University of Texas Arlington

Earl D. Irons Papers:

A Guide

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Irons, Earl D., 1891-1967.
Title: Earl D. Irons Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1901-1976
Bulk Dates: 1921-1976
Identification: AR194
Extent: 7 boxes (2.58 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Biographical Note

Earl D. Irons, noted bandmaster and composer, was born near Sulphur Springs on March 10, 1891. He began to study the violin at age four and subsequently took up the snare drum and the cornet. By age ten, he was playing in a band, and when he was fifteen, he was elected director of his own community band, which he directed for a number of years.

For the next several years, Irons continued to study both violin and cornet. He played in theaters and toured the country with bands and orchestras. During World War I, he served in an Army band and studied in the U.S. Army Band School.

After the War, Irons returned to Sulphur Springs and again took up band directing. In 1922, he became director of the Greenville American Legion Band and head of the Violin Department at Burleson College.

The Colonel's association with the University of Texas at Arlington, then North Texas Agricultural College, began in 1925, when he became head of the Band and Orchestra Department. Irons was head of the Fine Arts Department from 1942 to 1956, and he retired from the College in 1958. He was made professor emeritus in 1958.

Colonel Irons's talents and contributions were widely recognized; he was named lieutenant colonel on Governor Allred'd staff in 1935. He founded Phi Beta Mu, national school bandmasters' fraternity, in 1938 and was made honorary life president in 1942. In 1951 and 1952, he served as president of the American Bandmasters' Association. The Texas Bandmasters' Association honored him as Bandmaster of the Year in 1965.

The Colonel, a renowned cornetist and composer, was the author of such works as Emerald Isle,American Rhapsody,American Grandeur, and Hail to the Fraternity March. In addition to playing, directing, and composing, he traveled extensively, teaching clinics and serving as a judge at numerous band contests and festivals. As early as 1934, he was said to have done more for the advancement of band music in Texas than any other individual. He also was a respected amateur golfer.

Colonel Irons died May 19, 1967.

Scope and Contents

Scrapbooks, 1921-1967; photographs, 1901-1961; batons, medals, and pins, 1926-1960; certificates and awards, 1935-1967; trophies and plaques, 1930-1965. The scrapbooks contain a large variety of materials, primarily newsclippings and programs, but also include correspondence, photos, bulletins, invitations, speeches, badges, and miscellaneous printed memorabilia. Scrapbook material pertains to Irons’ career and activities. His Selmer cornet is in the University Artifacts Collection.



Materials from the scrapbooks are arranged chronologically.



Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.

Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Irons, Earl D., 1891-1967--Archives.
Arlington State College--Faculty.
Arlington State College--Bands.
Music teachers--Texas--Arlington.
Bands (Music)--Texas--History--Sources.
Alternate Titles
University Archives.

Related Material

The UT Arlington Library's oral history collection includes an interview with Mrs. Earl D. Irons (UA OH9).

Administrative Information


Gift of Mrs. Lena Irons, February 5, 1976.


Earl D. Irons Papers, AR194, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library.

Processing Information

The Earl D. Irons Papers were comprised of six scrapbooks arranged in chronological order and a large variety of memorabilia. The scrapbooks were disassembled, repaired, and placed in folders. Awards, trophies, photographs, plaques, badges, pins, batons, and miscellaneous items were placed at the end of the collection.

