Dr. Frances Elliott Clark, director of the educational department, first attempted to teach music in schools as a supervisor of music in the Milwaukee school system. She is known as the originator of the present system of teaching music appreciation in public schools in the United States and was the organizer of the educational unit, having served with the company nearly 20 years. She is one of the most famous music educationalists in the country.

In a 1930 article about Dr. Clark, she stated, “About that time [1910] Louis F. Geissler, sales manager for the Victor Company, had visioned there should be some way to take music into educational institutions. He had heard of my work, investigated, and then came to see me. ‘You have found the way to teach music in one city, you can do it in all cities,’ he told me. He invited me to come to Camden and become head of the Victor Educational department, the first of its kind in the world.

The department was formed in April, 1911, nearly 20 years ago, and has been in operation ever since. Prior to that time instrumental music was unknown in schools. The use of records unlocked for children the hidden treasures of music and literature of the entire world. News of the work of the educational department spread and in a few years hundreds, then thousands of schools in the United States were following the lead started in Camden.”

The Victor Company soon developed textbooks and specialized recordings and educators for music education. “Highly trained corps of professional music teachers were engaged to carry the message with methods and technique to every corner of the country, to give assistance in planning courses of study and practical lessons with methods of teaching through listening,” she said.

According to Dr. Clark, “The Victor Talking Machine Company, with long vision, has maintained the department through 20 years of growth and development. It is the only commercial company in the world that has given such continuous, hearty, unstinted support to the service of education.”

Dr. Frances Elliott Clark

Starting in 1913, the Victor Co. began producing a Victrola “Schoolhouse” model, an all oak model that had removable horn and was able to sit on a table underneath the platter, so it could withstand rough use (by children) and be moved around.