eight series:

  1. Biographical Information
  2. Correspondence
  3. Photographs
  4. Publicity
  5. Preparatory School Material
  6. Programs
  7. Published Material
  8. Miscellaneous

The Biographical Information includes pieces written by others on Lanier as well as copies of her resumé, personal memories of the Preparatory School after 25 years, information regarding her 55th class reunion from NEC, annotated folders she used for organization, and other items regarding her legacy.

Correspondence includes letters to and from Lanier dating 1941–2001. Most exchanges are between Lanier and colleagues; however, there are some items of correspondence between various members of Lanier’s family which are not directly to or from her.  A sizeable portion of the correspondence regards Lanier’s retirement and death.

The Photographs show Lanier over the course of her career as well as people influential in her musical development

Publicity material covers Lanier’s performance career and includes sketches for her publicity picture.

Most of the collection consists of material regarding the Preparatory School.  This includes school catalogues, curriculum guides, information for involved parties, and planning material. Of special note is a group of writings by Louis Krasner done while he taught at NEC.  

The Programs cover concerts by Lanier and her students both at NEC and other locations. This series contains newspaper clippings regarding concerts in which Lanier performed.  There are also a few graduation programs from NEC and the Preparatory School.

The Published Material consists of not only clippings regarding Lanier’s performance career but also NEC and the Preparatory School, along with other music schools in the area.

Miscellaneous incorporates items that did not fit smoothly into other series. Items here include information regarding the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts and items of interest to Lanier.


Container List

Series 1: Biographical Information

Box 1 – Folder 1,
Biographical Information, Biographical Sketches, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 2,
Biographical Information, FBL Resume, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 3,
Biographical Information, FBL Memory Notes on Preparatory School 25th
Anniversary, 1975.

Box 1 – Folder 4,
Biographical Information, FBL 55th Class Reunion (1937) Planning Notes, 1991-2.

Box 1 – Folder 5,
Biographical Information, FBL Annotated Folders, 1975 (?) – 1992.

Box 1 – Folder 6,
Biographical Information, Miscellaneous, 1976 – 2000, n.d.

Series 2: Correspondence

Box 1 – Folder 7,
Correspondence, From FBL, 1967 – 99.

Box 1 – Folder 8,
Correspondence, To FBL From Various, 1942 – 99 (bulk 1971 – 99), n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 9,
Correspondence, Regarding Retirement, 4/1982 – 6/1982, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 10,
Correspondence, Regarding Death of FBL, 1/2000 – 4/2000.

Box 1 – Folder 11,
Correspondence, Family Correspondence, 1941 – 2000.

Series 3: Photographs

Box 1 – Folder 12,
Photographs, FBL, 1946 – 74, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 13,
Photographs, Others, n.d.

Series 4: Publicity

Box 2 – Folder 1,
Publicity, 1934 – 5, n.d.

Series 5: Preparatory School Material

Box 1 – Folder 14,
Preparatory School Material, Catalogues, 1960 – 87, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 15,
Preparatory School Material, Curriculum Guidelines, 1935 (?) – 84, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 16,
Preparatory School Material, Faculty Information, 1952 – 87, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 17,
Preparatory School Material, Parent and Student Information, 1972 – 9, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 18,
Preparatory School Material, NEC Prep Fundraising Event Information, 1974 – 84.

Box 1 – Folder 19,
Preparatory School Material, Project Proposals, 1966 – 87.

Box 1 – Folder 20,
Preparatory School Material, Anniversary Collections, 1975 – 1999, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 21,
Preparatory School Material, Louis Krasner, 1985 – 8, n.d.

Series 6: Programs

Box 2 – Folder 2,
Programs, Concert, FBL, 1931 – 86 (bulk 1931 – 55), n.d. Includes laminated
newspaper clippings and notes.

Box 1 – Folder 22,
Programs, Concert, NEC Preparatory School, 1956 – 89.

Box 1 – Folder 23,
Programs, Concert, NEC Extension Division, 1973 – 88, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 24
Programs, Concert, Belmont Music School, 1978 – 92.

Box 1 – Folder 25,
Programs, Concert, NEC, 1977 – 2000.

Box 1 – Folder 26,
Programs, Concert, Miscellaneous, 1971 – 99, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 27
Programs, Graduation, NEC Preparatory School, 1964 – 84.

Box 1 – Folder 28,
Programs, Graduation, NEC, 5/17/1992.

Series 7: Published Material

Box 2 – Folder 3,
Published Material, FBL Clippings, 1932 – 92 (bulk 1932 – 44), n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 29,
Published Material, NEC Publications, 1978 – 99, n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 30,
Published Material, NEC Clippings, 1924 – 99, n.d.

Series 8: Miscellaneous

Box 1 – Folder 31,
Miscellaneous, Belmont Music School, 1976 – 91, n.d.

Finding aid compiled by Marti Verso, Fall 2008

Box 1 – Folder 32,
Miscellaneous, National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, 1982 – 1993 (bulk
1990), n.d.

Box 1 – Folder 33,
Miscellaneous, Miscellaneous, 1999, n.d.