Container List


Box Folder
1 1 Volume I, Number 1, 1921-May, 1926
2 Volume I, Number 2, 1927-July, 1932
3 Volume I, Number 3, July, 1932-May 11, 1935
4 Volume I, Number 4, May 17, 1935-February 8, 1938
5 Volume II, Number 1, March, 1938-May 6, 1939
6 Volume II, Number 2, May 11, 1939-July, 1940
Box Folder
2 1 Volume II, Number 3, July, 1940-April 26, 1941
2 Volume III, Number 1, May, 1941 - July 3, 1942
3 Volume III, Number 1A, May 29, 1937 - 1944
(some undated memorabilia in this folder was in a side pocket in Volume III)
4 Volume III, Number 2, August, 1942 - December, 1945
Box Folder
OS119 1 Volume IV, Number 1, January, 1946 - April, 1948
2 Volume IV, Number 2, April, 1948 - August, 1949
3 Volume IV, Number 3, August 25, 1949 - April 10, 1951
4 Volume IV, Number 4, May 4, 1951 - March 16, 1952
Box Folder
OS120 1 Volume V, Number 1, March 2, 1952 - March 18, 1956
2 Volume V, Number 2, March, 1956 - December, 1958
3 Volume V, Number 3, February 5, 1959 - October 12, 1961
Box Folder
OS121 1 Volume VI, Number 1, January, 1962 - February, 1965
2 March, 1965 - December, 1967
3 Display Materials
4 News clippings, May 21-26, 1976
5 Photographs of Guest Conductors at National Band Festival, University of Kansas, 1935
6 Photographs, 1901-1961
(nos. 1-11, Long Beach, California-July 19, 1941)
1. Earl D. and Mrs. Lena Irons
2. Earl Irons with Herbert Clarke
3. Earl Irons Conducting Long Beach Municipal Band
4. Ruby Clarke Henderson (Daughter of Herbert L. Clarke) and Mrs. Irons
5. Earl D. Irons and Herbert L. Clarke
6. Herbert L. Clarke, Mrs. Irons and Hugh Fowler
7. Hugh Fowler, Herbert L. Clarke and Don Payne see Vol. III, No. 1, p. 14 for further identification of 6 & 7
8. Mrs. Earl Irons, Herbert L. Clarke and daughter, Ruby Clarke Henderson
9. Herbert L. Clarke conducting Long Beach Municipal Band
10. Mrs. Irons, Herbert L. Clarke and Ruby Clarke Henderson
11. Herbert Clarke and Hugh Fowler
12. Gainsville, Florida - 1953, Front Row: Jack Mahan, Dr. Edwin Franko Goldman, Bill Revelli, Dr. A. Harding, second row: Tom F. Darcey, Captain Resta, Herbert Johnson and Earl D. Irons
13. Formal Dinner of American Bandmasters (A.B.A.), Fort Dodge, Iowa - February 28, 1939
14. A.B. members and wives, Hagerstown, Maryland - March 11-13, 1940
15. 11th Annual A.B.A. Convention, Hagerstown, Maryland - March 11-13, 1940, Kelly Studios
16. A.B.A. Convention, Madison, Wisconsin - Feb. 28-29 and March 1-2, 1941
17. Golfers, Arlington, Texas - August 14, 1949, left to right - Byron Nelson, Aniela Goldthwaite (Mrs. Frank Goldthwaite), Colonel Earl D. Irons, Betty Mims White, Raymond Gafford (for news article on golfing event see Vol. IV, No. 1, p. 22)
18. Band, Colonel Earl D. Irons at age 10 (boy with small drum) Earl Irons father: fourth from left (standing) 1901
19. Earl Irons as N.T.A.C. Bandmaster, 1936 (8 × 10)
20. Earl Irons w/Cornet, 1939 (H.N. White Co.) (8 × 10)
21. Earl Irons w/Cornet, 1939 (H.N. White Co.) (3½ × 5½)
22. Earl Irons w/Reynold's Cornet, 1948 (signed by Irons) (3½ × 4½)
23. Earl Irons, studio portrait, 1961, (3½ × 5)
OS122 Exhibit Materials: Batons, medals and pins, Shorthorn, September, 1956 - April, 1957, September, 1957 - May, 1959
1. Metal with wooden handle
2. All wood - names, Bill Lans, H. Krapell, Cristrok, Wm. Fluwie
3. Plastic w/cork end - "To the A.B.A., compliments of King David Batons."
4. All plastic with multi-colored handle
5. S. Hastock Baton
6. U.S.A.F. Band of the West; cork end; October 18, 1960
7. From Major KURTZ - Air Force Band; cork end - October 4, 1959
8. 3 batons w/wooden ends
9. 1 baton - wood
Row 1 - Medals and Pins
1. Tri-State Music Festival, Sponsor: Phillips University Band, Enid, Oklahoma - April 5-7, 1934
2. Tri-State Festival, Phillips University, Enid, Oklahoma - 1936
3. Tri-State Music Festival, Phillips University, Enid, Oklahoma - 1937
4. Pin (lapel)
5. Texas Music Educators Association Pin
6. Pin - IBM (International Band Masters)
7. Pin-assorted colors
8. Pin, IBM (International Band Masters)
9. Pin w/inlay, letter L on purple background
10. Pin - gold plated
11. Pin - made in France
12. and 13. Same type of pin, music symbol on them
14. Pin with star and Texas printed on it (gold plated)
15. Pin: Loyal Order of "Screwballs" Headquarters, the H. N. White Co. of Texas, Abilene, Texas
16. Pin - Leaf Shaped
17. Pin-gold - U.S. w/Texas printed above
Row 2 - Medals
1. Life-PGA, Irons beat the U.S. Open Champion, Julius Boros - May 23, 1953 - 2nd Annual National Golf Day
2. Florida Band and Orchestra Association, "Presented to Colonel Irons in appreciation of his services," West Palm Beach - 1937
3. Tri-State Band Festival, Phillips University, Earl D. Irons - 1939
4. Tri-State Band Festival, Phillips University, Earl D. Irons - 1940
5. Earl D. Irons: First Prize to Band Master Two-Year Class, W.T.C. of C. Convention, June 18-19-20-28, Dallas, Texas
6. Earl Irons Guest Conductor: North Texas All State Band - 1937
7. Earl D. Irons: First Prize - 1928
8. Earl D. Irons: First Prize, 3 Year Class, State Band Contest - 1929
9. Earl D. Irons
Row 3
1. Enid Chamber of Commerce and Phillips University Band, the Tri-State Band Festival, Enid, Oklahoma; Back: Col. Earl D. Irons - 1941
2. National Golf Day, Life PGA, Irons beat Ben Hogan - May 31, 1952
3. Guest Conductor, Earl D. Irons, National Band Festival, University of Kansas - 1935
4. Guest State Fair of Texas 51st Exposition - Oct. 7-22, 1939
5. Most Efficient Band Director, West Texas State Band Association, from G. L. Barnhouse Music Publishers, Oskaloosa, Iowa
6. Judge, F.B.A., 1932; presented by Major Ed Chenetta, Pres., F.B.A.
7. Life P.G.A. National Golf Day - Irons beat the U.S. Open Champion Ed Furgol - June 4, 1955
8. Earl D. Irons, Fort Worth Ladies Band, Presented by D.L. Whittle Music Company, Dallas
9. Earl D. Irons, First Prize Junior College Class - 1929
Row 4
1. Tri-State Band Festival, Phillips University, Earl D. Irons
2. Director National High School Clinic Band - 1939 - Eighth Annual Held at University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois
3. First Prize in Two-Year Class, W.T.C.C., Amarillo, Texas - June 21, 1926
4. Colonel Earl D. Irons, Dallas Band House, San Antonio Director, First Prize Band Contest, Waco, Texas - May 3-4, 1926
1 Certificate commissioning Earl D. Irons, Lieutenant Colonel, Governor's Staff, May 6, 1935
2 Certificate, Earl D. Irons elected member to American Bandmaster Association, February 2, 1937
3 Membership Certificate - Phi Beta Mu, elected Honorary Life President, 1942
4 Kappa Kappa Psi - Honorary Music Fraternity, Norman, Oklahoma, June 10, 1938
5 Zoellner Conservatory of Music Award, February 3, 1942
6 Award, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, April 4, 1950
7 Tri-State Music Festival Award, Enid, Oklahoma, 20th Anniversary Festival, May 7-10, 1952;
Tri-State Welcome Card, May 12-15
8 Tri-State Music Festival Award, Enid, Oklahoma, May 1-4, 1957
9 Award, Emeritus of Music at Arlington State College, January 16, 1962
10 Honorary Membership Certificate in Kappa Kappa Psi, Dec. 8, 1964
11 Tri-State Music Festival Award, Enid, Oklahoma, May 3-5, 1962
12 Tri-State Music Festival Award, Enid, Oklahoma, May 4-5, 1967
13 Colonel Earl D. Irons, Arlington State College, Accomplishments and Achievements, drawing by Bob Cullen
14 Studio Portrait, Earl D. Irons with Cornet - age 16
15 Photograph inscribed: "Greetings to Col. Earl D. Irons, Music the Builder of Unity," signed Bob Mukovsky
Box Folder
3 1 Golf trophy, 1st Champion R.U.
2 Golf trophy, Flight Winner City Championship 1949
3 Golf Plaque, Third Flight North Hills Spring Tournament Winner 1930
4 Plaque - Texas Band Masters Assn. 1965,
Earl D. Irons, Bandmaster of the Year
5 Bottle of "Valve oil formula by Col. Earl D. Irons, Cornetist, Teacher, Friend. In His Memory."